PCGS The Standard for the Rare Coin Industry
PCGS Set Registry® 82,850 Registered Sets

Awards Hall of Fame

2017 AWARDS

HOF

The criteria for entry into the PCGS Set Registry Hall of Fame includes set popularity, difficulty, grade average, completion percentage, domination, and degree of competition within the set category.

2016 Inductees

Specialized Coin Collections

George Clapp - Early Cents
George Hubbard Clapp was born in 1858 and died in 1940. In numismatic circles, he is most famous for his reference books on U.S. Large Cents and the massive variety collection of U.S. Large Cents he donated to the American Numismatic Society (promised in 1937 and finally delivered in 1946). Outside of numismatics, Clapp is best-known as one of the founders of ALCOA (Aluminum Company of America). George Clapp has been listed incorrectly as John M. Clapp’s younger son, but George has no direct connection to the remarkable coin collection formed by John M. Clapp, later willed to his son, John H. Clapp, which later formed the core of Louis Eliasberg, Sr,’s collection. George obtained many of his Large Cents from his younger brother, Charles E. Clapp, who obtained them by private treaty from the Col. James W. Ellsworth collection in 1923. A year later, because of financial difficulties, Charles E. sold his Large Cents to his older brother, George, who built on and expanded the collection. Clapp’s collection was complete by the collectible varieties later defined by Dr. William H. Sheldon and his name appears consistently among the owners of many of the very best Large Cents.

Eugene Gardner - Seated Liberty Coins
Eugene Gardner was an aggressive collector of U.S. silver coins, with a particular emphasis on the Seated Liberty series. Heritage sold his collection of more than 3,000 coins in four separate auctions in 2014 and 2015, setting many records along the way. The total prices realized for his four auction was an astounding $52.8 million. Most of Gene’s coins were among the finest of their type and many were, indeed, the very best. He was a student of the different series he collected and, in an unusual move, Heritage integrated his personal notes into the catalog description of each coin. Sadly, Gene passed away on July 16, 2016, but not before he was able to oversee the orderly disposal of his beloved coins. He will be long remembered for his eye for quality, his willingness to “stretch” for the right coins, for his accomplishments as a collector, and, of course, for the incredible collection he built.

Josiah K. Lilly Family - Gold Coins
When one thinks of the Lilly Collection, one immediately thinks of gold coins. The formation of the Lilly Collection began in 1951, when Josiah K. Lilly (of Lilly Pharmaceutical fame) walked into Stack’s in New York and asked about acquiring coins. A relationship was formed and, over the years, the Stacks family assisted Mr. Lilly in forming, literally, a world-class collection of gold coins. Lilly died in 1966 and, in 1968, the U.S. government “purchased” the coins for the Smithsonian in return for tax credits. The Lilly collection became the centerpiece of the Coin Hall exhibit for decades and still remains one of the most complete and important collections of U.S. gold coins. Though the old exhibit has been dismantled, highlights from the collection still grace new displays. Lilly’s collection included such great rarities as a Brasher doubloon, an 1854-S $5, an 1822 $5, multiple Templeton Reid Territorial gold coins, and much, much, more.

Twin Leaf Collection - Large Cents
Jack Wadlington is famous for his extensive collection of hugh-quality Large Cents by die variety. His Collection of early dates was sold privately, with most of them getting a new life in Dan Holmes' collection, or sold through the Goldbergs in 2007. Where Jack really excelled was in the Middle and Late Dates. His collection of Proof Large Cents is unrivalled in recent memory. Jack was also a fan of die states, thus he often had several duplicates of hte same variety, perhaps with an interesting die crack or a rim cud. In 2015 and 2016, Stack's/Bowers auctioned off Jack's Middle and Late Date Large Cents to a host of eager collectors who lunged at the opportunity to acquire coins that had been off the market for years or decades.

Will W. Neal - Ten Most Famous United States Ultra Rarities
Will Neil’s collection of U.S. coins was sold in 1947 by B. Max Mehl, the flamboyant dealer from Texas. The catalog of the sale, replete with seven of our Ten Most Famous U.S. Rarities, was rated "A+" by numismatic expert, John Adams, who has examined all of the early U.S. coin catalogs for content and quality. Neil’s 1913 Nickel is an exceptional PR-64 from the Farouk collection, he owned an 1804 Silver Dollar (Class III), and both types of the 1880 Stellas. Neil's numismatic legacy lives on through B. Max Mehl's catalog and the memory of his fabulous collection.

