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What do you think about buying full sets?

 
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Valued Member

United States
290 Posts
 Posted 07/06/2018  11:33 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Centsei to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I was looking at my "Mercury" dime set today, and had sort of an urge to complete it. It's close to half full, with most of the key dates missing. So here's my question: what do you folks think about buying a complete set such as those offered on eBay? The advantage is that the total cost would be much less. The disadvantage is that you can't really tell what you are getting. You usually only see the obverse of the coins, and the photographs are often not good enough to tell if cleaning or other mischief has taken place, not to mention that grading would be a fairly wild guess. So would you say just don't do it, or are there cautionary notes that could make it a safer proposition? Thanks for any advice.
Bedrock of the Community
United States
10896 Posts
 Posted 07/06/2018  11:37 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add basebal21 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
There's nothing wrong with getting full sets or partial sets if you want a jump start on something. Some people prefer picking every single coin while other don't really have a ton of interest in a lot of the coins and would rather just pick out some of them or get a full set already. There's no right or wrong way to do it. There are some nice sets on eBay especially with the more modern stuff as people decide to sell it's not worth the time/effort to list a lot of the more common coins individually and sell their sets as a whole. Not every set will be great, but there are some nice ones if you look for them
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United States
1095 Posts
 Posted 07/06/2018  11:49 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Alpha2814 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If it's a set that you just want to have and don't care about the overall condition, it's a quick way to do that. I did that a few times (Sacagawea proofs, state quarters, Zombucks) and have been just content with what I got. It certainly saved me a lot of time but you're right -- bad pictures and broad statements of conditions apply. There's a chance I might go back and upgrade the truly bad ones but it's not really worth my time. Other priorities and I do after all have a complete set, which is what I was after in concept anyway. Note, though, that the sets I mentioned by example are rather low-end sets, compared to Mercury dimes.

Part of the fun is in the collecting part. That means looking and being selective, and that's something I would do more of with a Mercury set. If you really find a good deal, it would be hard to pass up and you still have the option of upgrading later. But you also run the risk of feeling like you're done, but you're not really satisfied because it was too easy and the quality isn't as high overall as you'd like.
Working on: Peace dollars (two to go), US type (Bust era), Chinese pandas, and San Francisco tokens.

"Fear is the enemy of will. Will is what makes you take action; fear is what stops you, and makes you weak."
-- Sinestro to (my avatar) Hal Jordan, "Green Lantern" (2011)
Valued Member
United States
315 Posts
 Posted 07/06/2018  11:52 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add EconBrony to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
All depends on what your looking for really. I have bought sets in more modern coins such on a complete Lincoln Memorial Set and was quite happy. I'd have a harder time going after a set with more expensive key dates. I'm pickee to say the least and if the key date isn't in similar grade as the rest of my set, I'd be unhappy with it. Paying for a set you are likely to get low grade key dates (if they are included). I would stay away from those sets so you can get a nicer coin for the money on the key dates, but the problem is solved if it is not included.
Bedrock of the Community
Australia
14465 Posts
 Posted 07/07/2018  01:06 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If you are going to collect sets of coins, always go for the hardest coins to get in that set first.

It is good to see that the OP is thinking in a rational way, and has made some good points. I agree that expensive key coins need to be examined and considered as individual coins, not as part of a set of coins.


The easier coins will always remain relatively easy to obtain.
They will always turn up, while you engage in your quest to find the hardest coins to obtain. The hardest to obtain will always take the most time to find.
Quite often the hardest coins (keys) are the easiest to sell.

Most set collectors enjoy the thrill of the hunt. That thrill is lost if you buy a completed set.
If you buy a complete set, one of the most common reasons for doing so, is to take the rare coins from it and build the best set you can from your total pool of coins.
You will inevitably have coins left over, which have to be disposed of as unwanted coins (culls), or used to build a duplicate set.

Quite often, when a set is completed, collectors will move on, to collect something else.
All other factors being considered equal, total sum of individual coins is greater than the value of the whole set.
That is why when sets are being sold, the key coins need to be considered with much sharper focus.
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 Posted 07/07/2018  01:16 am  Show Profile   Check spruett001's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add spruett001 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I think it depends quite a bit on what the set/series is. I have purchased incomplete sets that got me a lot further than I was, but those were modern and not up to par for me, so most of those coins are in someone else's possession now.

