Collectors CornerSM: The Collectibles Marketplace

A Service of Certified Asset Exchange

Shopping Cart 0 item ($0.00)

Expanding A Basic Coin Set into Varieties

By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez - May 15, 2023

The 1942/1 Mercury Dime is an important rarity that helps fill a significant hole in the PCGS Registry Set known as Mercury Dimes with Major Varieties, Circulation Strikes (1916-1945). Courtesy of PCGS TrueView.

Building a basic coin series set – one inclusive of only regular issues on the basis of date and mintmark – is a common strategy taken by many collectors. So often, even this literally most “basic” approach of building a basic set can represent a massive objective that can take years and much financial outlay to achieve. So, it’s another thing altogether when a collector decides to parlay their basic set into one also incorporating major varieties.

Expanding a collection into varieties doesn’t usually just mean spending more money to finish a set, but it can also signify an even greater effort to locate specific pieces that are quite frequently rare and virtually elusive. But, this is where the element of fun is also enhanced for the intrepid collector who wants an added challenge. It’s so true that the thrill of the search is what drives coin collectors to do what they do in numismatics, and the goal of tracking down specific varieties to finish a coin set fulfills exactly that. The PCGS Set Registry affords collectors the opportunity to build both basic sets and sets with varieties, providing an opportunity to collect sets that can compete against others for awards.

The challenges of adding varieties to a coin set will vary based on what series one is talking about. For example, the Mercury Dimes with Major Varieties, Circulation Strikes (1916-1945) requires just three varieties to complete the enhanced set – the 1942/1, 1942/1-D, and 1945 Micro S. On the other hand, the Morgan Dollars Top 100 VAM Set, Circulation Strikes (1878-1921) requires the eponymous 100 varieties originally cataloged by Morgan Dollar experts Leroy C. Van Allen and A. George Mallis in their book Comprehensive Catalog and Encyclopedia of Morgan and Peace Dollars. While the Mercury Dime set with major varieties can certainly take time and money to complete, the Morgan Dollar set with Top 100 VAMs has taken many collectors nearly an entire collecting lifetime – not to mention hundreds of thousands of dollars – to finish.

So, where do you go from here? If you’re wanting to expand your basic set into one with major varieties, how do you do that? One way is by determining what pieces you need to complete your set with major varieties and begin plugging away at buying the pieces you can afford now. Some collectors prefer to buy the most-expensive pieces first and save the less-expensive coins for later, while others choose the opposite tack – purchasing lower-cost coins first to complete as much of the collection as possible out of the gate.

Whatever method works best for you, remember that building a set with major varieties on the PCGS Set Registry can provide you with a fun and rewarding path for expanding an existing “Basic” set into something way beyond “basic.”

Article provided by PCGS at
Related sites
The Grading Standard of the Rare Coin Industry
All information about Every U.S. Coin --
Try it for FREE!
Metal Values for All Coins
The Largest Dealer-to-Dealer Numismatic Trading Network
Long Beach Coin, Currency, Stamp & Sports Collectible Expo