Over the years, the PCGS Set Registry has grown from a mere 1,700 sets registered at the end of 2001, to over 63,000 today. With that, the number of awards we issue has grown. It's crazy for us to only recognize a few great collections, when there are hundreds of outstanding sets registered. And so, this year, 157 sets and collections are receiving major awards and 2,503 sets are receiving a "Best of the Registry" nod. To all winners we say, “Congratulations!” And to all participants in the PCGS Set Registry we admire your passion and hope that you continue to enjoy your pursuit of numismatic excellence. Thanks for sharing your wonderful collections with us!
Collectors Universe President, PCGS Founder
Best Classic Sets (1792 to 1964) of 2012
Simpson - Lincoln Cents Off-Metal Strikes, Circulation Strikes (1943-1944)
This is a phenomenal set of coins, put together by the super-collector "Simpson" (who also owns the finest set of U.S. Patterns, $10 Indians, Half Dimes, and so much more). Simpson's Off-Metal Lincoln Cent Set includes six coins that everyone dreams of owning: 1943 Bronze Cent, 1943-D Bronze Cent (UNIQUE!), 1943-S Bronze Cent, 1944 Steel Cent, 1944-D Steel Cent, and 1944-S Steel Cent. No one in numismatic history has ever completed this short, but very sweet, set.
Best Modern Sets of 2012
Goldminer's Collection - Silver, Gold & Platinum Eagle Complete Set, Circulation Strikes and Proof (1986-present)
(Note that the award includes the 4 sub-sets in this collection which are ranked #1.)
What a fabulous set! Goldminer’s Collection has an example of every single Mint State and Proof Silver, Gold and Platinum eagle in every possible denomination of $1, $5, $10, $25, $50 and $100. This set has definitely taken a lot of time and patience to complete, but in the end, it looks like it all paid off as this collector has one amazing set.
eyeappealing 1 - Lincoln Cents Complete Variety Set, Proof (1950-1958)
Eyeappealing 1 did a fabulous job of finding some great examples of Proof Lincoln cents from the 1950s. His set includes several of the finest coins of Proof Wheat Lincoln cents in existence. Some dates are very rare with Cameo or Deep Cameo surfaces including the 1953 Proof Lincoln cent. Eyeappealing 1 managed to acquire a 1953 in PR65 with the rare Deep Cameo designation for this very tough issue.
Best Mint and Proof Sets of 2012
Best Colonials, Private Issues & Territorial Gold and Patterns Sets of 2012
Best Low Ball Sets of 2012
Pocket Piece - Complete U.S. Type Set, Low Ball (1792-1964)
(Note that the award includes the 2 sub-sets in this collection which are ranked #1.)
While most collectors try to find the BEST coins, this collector seeks the WORST examples of each type. Since last year, the owner added a Gobrecht Dollar (a "shameful" Proof-6, now the highest graded coin in this set). If you know of a low grade 1792 Half Disme, you have a ready customer, as that is the one and only coin needed to complete this set. One of the biggest complaints we hear from collectors of Low-Ball sets is the difficulty in finding poor condition coins that are gradeable. To achieve a GPA of 2.03 is incredible.
Friends in Low Places - Liberty Nickels, Low Ball (1883-1912)
What a crappy set...and we mean that in a good way! Not only is this set 100% complete but it has an incredibly low GPA of 1.79, down from last year's 1.88. We like the owner's comment: "Imagine all the places these "Friends" have been and the happiness they gave when they were spent." Collecting is not just about coins, but the stories they tell.
Sourdough (End of the Trail) - Morgan Dollars, Low Ball (1878-1921)
(Note that the award includes the 5 sub-sets in this collection which are ranked #1.)
Sourdough has definitely taken low ball collecting to a new level. His Morgan sets are not only the lowest grade ever assembled, they are the lowest grade by a large margin. Not only does Sourdough have the “best” low ball Morgan dollar complete basic set (again by a large margin), he also has the best Carson City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and San Francisco low ball sets. Morgan dollar low ball collecting is quite challenging and Sourdough has done a remarkable job of building his low ball sets.
