Coin collectors choose to pursue all kinds of goals when building their collections. While some may chase after assembling a complete series of Lincoln cents, others will strive to collect a glimmering holding of Morgan or Peace silver dollars. Further, still, are those who desire to construct sets of Mercury dimes or Walking Liberty half dollars. All are ambitious collecting goals indeed. However, there is another sort of coin collecting objective that not only encompasses the beauty of the designs found with the aforementioned coins, but also allows for one to inexpensively assemble an exciting array of coins that span the century which gave us televison, computers, the space program, and two world wars. Indeed, the twentieth century type set is a pursuit that most any coin collector can potentially afford while also offering the chance to build a handsome conversation piece, dazzling display, and unique illustration of history.
What is Involved in Building a Twentieth Century Type Set?
Building a twentieth-century type set can be done both simply and inexpensively. Mind you, affordability and ease of assembly is largely based on your preferences for the dates and grades of coins you try to locate or purchase. If you are after common-date coins (those which have high mintage numbers and are not considered scarce or rare), you will be able to more easily and inexpensively build your collection. Furthermore, you can help to minimize your purchase costs if the older coins that you buy are in the lower circulated grades. However, if cost is unimportant, by all means, a high-grade set of scarce twentieth century coins would not only be fascinating to look at, it could be a wonderful financial investment. Remember, too, that as a twentieth-century type set contains many obsolete coins, you will either have to buy some coins from a coin dealer or hope to find those tougher coins in an old attic chest or buried underground in a coffee can.
The objective of building a twentieth-century type set is to collect one example of each coin design the United States minted during the twentieth century. There are several interpretations of this goal. While some twentieth-century type set builders believe in collecting just the coins designed for circulation (that is, coins intended to be used everyday by the public), others contend that all coins minted during the twentieth century should be included, which would imply having to also collect gold coins and commemorative coins. However, a basic twentieth-century type set can include one example of every major design of regular-use coin, not including gold coins or commemorative coins, and not taking into account the several minor variations, such as slight design, lettering, or metal modifications. This is this model that will be referred to in this article.
The Many Components: Coins Needed to Complete the Set
Exactly what coins have to be acquired to build a twentieth-century type set, you ask? Well, as mentioned above, the answer is not always set in concrete. However, as is stipulated in an earlier paragraph, this article is based on a collection that will not include gold coins, not contain commemorative coins (except those that were minted for use in circulation), and not involve minor varieties or account for changes in metal composition. Without a doubt, this is one of the simplest and least -expensive kinds of twentieth-centurytype sets to complete. Per such a model, below is a list of the coin types needed to build a twentieth-century type set, as well as the respective years during which the various coin designs were produced by the United States Mint.
Indian Cent (1859-1909)
Lincoln Cent with Wheat Ears Reverse (1909-1958)
Lincoln Cent with Lincoln Memorial Reverse (1959 to the present)
Liberty Head Nickel (1883-1912)
Buffalo Nickel (1913-1938)
Jefferson Nickel (1938 to the present)
Liberty Head (“Barber”) Dime (1892-1916)
Winged Liberty Head (“Mercury”) Dime (1916-1945)
Roosevelt Dime (1946 to the present)
Liberty Head (“Barber”) Quarter (1892-1916)
Standing Liberty Quarter (1916-1930)
Washington Quarter with Heraldic Eagle Reverse (1932-1998)
Washington Quarter with Bicentennial Reverse (1975-1976 such coins are dated “1776-1976”)
Washington Quarter with Delaware Reverse (1999)
Washington Quarter with Pennsylvania Reverse (1999)
Washington Quarter with New Jersey Reverse (1999)
Washington Quarter with Georgia Reverse (1999)
Washington Quarter with Connecticut Reverse (1999)
Liberty Head (“Barber”) Half Dollar (1892-1915)
Walking Liberty Half Dollar (1916-1947)
Franklin Half Dollar (1948-1963)
Kennedy Half Dollar (1964 to the present)
Kennedy Half Dollar with Bicentennial Reverse (1975-1976 such coins are dated “1776-1976”)
Liberty Head (“Morgan”) Dollar (1878-1904, 1921)
Peace Dollar (1921-1935)
Eisenhower Dollar (1971-1978)
Eisenhower Dollar with Bicentennial Reverse (1975-1976 such coins are dated “1776-1976”)
Susan B. Anthony Dollar (1979-1981, 1999)
As you see, many of the coins listed above can be found in circulation, and some banks may have the more recent half-dollar and dollar coins. Indeed, a twentieth-century type set does not have to be a costly endeavor, and it will certainly be an exciting one.
Some Final Notes
There are many ways to safely house your coins, from the tailor-made frames and placard displays designed for twentieth-century type sets to the functional coin albums and coin folders that can be used to store your collection. At any rate, be sure to exercise the usual, safe coin-handling techniques: store your coins in a clean and dry environment, do not wash or polish your coins, and be sure that you do not drop them.
As you will come to find, of all the possible goals and aims a coin collector may choose to pursue, building a twentieth-century type set will prove to be one of the most exciting and interesting ways to construct an amazing collection of coins. Furthermore, many of the coins needed to complete the United States twentieth-century set are among the most beautiful, attractive, and renowned that have ever been produced. Building a twentieth-century type set may be one of the most intriguing coin collecting ventures you will ever undertake, and, by far, it is one of the most rewarding and satisfying coin collecting projects to complete. Have fun, and good luck!