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found intresting post over at Onion Sailor

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I saw this post over at Onion Sailor over at the Yahoo site. He makes some god points. I don't agree with everything he says but he makes sense. CHRIS








If there is one thing about the Internet culture and coin

collecting culture, it's that they both have a large share of

people who don't like conventions or "establishment" or

"authority." This is why I believe the coin registry set

hysteria is going collapse someday, along with prices of

super grade, super price modern coins.


If the old axiom is true that change is inevitable then it

would seem that what is inevitably going to change is the

status quo or convention or establishment. And it does seem

that change is happening faster and faster. Even Bill Gates

claims that what keeps him up at night is worrying that he'll

be toppled by the "kid in the garage." He has good reason to

worry. He and Steve Jobs were the "kids in the garage" who

sucker punched IBM.


In coin collecting the Grading Services are the "Establishment"

and they fancy themselves the "authority" on grading. So they

should not be too surprised when they are attacked by those

who don't care for the "Establishment" or by those who don't

believe they are benefiting from the "Establishment." Or by

those who just like being contrarians. Or by those who belive

that being big just makes you an easier target. It should not

surprise the status quo grading services that they are being

attacked more and more these days because once upon a time

ANACS was the "Establishment" until they were toppled by PCGS.

How is it possible to even have new conventions without

destroying the old one? Think of ole Henry Ford--"the kid in

the garage" tooling down the street in his new fangled

"horse-less carriage." Today Henry is an icon but back then he

must've seemed like an anarchist with that driving machine,

clanking, clacking, and back firing. But his horse-less carriage

destroyed old conventions and the limitations of the horse drawn

buggy. Even the bicycle destroyed the absurd convention that

women had to wear 100 pounds of clothes to go out in public.

It was just no longer practical for women to do that and ride a



The problem that the coin "Establishment"--the grading companies--

face today is that unlike 15 years ago, coin collectors, especially

collectors on the Internet, have too many options that are going to

come back to haunt the grading services and registry sets, and, also,

IMO it may well destroy the "investment" angle of high grade modern







The Establishment Part 2

Daisy Chains


The success of coin marketing depends a lot on coin collectors

having or developing a large ego. Convincing them that they

should only buy the best grade coins possible. This is the

major theme with registry sets. Allowing coin collectors to

do a bit of ego stroking by giving them a place to show off

their coins. This works well for the grading companies since

others, viewing the coins will want the same. They'll bust

up mint sets and send them in the grading services to be

graded and slabbed, all with the high hopes of getting an

MS-70 to show off to everyone. It works well for the

grading companies because they can wrench more money

from submissions.


But the registry sets and the grading services are also

"The Establishment." And whether the grading companies

like it or not people love to beat the "Establishment."


The End-Run


As ego-stroking goes, what can be better than doing an

end-run on the "Establishment" grading companies? Collectors

on the Internet can, *and will* build their own "registry sets"

of very specific themes. They will do it because on the

Internet--THEY CAN.


One Man's Junk


How many coin collectors have a dresser draw full of stuff that

they consider to be their mistakes? Things that they bought on

impulse only to discover later that they really don't have

much interest in them. In the past they just figured they'd

pass it all on to their kids. But today they can put their

"mistakes" up for sale on ebay or other auction. But who will

buy their mistakes? People who are building specific themes

will buy them. Let's say that 50 collectors put up their mistakes

on ebay. Now along comes a collector who likes to collect

tokens and medals issued from local coin clubs. So,

out of the 50 people maybe 10 of them have coin club medals

that this collector, a.k.a, Longnine009, would buy.

Maybe some of them have some space medals

and I might buy some of them for my Cold War Collection. In

this way I'm building customized collections with specific

themes while they are getting rid of all their helter skelter

impulse buys that don't fit into any one theme. A rare

situation that really is "win win" for both sides. And I'm

doing an end-run on the "Establishment." I'm buying things

that are not considered "mainstream," and have little

to do with slabbing companies and grading and nothing to

do with grading companies registry sets. These are my registry

sets, *personalized* to what I like and not what some "market

maker" says I'm suppose to like.


If you build it...


The Internet and auctions and collectors with piles of "mistakes"

already exist. Once collectors have assimilated the Internet

culture of bucking the "Establishment," once they start to

question the "authority" of the grading services, once they start

to question the huge prices they are paying to play the registry

set game, once they realize they can get just as much, if not

more ego pleasure from end-running the "Establishment", and

building a customized personalized coin collection, there will

be, IMO, some dark days ahead for the grading companies and

registry sets.They are, IMO, a daisy chain, grounded in the

acceptance of authority, the belief in grading standards and

the conformity of collecting mainstream. However, authority,

belief, and conformity, don't mesh too well with Internet culture.


BTW if you'd like to see the beginnings of a Custom Collection

go to Photostation:






guest pass word 009

Cold War album or

Coin Clubs album










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Nice stuff Chris. I like the comments on end-running the establishment. Familiar. I think there are more than a few collectors on these boards and elsewhere who are in the process of doing just that.



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Very interesting idea. I would love it if there was a way to do an end run around the registry snobbery, after all, I have a number of nice ANACS, ICG, and raw coins that I would love to share. Plus, I really don't like the control and influence that the grading companies have exercised in the last few years.

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Aditionally, I have always worried about "influence peddling" in grading decisions. Particularly for those important collections, from powerful people whose sales make major auction or Registry news.


Maybe there needs to be an independent, non-profit Registry, based on the grade and appeal of the coin. Raw, PCGS/NGC, whatever, or any other coin would be judged on it's merit, strike color and surfaces. Not some slabbed (for profit) commercial grade that swings with the market. These coins could be "fingerprinted" (high resolution imaged). Surface Fingerprinting would stop the resubmission games, or even slab the coins, with Registry ID number. Take the politics out of the equation.

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