Individual Sets

Monte Weiner the BigMo Collection - Civil War Set with Gold (1861-1865)
We’ve seen some cool sets, but this one takes the cake. It takes a Big Mo to tackle this set because many of the coins are inherently rare, and when you add the condition levels found in this set, the rarity goes off the chart. Despite all the intense competition for U.S. coins, this set contains fifteen unique Top Pops, more than 10% of the total set. This is the second gold award for this remarkable collection and it is well-deserved.

Laura Sperber (Legend Collection) - Three Cent Silvers with Major Varieties and 1851, Proof (1851-1873)
The Legend Collection of With Varieties “Trimes” is the finest collection ever assembled and, with the inclusion of the unique Proof 1851, the only set that can ever make that claim. In terms of weighted GPA, the Legend collection is a full 2.5 points ahead of its nearest competitor, an insurmountable obstacle until this collection is ever sold or broken up. There are so many wonderful things going for this set – virtually all of the coins are Top Pops and thirteen of the coins are unique Top Pops. The colorful toning and exceptional eye appeal of so many of the coins is remarkable.

Richard Groman - Liberty Nickels Basic Set, Proof (1883-1912)
This is one of our old standby sets. It has won an annual award ever since it was first registered in 2002 and, beginning in 2010, it started picking up annual gold awards for completion and quality. This is the sixth gold award for this remarkable set. Currently, the Groman collection is 100% complete, it has the highest percentage of Deep Cameos (29.03), and the highest weighted GPA of all time (68.25). With several unique Top Pops under his belt, Mr. Groman should be able to enjoy his position in the top spot for years to come.

Gerald Forsythe - Walking Liberty Half Dollar Collection
Walking Liberty Half Dollars with Major Varieties, Circulation Strikes (1916-1947)
Walking Liberty Half Dollars, Proof (1936-1942)
Gerald Forsythe has built remarkable collections of Buffalo Nickels and Walking Liberty Half Dollars, but it is the latter collection for which he is honored here. Since 2009, Mr. Forsythe has been atop the leader board for the Walking Liberty Half Dollars with Major Varieties. This is an incredible achievement considering the large number of competitors -- as of this writing, there are 103 sets registered in the Walker with Major Varieties category. Included in this set are an unprecedented 10 MS68 Walkers. PCGS displayed this incredible collection at the 2012 ANA convention in Philadelphia.

tradedollarnut (Bruce Morelan Collection of Early Dollars) - Early Dollars Basic Set, Circulation Strikes (1794-1803)
Once upon a time, in the not too distant past, Bruce Morelan corralled your editor for a private viewing of this collection (minus the 1794, which had already been seen earlier on more than one occasion) at a location that will remain undisclosed. On an individual basis, each of the coins is a stunner – a “monster” coin. However, as a collection, this stands out as one of the most remarkable accomplishments in all of numismatics. Bruce has taken the best coins from the best collections of all time and, at great expense, gathered them together in one place. This is a collection for the ages, one that can never be exceeded or equaled.

Simpson - $4 Gold, Proof (1879-1880)
Super-collector Bob Simpson, who has excelled in so many areas of collecting, now owns the finest collections of $4 Stellas in the world. No one can match this accomplishment because of the unique Top Pop 1880 Coiled Hair Stella. It’s important to mention that Simpson also owns examples of most of the off-metal Stellas in all dates and types. PCGS had the honor of displaying this incredible collection of Stellas at the August 2015 American Numismatic Convention in Chicago, where it was well-received by hundreds of collectors.
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Simpson - Amazonian Patterns - Gold (1872)
Thanks to his intense interest in United States Patterns, Bob Simpson owns the unique set of 1872 gold Amazonian patterns. This set includes one of each denomination: $1, $2.50, $3, $5, $10, and $20. The Amazonian set is one of the most revered and well known sets in the pattern series; one commentator called it “a national treasure.” Since 1872, only four individuals have had the privilege of owning this complete set: William Woodin; Dr. John E. Wilkison; Ed Trompeter; and Bob Simpson. As with his Stellas, Simpson owns not only the original gold Amazonians, plus many of the off-metal versions, as well.
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Sourdough ("End of the Trail" XI) - Morgan Dollars Basic Set, Low Ball (1878-1921)
Is there anything tougher than putting together a set of the finest Morgan Dollars? Yes, try putting together a set of the lowest-grade Morgan Dollars – all in Poor-1. To earn the lowest grade possible, a coin must be gradable (problem-free) and be worn almost completely smooth, with just enough details to be identifiable as to date and mintmark. The “End of the Trail” collection is a complete set of Morgan Dollars, all in Poor-1 condition. Twenty-one of the coins are unique Low Pops, making it impossible for any other collector to replicate this set. To read the owners lengthy but interesting story of how this collection was formed, click here.