Jimmy Austin's Best of the Worst - Peace Dollars, Low Ball (1921-1935)
Like the Morgan set, the Peace dollar set is very challenging when you get to the really low grades. This set has an average grade of 1.47 and no coins in the set are higher than FR02!
Best Everyman Sets of 2012
Mi¢hael Hassler, Master Sergeant, USAF, Retired Combat Air Crew Member & Vietnam Veteran - Everyman Indian Cents (1859-1909)
Everyman Sets are a relatively new category and include only circulated examples. A perfect score is a GPA of 58 (the highest grade assigned to circulated coins by PCGS). This set is 100% complete and 100% perfect. We know how difficult it is to complete sets like this...we've had customers tell us they would accept an AU58 grade on an otherwise Mint State coins (which, of course, we will not do). Sergeant Hassler has completed the very difficult mission of ferreting out the right coins. Congratulations.
Joseph M. Wojteczko (Beancounter I) - Everyman Barber Dimes (1892-1916)
Barber coins are very difficult to find in nice AU condition. Seems like all survivors are in either Good or Mint State condition, with very few in-between. Beancounter has done a great job of building a complete set of AU Barber dimes.
Best Asian Sets of 2012
Yomibro's Collection - Republic of China Silver Dollars, Circulation Strikes (1912-1934)
Republic of China Silver Dollars (Yuan) Design Set, Circulation Strikes (1912-1934)
(Note that the award includes the sub-sets in this collection which is ranked #1.)
Thanks to big improvements in the Chinese economy, collectors in China are eager to repatriate many of their coins. Because of their size, Silver Dollars are eagerly sought-after. Apart from a few issues that enjoyed large mintages, many of the types are very scarce to downright rare, especially in unmarred, choice condition. This combination of demand and rarity has created an explosion in prices and, frankly, finding worthy examples has become nearly impossible. The Yomibro's Collection is a standout.
GDH - Panda Gold 10 & 50 Yuan (1/10oz), Circulation Strikes (1982-present)
This is a complete set of 1/10 ounce gold Chinese Pandas, and every single one of them is either MS69 or better. Most of the coins were purchased out of the market, but this collector also “made” a few of his own.
Ted Wydeven, Sr. (T&JW) - Japanese Gold Denomination Set (1870-1932)
This is a complete denomination set of Japanese gold coins, ranging in denomination from the small 1 Yen to the larger 20 Yen. All of the coins are Gems and three are Top Pops. This is the seventh year this set has been honored. 100% complete with an upgraded GPA of 66.00.
Jerusalem Collection - Palestine Complete Set, Circulation Strikes (1927-1946)
(Note that the award includes the 6 sub-sets in this collection which are ranked #1.)
According to the owner, this set began almost 25 years ago, and the set is being improved at every available opportunity. This year, the completion level increased to 98.31% and the GPA increased slightly to 63.33. A beautiful set with every coin imaged by “Trueview Photography."
Best European Sets of 2012
Caranett - Belgium Gold 20 Francs Date Set, Circulation Strikes (1865-1882)
This is the third award for this impressive set. The Belgium 20 Franc has long been considered a bullion type coin, thus little attention was paid to collecting high grade examples. Every coin is a Top Pop except for the rare 1869, where only one coin is better.
Caranett - French 20 Francs Gold Angel, Circulation Strikes (1871-1898)
A wonderful set of 20 Francs from the last part of the 19th century. Many of these coins are difficult to locate in any grade, so achieving 100% completion is difficult and doing so with an overall GPA of 64.93 is an even greater feat. Congratulations!
Gray/Huber Dream Set - German States 3 Mark Type Set, Proof (1908-1918)
This is a virtually complete set of 3 Marks from the German States, lacking only the ultra-rare Saxony ("Frederick the Wise"). The overall condition is simply amazing. Virtually every coin is either a Top Pop, an extreme rarity, or both. This is one of those sets that would be impossible to replicate, even with unlimited resources. As of this writing, the set is 97.22% complete and the overall GPA is 67.48.
