Assembling a Complete Modern Type Set

By Dr. Sol Taylor
"Making Cents"
The Signal
Saturday, August 27, 2005

ince the challenge of collecting every coin in a given series proves difficult because of scarcity as well as expensive, many collectors work on completing a type set. Most popular is the 20th-century type set. Not only are many of the coins still in circulation, but even the obsolete types are not terribly expensive — unless you shoot for uncirculated-only specimens.
    Many type-set holders exist, from the Whitman bookshelf model at about $25 to the custom Capital Plastics three-piece holders than run about $50.
    Several new coins have been issued already in this century. To assemble a complete modern type set that would include one of each type of coin of the 20th Century and those issued since 2000, you would need the following:
    Small cents: Indian head cent, 1909 VDB Lincoln cent, 1943 zinc-coated steel Lincoln cent, the 1959-1982 Memorial reverse bronze Lincoln cent, and a post-1982 Lincoln cent of copper-plated zinc.
    Nickels: a Liberty head nickel (1883-1913; only five of the 1913s are known), a "Type I" Buffalo nickel of 1913 and a subsequent Type II, a Jefferson nickel from 1938-1942 or 1946 to date. You would also need a World War II-era silver Jefferson nickel and the four new Lewis and Clark versions of the Jefferson nickel issued in 2004 and 2005.
    Dimes: Barber dime (1892-1916), Mercury dime (1916-45), Roosevelt dime — both silver (1946-64) and copper-nickel clad (1965 to date).
    Quarters: Barber quarter (1892-1916), Liberty Standing Quarter — Type I (1916 or 1917) and Type II (1917-30), Washington quarter in silver (1932-64) and clad (1965-98), as well as the Bicentennial issue of 1976. The 50-states quarters program starts with Delaware 1999 and includes five new type coins each year through 2008.
    Half dollars: Barber halves (1892-1915), Liberty Walking half dollar with the mint mark on the obverse (1916-17) and with the mint mark on the reverse (1917-45), Franklin half dollar (1948-63), Kennedy half dollar in silver (1964) as well as 40-percent silver clad (1965-70), copper-nickel clad (after 1971) and the 1976 Bicentennial reverse.
    Dollar coins: Morgan dollars (1878-1921), Peace dollars (1921-35), Eisenhower dollars (1971-78 and the 1976 Bicentennial issue), Susan B. Anthony dollars (1979-1981 and 1999) and the gold-colored Sacagawea dollars (2000 to date).
    For the specialist who wants to include the 20th century gold coins, you would need to add:
    Quarter eagles ($2.50 denomination): Liberty head (up to 1907) and Indian head type (1908-29).
    Half eagles ($5): Liberty head (to 1908) and Indian head (1908-29).
    Eagles ($10): Liberty head (to 1907) and Indian head (1907-1933).
    Double eagles ($20): Liberty head (to 1907) and Saint-Gaudens (1908-1933). Type collectors with deep pockets would need three versions of the 1908 coin — high relief, ultra-high relief and the regular production strike with lowered features.
    Not counting the gold coins and the holder, less than $200 would enable one to assemble a presentable set of coins ranging from the low grade of Good for the older issues, to Brilliant Uncirculated for newer issues. Then, as one seeks to upgrade the set, values rise sharply — especially for the pre-1920 issues.
    A complete set makes an attractive as well as an historical display, and in recent years a respectable investment, as well.

    Dr. Sol Taylor of Sherman Oaks is president of the Society of Lincoln Cent Collectors and author of The Standard Guide to the Lincoln Cent. Click here for ordering information.