Honored Members

Complete U.S. Coin Collections

William Cutler Atwater (2003)
Can you even imagine a 1793 Wreath cent in PCGS MS68RD? This is but one of the coins that highlighted the marvelous collection of William Cutler Atwater. B. Max Mehl sold his collection in 1946 and the catalog still makes great reading today, even though the prices realized will make you yearn for a time machine. Both the 1884 and 1885 Trade dollars from the Eliasberg collection traced their pedigrees to Mr. Atwater's collection, as do many of the other most significant coins of today.

F.C.C. Boyd (2002)
His holdings were billed as the "World's Greatest Collection" when they were sold in 1945-46. If you see the pedigree WGC it refers to this magnificent collection. It took five different auctions to disperse the coins and that was after hundreds of significant pieces were sold by private treaty. Today the Eliasberg collection is considered the world's greatest, but Boyd's is still high on the list.

Virgil Brand (2002)
The Brand collection was one of the finest of all time. Money was not a problem for this beer magnate, so he bought everything that he wanted. Some historians regard his holdings as more of a "hoard" than a collection; regardless, the Brand hoard/collection was filled with treasures. The sale of the collection began in 1928 and continued for many decades. Q. David Bowers wrote a superb book on Brand and his family: Virgil Brand: The Man and his Era. To view the All-Time Finest sets listed in the Registry, click here.

George H. Clapp (2014)
George Hubbard Clapp was born in 1858 and died in 1940. In numismatic circles, he is most famous for his reference books on U.S. Large Cents and the massive variety collection of U.S. Large Cents he donated to the American Numismatic Society (promised in 1937 and finally delivered in 1946). Outside of numismatics, Clapp is best-known as one of the founders of ALCOA (Aluminum Company of America). George Clapp has been listed incorrectly as John M. Clapp’s younger son, but George has no direct connection to the remarkable coin collection formed by John M. Clapp, later willed to his son, John H. Clapp, which later formed the core of Louis Eliasberg, Sr,’s collection. George obtained many of his Large Cents from his younger brother, Charles E. Clapp, who obtained them by private treaty from the Col. James W. Ellsworth collection in 1923. A year later, because of financial difficulties, Charles E. sold his Large Cents to his older brother, George, who built on and expanded the collection. Clapp’s collection was complete by the collectible varieties later defined by Dr. William H. Sheldon and his name appears consistently among the owners of many of the very best Large Cents.

Clapp Family Collection (2012)
The Clapp Family Collection is one of the classic, legacy collections of United States coins, built first by J.M. Clapp from the 1880s through his death in 1906, and then his son John H. Clapp from 1906 on. Like the Waldo Newcomer collection, the Clapp collection is largely unknown except through pedigree citations, because the collection never came to auction. Rather, the Clapp collection was sold intact to Louis Eliasberg, Sr. in 1942 via Stack’s, for a reported $100,000. This purchase, the largest ever made by Eliasberg, convinced him that he might achieve his goal of owning one of every U.S. coin. The Clapp Collection was not only nearly complete (Sol Taylor called it 99% complete), it contained coins of extraordinary quality, including spectacular quality coins that J.M. Clapp had acquired directly from each of the Mints in the year of issue from 1892 to 1906. The Clapp collection contained thousands of world gold coins, many of which came from Newcomer’s collection, and which also went to Eliasberg. The Clapps were among the first collectors who focused on quality above quantity. Note: the Clapp Family Collection is completely unrelated to the George H. Clapp Collection housed in the American Numismatic Society.