The Sheffield Collection XII - German 1/2 Mark Date Set, Circulation Strikes (1905-1919)
This is a date set, where collectors submit the finest date/mintmark combination for a given year. Germany utilized a lot of different mints each year, so a complete collection of Half Marks is very difficult to accomplish (but Sheffield is trying that, as well). This set is 100% complete, with an overall GPA of 66.35.
Larry Gray - German 3 Reichsmark Commemoratives Date Set, Proof (1925-1932)
From the team who built the incredible German States 3 Mark Type Set honored earlier, Larry Gray has now attacked the 3 Mark Proofs from the Weimar Republic. In typical fashion, he sought out the finest available examples of each type. In this case, the set is 100% complete, every coin except for two is a Top Pop, and many are unique for the grade. Each coin in this set has a different commemorative design, making it visually appealing.
Talmar12 - German 5 Reichsmark Potsdam Church without Date, Circulation Strikes (1934-1935)
This is a deceptively difficult set, not to complete, but to locate in high grade. In this set, 7 of the 12 coins are Top Pops, including an AU58. The 100% completion and the 62.65 GPA is going to be hard to beat.
Spencer Collection - British Gold Type Set, Elizabeth II (acc. 1952)
This is the fifth annual award for this remarkable collection of British gold coins bearing the portrait of Queen Elizabeth. Included are many Top Pop coins, plus the incredibly rare VIP sovereign of 1958.
Caranett - British George V Sovereign Date Set, Circulation Strikes (1911-1932)
Sovereigns are very popular coins issued by Great Britain for several countries under the British Empire (one of which was Australia). This set contains one coin of every year from 1911 to 1932 inclusive. The average grade is a whopping 64.98, a stunning accomplishment given that virtually every coin in this set is a Top Pop – and many are quite rare, to boot.
The Threadgold Collection - British Elizabeth II Sovereign Date Set, Circulation Strikes (1957-present)
This is a fairly large set that requires constant attention because of the new issue that comes out each year. This set is 100% complete, with a GPA of 65.10. Some of the coins are unique, Top Pops!
J. Preidis RN - British Elizabeth II Half-Sovereign Date Set, Circulation Strikes (1982-present)
This set has been on our radar for quite some time, having won awards every year from 2005 to date. This year, the set gets a Gold Award for being 100% complete, with a GPA of 67. The owner does a good job of adding to the set each year and/or upgrading when possible.
Sulo Collection - British Complete Third Farthing Date Set, Circulation Strikes (1827-1913)
These tiny copper coins were issued in the 1800s and early 1900s to circulate in Malta. This set is not only 100% complete, but the GPA is 64.50, ranging in grade from MS62 to MS66. A very impressive set.
Kristoffer Dorado Zorilla (KDZ) - British Elizabeth II 2 Pounds Silver Britannia Date Set, Proof (1997-present)
This set consists of some very lovely "takes" on Britannia, all in Deep Cameo Proof, and virtually all in Proof 70. Every coin is a Top Pop.
Caranett - Italian 20 Lire, Circulation Strikes (1880-1897)
Caranett has award winning sets in other World gold categories, so a great set like this is not unexpected. As with Caranett's French 20 Francs set, this one is hard to complete and difficult to find in top grades. Here again, Caranett has accomplished 100% completion at a GPA level of 63.87. Most impressive!
The Sheffield Collection XIX - Swiss 1/2 Silver Franc, Circulation Strikes (1850-1967)
This is a remarkable, 100% complete collection in super-high grade. Many of the coins are Top Pops and quite a few are unique for their grade. Assembling this collection was quite an accomplishment. Last year, we predicted a higher GPA for this set, since the owner is still active and we were right. The GPA went from 65.24 to 65.28. Not much of a move, but it’s hard to upgrade the best of the best.
The Sheffield Collection XX - Swiss 1 Silver Franc, Circulation Strikes (1850-1967)
This is a large, comprehensive set of Swiss 1 Francs, each coin the size of a US Quarter Dollar and often equated with the US Barber Quarter series. The owner has done a great job of filling in most of the holes with high-grade examples. As with Sheffield’s ½ Franc set, we expect this set to get better every year.
