Coin and Set Descriptions.



It's not that obvious what belongs in each one.

My goal is to provide good pictures along with interesting and appropriate descriptions for all of my Collectors Society registered coins and sets. I've got the good picture part pretty well under control, but the description aspect requires significantly more effort than I anticipated. 100% of my coins have descriptions, but many of them are what I call "throw down" descriptions. Some contain just the facts (catalog number, mintage, date acquired, etc.), and others have just a one liner, so I've got my work cut out for me.

I've had this goal for several years now, but I really started applying myself about the middle of last year, by focusing on my USA/Philippines One Centavo set. That effort paid off with an NGC 2012 Best Presented Set award, so I feel pretty good about all the time spent. That recognition also comes with a nice wooden plaque which arrived yesterday and it has given me new resolve to finish the task.

Now that I've moved on to other sets, I'm running into some issues that I haven't yet determined how to resolve. I've come to the conclusion that an "appropriate" description really depends on the role that each coin plays in a set. Some of my coins participate in as many as 6 different competitive or custom sets and a single description just doesn't work well. For example, I have a 1905 Proof 50 Centavos that fills slots in all of the following sets:

USPI - Type

USPI - 50 Centavo series

USPI - Proofs Complete

USPI - Complete

USPI - 1905 Proof Set

Foreign coins Struck at United States Mints (a custom set)

You might think that including the mintage in the coin description would always be appropriate, but in the case of the 1905 Proof set, the mintage is the same for every coin in the set and would be best presented as part of the overall set description. Saying something about the design and the artist that created the coin would be desirable when the coin appears in a Type set, but would be highly redundant in the case of the 50 Centavo series set. It's obvious that good descriptive information about the specific coin (color, strike, state of preservation, distinguishing marks, etc.) is appropriate, but beyond that, everything else really depends on the context in which the coin appears.

It seems like we either need the ability to supply a description for each slot in our sets (separate from the individual description associated with the coin that fills that slot), or additional, context sensitive descriptions associated with each coin that would only appear when it is viewed in a specifically designated set. That way, I could provide an informative and appropriate description for a coin in a type set and a different, yet equally informative and appropriate description for that same coin when it appears in a series set. Otherwise each individual coin description may become very large and highly redundant.


Any thoughts or comments greatly appreciated!

I'll leave you with a picture of my 1905 Proof 50 Centavos...


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