In the end, buying a full set of anything is not satisfactory to someone who enjoys the process of collecting. It also adds an element of compulsion and ubiquity to modern sets that can be easily purchased in Gem BU/Proof. There actually is joy to be had in piecing together a set, no matter what series.
"Baseball gets you out in the fresh air and keeps you from talking about your neighbors."
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My Want List: http://goccf.com/t/282022
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 Posted 07/07/2018  04:59 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Crazyb0 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I've found it satisfying to build and sell lower end sets. Problem is, as stated people will only pay cheap, no where near what money that's been put into them. But I look at it two ways... I'll recoup some money(@75%), and possibly jump starting a new collector so they can begin the upgrade procedures. Most often, a collector buys them for a gift to a grandkid!

But BEWARE! Some smuck sellers, with one sided views don't necessarily give you the right coin in each labeled hole!
Edited by Crazyb0
07/07/2018 05:04 am
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United States
776 Posts
 Posted 07/07/2018  07:52 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add thecoinguy1964 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If you have the money, that's the quick easy way, but I still get a thrill putting a coin into a empty slot. Personally, I've never bought a complete set.
"When a strong man, fully armed, guards his house, his possessions are safe."
- Luke 11:21
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8706 Posts
 Posted 07/07/2018  08:37 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add T-BOP to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have never purchased full sets of coins . I like putting my own coins together ,gives me the option of what grades I want, color, etc . Like mention above if you buy a full set you really don't know what your getting .I hand pick with great scrutiny every coin in my albums . I call myself a coin collector . For those who buy full sets because it's easy, fast and have a who cares as long as all the dates and mints are there ATTITUDE this is all I can say: Of cause with all do respect to forum members !
Don't take life too seriously and remember it is just a passing fad ......
Michael Philip Jagger

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5580 Posts
 Posted 07/07/2018  2:15 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SilverDollar2017 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I always assemble sets myself. I always think: ďWhatís the point of a set if I donít pick each coin myself?Ē
Collector of all classic US coinage.

How to identify cleaned coins: http://goccf.com/t/319679
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 Posted 07/07/2018  4:43 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add KenKat to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Iíve bought a few full sets where there was a good deal to be had - for example, I bought a full Jefferson set and a full Roosevelt set at good prices just to have them. I have also bought some partial sets and cherry picked the best coins to put into set #1, set #2, etc. Iíve got several Lincoln sets going in different grades for example. For my main sets, Iíve mostly built them coin by coin.
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United States
16924 Posts
 Posted 07/07/2018  8:25 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add just carl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
You've already started a set. Just try to finish that set first.
just carl
Valued Member
United States
290 Posts
 Posted 07/07/2018  8:49 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Centsei to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I am *very* appreciative of these thoughtful replies. I think the resolution is going to be in harmony with something I thought already, and which several people mentioned, i.e., the enjoyment of personally assembling the set. I think I'll probably haunt dealers, shows, and maybe the bay to find individual coins I like. This is particularly appropriate in that the partial set was assembled by my father and me many years ago and has the sentimental value associated with that. Of course, we all know how the story ends--with a search for a 1916-D that is attractive enough to enjoy without costing the price of a car.
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 Posted 07/07/2018  8:55 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add macmercury to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Most of these completed set are on the low end side, you would likely upgrade majority of page one, but this if you want just set, it would serve your purpose.

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60291 Posts
 Posted 07/08/2018  12:12 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
If you are going to collect sets of coins, always go for the hardest coins to get in that set first.
I always disagree with this because it feels anti-climactic. To each their own though.
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 Posted 07/08/2018  12:33 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Alpha2814 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
If you are going to collect sets of coins, always go for the hardest coins to get in that set first.

I collect (slabbed) Peace dollars. If I had started with the 1934-S, I would not have started. I have three to go; one of them is still the 1934-S. It took this long to (1) convince myself that I really wanted this set, and (2) fully understand what kind of (a) commitment and (b) expense is involved. Most of my set is 63, some are 62. The 1934-S will almost certainly break that pattern and be the sole outlier. The three remaining keep the hunt alive and I'll pounce when I find "the one" to fill each hole. In the meantime, I have other lists to fill.

tl;dr: Starting with the hardest one mean you'll never get started and you're missing a thrilling hunt for the rest while you're waiting for the real prize.
Working on: Peace dollars (two to go), US type (Bust era), Chinese pandas, and San Francisco tokens.

"Fear is the enemy of will. Will is what makes you take action; fear is what stops you, and makes you weak."
-- Sinestro to (my avatar) Hal Jordan, "Green Lantern" (2011)
Edited by Alpha2814
07/08/2018 12:35 am
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