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Collecting Strategies – A Coin for Each Year


United States 1793 ½ Cent PCGS MS66BN. Click image to enlarge.

A collecting strategy for some collectors is that of trying to accomplish a date set of coinage. While this objective seems simple, there are many areas and considerations collectors pursuing this goal can take into account. The foremost of these considerations is what date to begin with.

Mexico 1776-Mo FM 8 Reales PCGS AU58. Click image to enlarge.

For some collectors, a choice is made to collect a coin for each date they have been alive. Others will choose a date such as their parents’ birthdates or another date significant to themselves. However, several have chosen to start with a date of historical importance. For many American collectors, the one-per-year set starts with 1792, the first year the United States Mint issued coinage; others choose 1793 – a far more affordable choice than a United States issue from 1792.

Others who are not concerned with the coinage solely being from the United States may choose a date such as 1776, in which often Spanish Colonial, British, or French coinage is required to fill the dates needed. Some American collectors will also choose a specific denomination, such as cents or half dollars and collect a single date for each year of their issue. However, these series are not continuous, with no cents being issued the United States bearing the 1815 date.

German States – Saxony 1478 Spitzgrosch Levinson I-163 PCGS XF45 (This coin is dated ʌ8 for (14)78). Click image to enlarge.

For collectors not exclusively focused on the coinage of the United States, this set offers tremendous possibilities for diversity and longevity. A set of coins dated from 1600 to present wouldn’t be inconsiderable to complete. The difficulty for dated coinage comes for coins dated before 1500, where European coinage can date from as early as 1234 (This coin being an anomaly) and dating coinage doesn’t become continuous until the 1500s.

Many earlier-dated pieces are extremely scarce, yet people do pursue collections of dated coinage before 1500 and make that their specialty. European coins started to see dates beginning as early as 1372, however this is uncommon. Prior to this, most coinage is not dated with a single date but can be attributed to date ranges. For example, Byzantine Empire early ancient coinages, among others, can sometimes be dated in years of the reigning monarch. These years often correspond to the ruler in power and not to a calendar, yet they can be translated to corresponding Gregorian calendar years. The practice of collecting one coin per year isn’t typically done with ancient coins.

Like any collecting strategy, the particulars of collecting one coin per year is up to the individual collector when it comes to how they pursue to their goals. Whether it is a defined goal of a date or a moving goal that changes as the collector moves towards completion, the one-per-date set is an achievable and often affordable option for those who want to show the passage of time and history with each coin they add to their collection.

Coin Collecting: Basics

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