Creating Your First Type Collection


One of the joys of being a Grand Rapids coin dealer is when new collectors want to talk about different ways to collect coins. Today I’ll focus on type collections. A type collection is one that contains a representative coin of each design variation in a group.  For example, a type collection could cover each type of American quarter, or all coins with an American Indian theme, or world silver dollars with ship designs. The 20th Century American coins type set is a popular choice – interesting and very affordable. Another example would be a complete type set of the historic Kingdom of Hawaii, which can be made with only five coins.

Type collections are a lot of fun, especially for new collectors, because they are:

  • Diverse. There are a large number of possible type sets to collect.
  • Relatively affordable. Because you only need one example of each type, you can usually complete a set affordably. For example, if your set requires an example of a mercury dime, a high-mintage later Mercury dime in beautiful condition may run about $5, and will look great in a type set. If you wanted instead to create a date/mintmark collection of the entire Mercury dime series, you might end up paying $50 or more for some of them, and upwards of $1000 for even a poor quality, unappealing 1916-D.
  • Visually appealing. Type sets make great visual displays, and many wall-mounted type set holders are available to display a completed collection.

You can start a collection based on historical or artistic interest, as a gift, for investment, or to display as a conversation piece. To start a type collection, you need only select a theme, research your list of target coins, and then begin collecting. Try to make your set all in roughly the same condition, so it’s harmonious, and consider setting a budget and an approximate time period to complete the collection. Also consider whether you would be willing to compromise your set with a reproduction coin in the event that a coin needed to complete your set is outside your budget.

One type collection recently recommended by Numismatic News is a dollar coin type collection involving all the dollars issued during the history of the United States. That particular type collection is timely given that the Mint is issuing dollar coins honoring all past United States presidents. Some of the earliest U.S. dollars are quite rare, leading collectors to wonder whether they are affordable. In the opinion of the author of the Numismatic News article, “it is better spending $700 to $2,000 for a proven rare dollar coin in the lower grades than buying a lot of other less rare coins for numerous small sums that add up to $770 or $2,000 over time. It is true you will buy fewer coins for a while, but I think you will find that the deep pleasure of owning the first dollar issues will be worth it.”

Even though they are simple to put together, there are lots of interesting things you can do with type sets.  Once you’ve finished an XF set, then you could try for another one in AU. Or you could add variety coins to your set. Variety coins show intentional changes to the design, composition, or mint source of a coin series after it has been issued.

As your local Grand Rapids coin dealer, Mullen Coins can consult with you about a type collection to fit your interests, or we could help find type set holders that can inspire you to start a new collection. If you would like to know more about starting a type collection, contact Mullen Coins, your Grand Rapids coin dealer.

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