Bill Goode (WJG Swiss Shooting Talers) - Swiss Shooting Festival Commemoratives, Circulation Strikes (1842-1939)
An outstanding set of Swiss "Shooters" that is one coin shy of completion and which has an overall GPA of 64.62. This is a remarkably high level considering that most of the coins are from the 1800s! If you're not familiar with these coins, check them out. They are good-sized coins that all have interesting designs.
Rod Moore Schützenfest - Modern Thalers - Swiss Shooting Festival Commemoratives 50 Francs (1984-present)
This set of Swiss "Shooters" reprises a tradition that began in the mid-1800s of celebrating shooting competitions. These are beautiful coins of very low mintage, made for sale to collectors. This set is complete and includes numerous Top Pops and unique condition-rarities. Overall GPA: an amazing 68.82, an improvement over last year’s rating.
Tryzub - Ukraine Commemoratives Gold 2 Hryvni (2003-Present)
Ukraine, like many countries, has issued modern commemorative coins that are popular with collectors. This set is 100% complete and 100% Top Pop!
Caranett - Multi-Country British Commonwealth Sovereigns Complete Set Victoria (Jubilee Head ), Circulation Strikes (1887-1893)
Apart from being a complete set of Victorian sovereigns, this set deserves special recognition because of the difficulty in locating the Australian versions in Mint State. This year, the overall GPA increased slightly to 61.91.
Best North American Sets of 2012
Spencer Collection - Bermuda Hogge Set, Proof (1989-1990)
This modern set consists of eight gold coins, each with a mintage of only 500 pieces. This set caught our eye because the designs on the coin incorporate the rare Somers Island "Hogge" Money from Colonial times.
Northern Lights Collection - Canadian Complete Type Set, Circulation Strikes (1858-1967)
This is an impressive type set from a country with a very active collector market. This one is 100% complete, but even more impressive because of the high, overall quality. Many of the coins are Top Pops and unique for the grade. They are not only best for the date, but best for the type, as well.
Lantern Collection - Canadian Coins Complete Set, Circulation Strikes (1858-1952)
We’ve honored this set ten years in a row. A walk through this set is a journey through some of the most amazing Canadian coins ever assembled. Previous owners of some of the coins include Norweb, Pittman and Belzberg, all famous names in the Canadian market. The overall GPA is a remarkable 62.97, a slight improvement over last year’s rating.
Willamette Collection - Canadian Large Cents, Circulation Strikes (1858-1920)
A phenomenal collection, 100% complete and replete with full Red Canadian Large Cents from 1858 to 1920. This set is a huge accomplishment that took a lot of effort, stealth, and appreciation for numismatics to complete. Many of the coins are pedigreed to Norm Pullen and the Belzbergs, both familiar names to collectors of Canadian Large Cents.
Lantern Collection - Canadian Elizabeth II Silver Twenty-five Cents, Circulation Strikes (1953-1967)
This set illustrates the difficulty of locating otherwise common coins in high grade, which is one of the important factors in evaluating Registry Sets. The overall GPA is nearly 66 and the set includes numerous, unique Top Pops.
Southern Cross - NF Complete Set, Circulation Strikes (1865-1947)
This set, now 100% complete, is a tribute to perseverance and determination. It's also proof that you don't need a million dollars to put together a meaningful collection of coins. This is a comprehensive set that should be even better next year (this year's overall GPA increased to 53.83 from 52.50).
Virginia Transplant- Cuban Peso, Circulation Strikes (1915-1953)
A nice set of the silver-dollar sized coins from this Caribbean island nation. Top grade examples are hard-to-find, but there are several exceptional coins in this set. At 100% complete, this set has an overall GPA of 63.64.
Virginia Transplant - Cuban Complete Gold Peso Set, Circulation Strikes (1915-1916)
This is a complete set of gold coins from Cuba, including all denomination from 1 Peso to the large 20 Pesos. More than half of the coins are Top Pops. An impressive accomplishment.