William Dunham (2002)
When the famed financier J. P. Morgan found out that William Dunham had an 1822 $5 gold piece, he dispatched his agent to buy it. The offer was $35,000, which in those pre-income-tax days was a tremendous fortune. Dunham turned down the offer. When asked why, Dunham answered, "My coins are my life." The B. Max Mehl catalog of the Dunham collection is over 60 years old but it's still a numismatic classic. To view the All-Time Finest sets listed in the Registry, click here.

Louis Eliasberg, Sr. (2002)
This man is to coins what Babe Ruth is to baseball. Louis Eliasberg built a complete collection of United States coins. Every denomination, every date and every mintmark. He was featured in an article in LIFE magazine and he took select coins from his collection on educational tours around the country. The gold portion of his unparalleled collection was auctioned in 1982 and the copper, nickel and silver issues were sold about 15 years later through Bowers & Merena Galleries. To view the All-Time Finest sets listed in the Registry, click here.

King Farouk (2010)
King Farouk was more of “volume” collector, to say the least. Only Virgil Brand had more coins, and Colonel Green may have had as many. Farouk actually bought the Colonel Green gold coin collection (or the nicest part of it), a virtually complete set on U.S. gold coins. He also had silver and copper. And he had an amazing number of patterns, including Judd 1776, the unique $20 Indian gold pattern, and a 1933 $20. After he was deposed in 1952, the Egyptian Government sold his collection in Cairo in 1954, and it was one of the monumental sales of all-time. Famous collector John J. Pittman actually took a second mortgage out on his house in order to buy coins in the Farouk sale.

Garrett Family (2002)
The headline in Coin World said: "Garrett bidders pull no punches" while the subhead read "Simply no superlatives adequate." That was certainly the case when Bowers & Ruddy Galleries auctioned the Garrett family collection in four dynamic and diverse parts (1979-81). T. Harrison Garrett and his sons John Work Garrett and Robert Garrett formed this outstanding collection. It was given to Johns Hopkins University in 1942 and sold nearly four decades later. To view the All-Time Finest sets listed in the Registry, click here.

Colonel Edward H. R. Green (2004)
Colonel Green was the son of Hetty Green, the infamous and miserly "Witch of Wall Street." After his mother died, he spent her money as passionately as she had hoarded it. He had an incredible collection of both coins and stamps and was known to buy entire dealer inventories of both. He had many of the greatest rarites such as the 1804 dollar and 1838-O half dollar and at one time he all five 1913 Liberty nickels. He was as much a hoarder as a collector. He had over 200 1796 quarters. His fantastic collection was valued at over $1.2 million in 1939, a staggering figure for the time.

Waldo Newcomer (2004)
Waldo Newcomer is (was) a very underrated collector. This is probably due to the fact that his collection was not auctioned as a collection, but was purchased intact by B. Max Mehl and sold by Mehl at various auctions over the ten year period of 1932 to 1941. The Newcomer collection intact was about as great as any collection ever. He virtually had all of the greatest rarities including the 1804 dollar, 1873-CC no arrows dime, 1838-O half, 1894-S dime, 1885 Trade dollar, 1854-S $5 and on and on. He had two Brasher Doubloons. He had early gold coins by the die variety. He had one of the best territorial gold collections ever assembled. This is definitely one of the greatest coin collections of all-time.

Norweb Family (2002)
The Norweb family gave their 1913 Liberty nickel to the National Collection (Smithsonian) and their Brasher Doubloon and many other rarities to the American Numismatic Society (ANS). Even so, there were plenty of top-quality treasures still available when Bowers & Merena Galleries auctioned a large segment of the collection in 1987-88. This collection was an amazing assemblage of extremely rare coins in remarkable condition. To view the All-Time Finest sets listed in the Registry, click here.

Lorin G. Parmelee (2003)
What do the following coins have in common? The 1792 Pattern cent from the Norweb collection. The 1783 Nova Constellatio Patterns from the Garrett collection. The 1804 silver dollar from the Byron Reed collection. The 1802 half dime from the Dunham and Pittman collections. The 1844-O $10 gold piece in PCGS Branch Mint Proof 64. They all trace their pedigree to the fabulous collection of Lorin G. Parmelee! Mr. Parmelee's holdings were sold in 1890 but the catalog is still a classic today-a wish list of numismatic dreams that this visionary collector made into a 19th-century reality.

