There are several reasons interested persons get into the “hobby of kings”, coin collecting. Some do it to benefit from the money-making potential of the practice, while others collect just for the joy of it. Whether it’s for either reason, these collectors often take pleasure in showing their collections to others – or, at the very least, bragging about them.
The numismatist’s ability to do this however, has certain geographic restrictions. That is, one can only show a collection to someone who is physically present. In order to overcome this obstacle, coin collecting enthusiasts regularly travel around the country and even across the globe to attend conventions and see certain collections.
Recognizing this barrier, Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) co-founder David Hall created a revolutionary online service – the Set Registry. Simply put, set registration enables online listings of collections of coins which are certified by PCGS or NGC for both quality and authenticity. This allows the coins within a collection, as well as the collections themselves, to be ranked against those of the other members of the community according to their grade and rarity.
Entering one’s collection into a registry set requires a few steps. First, the coins themselves must be graded by the listing service. Currently the two largest grading services offering the registry set display option are PCGS and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC). This requires that the coins be submitted to the service and encapsulated in one of their “slabs” (a hard plastic case used for storing coins after they have been graded). Once grading is complete, the coins are then eligible to be part of a registry set. Typically, there is no cost associated with starting a registry set. Users simply log on to the listing service site, create an account, and are then able to list their coins in any number of categories. Individual collections can be categorized by any number of characteristics, but most usually are sorted by the type of coin they contain. Discover different ways to organize your coin collection.
The introduction of registry sets has had profound effects on numismatic markets. Because of the increased exposure that each of the coins listed receives, more buyers are now aware of the existence - and if the owner so chooses - the location of these coins. The popularity of such sites has attracted more collectors to the hobby, which has increased demand for gold and silver coins in general. Lastly, the advent of these services has driven some collectors to want to attain the highest rating of certain categories. This has also increased demand for certain coins.
While registry sets encourage coin collecting as both a hobby and business, at the end of the day, they increase exposure of coin collections around the world and acknowledge the collectors who assemble truly remarkable sets.