FABG - Dominican Republic Early Republic, Circulation Strikes (1844-1897)
This set gets an award for being 100% complete, and we’re hoping to see improvement in the coming years. Many of the coins in this set appear to be common based on catalog values, but are surprisingly difficult to obtain in real life. That’s the challenge of collecting.Best Mexican Sets of 2011
mission4906 - Mexican "Caballito" Peso Complete Variety Set, Circulation Strikes (1910-1914)
The “Caballito” Peso is a large silver coin issued by Mexico from 1910 to 1914. This set is complete, including the ray varieties of 1911 and the 1913 overdate. 100% complete with a GPA of 61.44.
Best Oceania Sets of 2012
Caranett - Australian Edward VII Sovereigns, Circulation Strikes (1902-1910)
This set caught our eye because 1) it is complete, 2) the GPA is an impressive 63.52, 3) most of the coins are Top Pops, and 4) there are a lot of gold coins in this set (27 to be exact). We're very impressed for the third year in a row.
The-M - Australian Silver Type Set, Circulation Strikes (1910-1964)
A great set from the land down under, 100% complete and full of Top Pops and condition rarities. This is a British Commonwealth set, so it has fans from both Australia and Great Britain, who appreciate the difficulty of locating many of the earlier types in Gem condition. This set will be very difficult to improve or beat.
ggfenton - Australian Pennies Complete Set, Circulation Strikes (1911-1964)
This is a big set that is very challenging because of the rarity of the earlier dates in top condition. There are a few coins that can be improved in this set, but the large number of Top Pops indicate the owner’s determination to build a world-class set.
The-M - Australian Complete Proof Set (1955-1963)
In the past couple of years, Australian Proof coins of the 1955-1963 era have become some of the hottest items in numismatics, jumping dramatically in both demand and value. This set contains a complete set of all denominations and mints, and many of the coins are unique, Top Pops (this year, the overall GPA is 66.40). The significance of this set is that many of the Proof Australian coins on the market have been lacquered, making them essentially ungradable. This collection sets a new, high standard for this popular series.
lovemyfifties - Australian Federation Fifty Cents, Circulation Strikes (2001)
This modern set contains a number of interesting design types. Here, those designs are represented in superb condition, with all of the coins except one appearing in MS67.
Abuesnell - New Zealand Florin Complete Set, Circulation Strikes (1933-1965)
This is a surprisingly difficult set to complete, especially in high grades. The owner has done a good job of assembling an example of each date in this set, many in Top Pop condition. This appears to be a resurrection of the Mealin Collection (the source of many of the coins), and we expect further improvements in the future by this aggressive collector.
Best New Sets of 2012
Douglas M. Wright, Jr. - Small Cent Type Set, Circulation Strikes (1856-present)
While a type set of small cents may not appear particularly challenging at first glance, when you consider that aside from the 2009 Bicentennial issue, only 12 coins exist that could possibly upgrade this set, the accomplishment becomes considerably more impressive. Congratulations to Douglas on an excellent opening entry in this category.
The Twinight Collection - Silver, Gold & Platinum Eagles Complete Set, Proof (1986-present)
The collector has built a nearly perfect set only lacking a 1995-W $1 Eagle in PR70. Even the 2012 issues are filled. This keeps in line with his First Spouse $10 Gold with First Strikes collection. Nothing but the best for Twinight!
Douglas M. Wright, Jr. - Lincoln Cents Basic Set, Circulation Strikes and Proof (1909-Present)
The Lincoln Cent set is perhaps the most widely collected set in the world – certainly in U.S. numismatics. When you consider that over 40% of the coins in this extensive 329 piece set sit at the top of their population charts, you have a most respectable inaugural appearance for this timeless set. A weighted GPA of 68.50 doesn’t hurt either!
Magic Star Collection - Scarsdale Coin - Three Cent Silvers, Circulation Strikes and Proof (1851-1872)
Three Cent Silvers with Major Varieties, Circulation Strikes and Proof (1851-1872)
(Note that the award includes the sub-set in this collection that is ranked #1.)
Scarsdale Coin’s opening volley comes in this gem set of trimes - 100% complete in both Proof and Business strikes, with a set rating of 65.18. While currently only a few of the coins sit at the top of the population charts, keep in mind this is a first appearance. Lots of upgrade potential exists, and we expect to see more from this set in future years.