John Jay Pittman (2005)
John Jay Pittman specialized in Proof United States coinage and esoteric rarities in the Canadian series. Although Mr. Pittman was not wealthy by any standard, he carefully and slowly assembled one of the most valuable collections of all time. After his death, his coins were auctioned off in three sales by David Akers, realizing more than $30 million for the entire collection. His early Proof gold coins were stunning, his world coins were spectacular, and his eye for quality was way ahead of its time. In fact, he was so shrewd in his collecting that he realized a greater return on his investment than any collector in the history of numismatics. To view the All-Time Finest sets listed in the Registry, click here.

Specialized Area Collections

Harry W. Bass (2002) - Gold Coins
It all started with a roll of 1955-D quarters. Harry Bass obtained a roll from his bank at face value in 1955 at the request of a friend. When the friend sold the roll for ten times face in 1965, Mr. Bass was hooked. He bought his first coin (an 1803 $10 gold piece) the same year and in the next 33 years he formed the most comprehensive gold collection in the history of numismatics. He collected by date, mintmark, die variety and die state! He was instrumental in the use of the Sheldon Scale for non-copper coins and it was at his suggestion that Abe Kosoff used the Scale when grading all of the coins in the 1968 Shuford sale. Mr. Bass became president of the American Numismatic Society in 1978 and later formed the Harry W. Bass, Jr., Foundation for numismatic research. Bowers & Merena Galleries sold many of his coins in four landmark sales, but the "core collection" remains intact.

Clifford-Kagin (2006) - Collection of Territorial Gold Coins
Henry Clifford collected Territorial Gold coins for 30 years. He put together a fabulous collection featuring 121 pieces which included many great rarities. In 1974, at the Summer ANA convention, Clifford sold his collection intact to Art and Don Kagin. Art and Don held the collection for many years. In 1980, at the auction sale of the Garrett collection, Don and Art added about a dozen additional rarities to the Clifford collection. The result was hands down the greatest Territorial Gold coin collection ever assembled. The collection remained intact until the early 1990s when it was sold piece by piece.

Louis Eliasberg (2005) - Ten Most Famous United States Ultra Rarities
The measure of a great collection is the number of Ultra-Rarities it contains. These are generally the most difficult coins to obtain because of their high value and immense rarity. However, just having the money to purchase them is not enough. Timing is important, as is having great connections within the coin industry. So, in late 2004, we developed a list of what many consider to be the Ten Most Famous Coins, then went out to see who did the best job of acquiring them. The clear winner was Louis Eliasberg, the only collector in history to own all ten coins. Be sure to check out the other participants in this category, including old-time collections and current collectors who (unbelievably and admirably) are actually attempting to complete this set!

ESM (2010) - U.S. Half Cents & Cents Complete Set with Major Varieties, Circulation Strikes (1793-present)
An absolutely incredible collection and a monumental task…every U.S. half cent, large cent, and small cent, 1793 to 2010. Wow! This set is only missing two coins. It has the very tough varieties and big dates. It has both 1796 half cents, both Jefferson Head cents, the 1794 starred reverse cent, all three Chain cent varieties and on and on. The pedigrees for many of the coins are a who’s who of numismatics: Eliasberg, Naftzger, Norweb, Garrett, Parmelee. A monumental set!

John J. Ford (2008)
John Ford was one of the most knowledgeable numismatists of all time. He was a dealer, collector, and numismatic researcher extraordinaire. His collection consisted of Territorials, Colonial coinage, early Federal patterns and speculative issues, Colonial paper money, Confederate issues (at one point, Ford owned 7 of the 12 Confederate cents), Hard Times Tokens, obsolete paper money, and numerous other obscure numismatic areas. His Western related material is likely the most complete ever assembled. His numismatic library was one of the finest ever assembled. His Colonial Currency collection was possibly the best ever assembled. And his Colonial coins were also one of the best collections of all-time. For these impressive numismatic groups, the John J. Ford collection of “numismatic exotica” is a 2008 Hall of Fame inductee.

