Simply put, I love coin collecting and I use the registry to catalog, organize, and display my collection.
I have enjoyed the healthy debate these past few days concerning the registry and the reasons' people participate in it. Many good and valid points have been made, but in the end, what matters is that you are happy with why you participate. For me this debate has caused me to re-evaluate my position and that is a good thing because it keeps me focused and on track.
It is said that you cannot control what others do, what you can control though is how you respond. For instance, I wish I had a larger budget with which to buy my dream coins. That said, I will most likely never own a 1907 high relief wire rim Double Eagle, unless someone gives it to me like the one ?COLLECT-A-BILLS? received for filling out a survey. Now I can choose to whine and moan about ?COLLECT-A-BILLS? luck, or I can share with him in his excitement of acquiring a dream coin. The choice is a no-brainer, as I rather share in his excitement! When it comes to high-grade number one registry sets, I am just glad that someone has the means to assemble, and display for everyone to enjoy, sets I could never dream of owning. I spend hours perusing other sets in the registry, and enjoy every second of it. In fact, perusing other sets stimulates me to dream of the coins I hope to own and without dreaming, my collection would not be what it is today. As for the 1907 Double Eagle, I have been dreaming of this coin ever since I was a young boy and who knows maybe one day I may realize my dream. Until that time, I am quite content with my MS-69, 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle.
In the registry, I have three sets that are top ranked, and each is number one for a different reason. One of my sets (Austria 100 Corona, 1892-1916, Circulation Issue) is number one only because no one else is competing. Not intending for it to be the highest-ranking set, it serves as a placeholder for another of my sets. In fact, most of my competitive sets serve as placeholders for other sets (this is where the cataloging and organizing come in). Another set (Netherlands 10 Gulden, Wilhelmina I, 1897-1933, Circulation Issue) started as an obsessive competition. However, this set has evolved into something much more. For instance, I may never have the means to assemble the best Morgan Dollars in the world into a complete collection, but I have the means and desire to collect the best Wilhelmina 10 Gulden coins. Regardless of what you think about number one registry sets, collecting the best coins possible into complete sets is good for the hobby and preserves a numismatic heritage for future generations. The third set, (First Spouse Gold $10, Proofs) in becoming number one, took me the longest time to acquire and cost the most money. In the process of becoming number 1, I devised clever buying strategies to acquire PF-70 coins as cost efficiently as possible all the while enjoying the journey. In the end though, after all that time, effort, and money I found arriving at number one to be a bit of a disappointment, especially when compared to the Wilhelmina set. In other words, I gain a greater sense of accomplishment with the best coins I can afford in registry sets that become a legacy or heirlooms rather than ?just? another number one registry set.
NGC allows for other types of competition that are more subjective than a certificate based upon whoever has the most points. In many respects, this part of the competition is much more inclusive. Case in point, I won one of five 2009 ?Best Presented Set Awards? for my 20th Century Type set. This set, populated with average MS coins was ranked 15th when I won the award and includes a MS-64 1950-D Jefferson Nickel that garners 1 registry point! To win the award, I had to impress the judges with more than simply nice coins. I had to have good photos and owner descriptions also. This award means the most to me because not only did it require the greatest amount of time and effort, but more importantly, it is a reflection of what I enjoy most about coin collecting. For those who want to do their own thing, there are custom sets that allow you to define the set. In 2008, I won the ?Most Creative Signature Set Award? for my ?Inspirational Ladies? custom set with a mix of United States and foreign coins. For me, these two aforementioned awards are much more satisfying than the certificates for of the reasons I gave, and because they come with a plaque and a certificate for five free photogrades. Furthermore, I much rather hang a plaque on my wall than a certificate even though I currently hang both!
Keep dreaming and you will be surprised at the coins you will have a few years down the road.