High Desert - Jefferson Nickels FS Classic Set, Circulation Strikes (1938-1964)
High Desert has built a great set of circulation strike Jefferson Nickels from 1938 to 1964. Some of the highlights of the set are the 1939-D and 1942-D which are PCGS Secure Plus MS67+ with the Full Steps designation and none graded higher. In fact, there are numerous MS67 and MS68 examples that have been assigned the single highest grade for the date. This is a great collection which contains some of the finest examples of Jefferson Nickels in existence and the owner should be very proud of such an achievement.
MidwestRareCoins - Liberty Head $10 Gold with Motto Set, Circulation Strikes (1866-1907)
Due to extensive use and melting, quite a few $10 Liberties are unknown in full mint state. Consequently, the weighted GPA of 50.54 for this 96.58% complete set is pretty impressive! Can it be improved? Sure. And we anxiously await what the future has in store for this new set.
Far East Eagle - Indian Head $10 Gold Basic Set, Proof (1908-1915)
Proof Gold has long been the caviar of U.S. numismatics, and Far East’s set of Proof $10 Indians is a most auspicious debut in the Registry. Complete, with a set rating of 65.47, it is already the current finest known set extant.
Bella Collection - St. Gaudens $20 Gold, Circulation Strikes (1907-1932)
St. Gaudens $20 Basic Set, Circulation Strikes (1907-1932)
(Note that the award includes the sub-set in this collection that is ranked #1.)
Containing coins pedigreed to the famous Duckor Saint Gaudens collections, this set is already off to a rather incredible start. Already 98% complete (lacking only the 1927-D) it boasts a weighted GPA of 65.5 and only has a very few coins that could be upgraded without a major, time-consuming search.
Bruce Young (Bearlyoung) - Silver Commemoratives 144 Piece Mintmark & Variety Set, Circulation Strikes (1892-1954)
Like the other new sets this year, here is a set that both debuts with an impressively high set rating (66.52) yet has quite a bit of “running room” to improve. With only about 10% of the coins at the top of the population charts, this outstanding new set has the potential to become one of the all time great commemorative sets of all time. And at that, it doesn’t have far to go now! It’s only about ½ grade point behind Bruce Scher’s incredible set.
PMH - Presidential Bronze Medals
The PMH Presidential Bronze Medal White House Collections has a number of Medals in the highest possible grades with 11 being the single finest examples graded. 100% of these bronze medals are red. Every U.S. president is represented which makes this is an interesting and fun set to collect. Medals are seeing a surge in popularity and PMH is at the top of the game. He also owns all the varieties for this series which can be found in his Showcase set.
SunDevilPanda - Panda Gold 5 & 20 Yuan (1/20 oz), Circulation Strikes (1983-present)
(Note that the award includes the 2 sub-sets in this collection which are ranked #1.)
Chinese coins are now among the most popular of all world coins. Collectors fight tooth and nail for the gold pandas that were once exported from China but which are now being repatriated. This set is complete and virtually every coin is a Top Pop.
Mandate Mints! - Palestine Complete Set, Circulation Strikes (1927-1946)
This is a monster set of Palestinian coins that showed up suddenly on the PCGS Set Registry this year. The statistics show this as being 94.92% complete, but the owner has all the required coins and is simply waiting for a few to cross. This is a big set full of Top Pop coins, indicating a tremendous effort on the part of the owner.
Best Exhibited Sets of 2012
Best Young Numismatists Sets of 2012
Best of the Registry Winners of 2012
Collectors with the finest current set in each category with at a least 90% completion and in large set compositions those with 200 or more coins registered in one set, will receive a "Best of the Registry" icon by their set listings in the registry. Click here to view a list of those sets which were #1 and and at least 90% complete on 6/29/12 5:00pm EST.
Ten Year Anniversary Recipients
To celebrate collectors who have won awards for being number one in their category for at least ten years in a row, we recognize their sets with the 10 Year Anniversary icon. To these collectors, you have our thanks for your loyalty and friendship. We appreciate all you do for the PCGS Set Registry. To view a list of these award winning sets, please click here.
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