Jimmy Hayes (2003) - U.S. Type Set
Putting together a Gem type set of U.S. coins is a big challenge. Between 1962 and when his collection was sold by Stack's in 1985, Jimmy Hayes did every type collector even one better...he put together a complete set of Gem Mint State type coins (including gold) in which every coin was the first year of issue for the type. This is one of the greatest specialized collecting feats in numismatic history and the Hayes type set was arguably the finest ever assembled.

Dan Holmes (2014) - Large Cents with Major Varieties (With the four Ultra Rarities), Circulation Strikes (1793-1814)
Among the great names for contemporary collectors of early copper is Daniel Holmes, who from 1974 through the early 2000s, assembled one of the finest collections of Large Cents ever. A major variety set for early Cents must surely be one of the greatest challenges in numismatics, as it contains no fewer than four great rarities; the Strawberry Leaf Wreath Cent, the 1794 Starred Reverse, the 1795 Reeded Edge and the two 1795 Jefferson heads. Dan was able to complete the 1793-1814 Variety set in fine fashion, achieving a set rating of 45.95. While that may not sound extremely high, it is! A number of the coins do not exist in mint state (or even a high circulated grade) so one must dismiss the idea that ratings in the high 50s or 60s are even possible for this set. Of the 67 coins in this set, 40 of Dan's coins were at the top of the population. Many of his coins were pedigreed to some of the finest collections of the late 19th and 20th centuries, including Joseph Mickley, W. Elliot Woodward, Thomas Elder, David Proskey, Henry Hines, William Sheldon, Col. E.H.R. Green, Dr. George French and Howard Newcomb. Holmes' interest in Large Cents extended well beyond the early dates, and his collection included both the middle dates (1816-1839) as well as late dates (1840-1857). Due to health issues, Dan sold his magnificent collection in several sales by the Goldbergs, held between 2009 to 2011.

Jim McGuigan (2004) - Half Cent Collection
Half Cents with Major Varieties, Circulation Strikes (1793-1857)
Half Cents with Major Varieties, Proof (1831-1857)
The Jim McGuigan set of half cents is one of the great specialized collections of all-time. The circulation strikes are extraordinary quality and very complete, both the basic and with varieties sets. The proofs are off-the-chart in terms of quality. Spend some time looking at this great collection. This is how it's supposed to be done.

Ted Naftzger (2002) - Large Cents with Major Varieties (With the four Ultra Rarities), Circulation Strikes (1793-1857)
The Naftzger collection is considered to be the greatest collection of Large Cents ever assembled. The focus was on the coins of 1793 through 1814. One of the great Large Cent sales in history was the Naftzger sale by New Netherlands Coin Company in 1973-and that was just the "extras" of his collection! There were also two major Large Cent sales in the 1950s that were composed of Mr. Naftzger's extras. The nucleus of this greatest-of-the-great collection was sold in 1992 and included the famed 1793 Chain Cent known as "The Coin!" Other treasures included the Atwater 1793 Wreath Cent that PCGS certified as MS68RD. Mr. Naftzger also assembled a major gold collection that included Judd-1776, the most famous and most valuable of all of the gold Patterns. Mr. Naftzger has avidly collected coins since the 1930s and still does so today.

Eric P. Newman (2013)
Eric Newman’s fame in the coin industry is well-established and spans decades. As a writer, researcher, and collector, Newman has contributed much to the body of numismatic knowledge. With Ken Bressett, Newman finally cracked the mystery of the 1804 Silver Dollars and told us the true story of when, how, and why they were made. His book on U.S. Colonial Paper Money is the standard reference for the series. His involvement with the 1913 Liberty Nickels and the Col. E.H.R. Green Estate is the stuff of legends. Recently, Newman achieved the landmark age of 102 and has begun selling coins from the numismatic foundation he established. Quite a few of his coins have already set price records.

D. Brent Pogue (2015)- Early Federal Coinage 1792-1839
Mention the word “quality” and the Pogue Collection comes to mind immediately. Mention the word “rarity” and the Pogue Collection comes to mind. Mention the words “extreme value” and…you get the picture. This collection, built over decades by a father and son team, if the finest collection of early United States coins ever assembled – EVER! As of this wr