There are plenty of different ways to collect. In the past, albums were the most popular – they provided a safe, organized method for storing coins, and provided a framework for a set. However, with the advent of third part grading, albums are being envisioned in new ways. Perhaps most notable is the registry set.

Registry sets provide a framework similar to albums – each set has a specific list of coins needed to be considered complete. This gives you a checklist as a collector and helps provide direction, especially for the beginner who wouldn’t know where else to look to find out what’s needed for a set.

One of the added bonuses of registry sets is the social aspect. You’re able to make your set public and let others view it. It’s a great way to show off the collections that spend most of their lives in a safe or safety deposit box without risking the security of your coins. You can add comments on particular pieces to share the fun stories behind them, essentially creating a small exhibit of your set.

Additionally, many find that registry sets add a competitive aspect to collecting. Registry sets are ranked, so there’s always a drive to upgrade pieces and increase your ranking. This can be a double-edged sword; it may motivate some to continuously improve their set, while others may be discouraged from attempting a set knowing that they won’t be able to afford nice enough pieces to earn a high ranking.

Perhaps most interestingly, registry rankings can also encourage collectors to focus on more obscure series that they may not have tried otherwise. Even if they may never be able to compete in the registry for Morgan dollars, they might be able to get the top set for Disney Dollars in the currency section. There is definitely the opportunity to assemble a top-ranked set in the less popular series without the colossal investment that the top-dollar collectors commit.

Some registries even take the tradition of albums a step further, allowing users to set up digital albums, cropping the coin images out of their holders and putting them in a Dansco-style layout. This may not be quite as satisfying as actually sliding a new coin into the empty hole in an album, but it’s the closest digital equivalent there is... plus it can prevent the slide marks across the face of your gorgeous 1907 High Relief Saint-Gaudens $20.

By filling in sets, they also help organize your collection and keep a record of what you have. You can see all of the important information about a set by pulling it up on the registry – grades, costs, purchase dates, photos, etc. You can also choose to keep the set private so this information is only visible to you, but still easily accessible.

One of the biggest perks of registry sets is that they’re free. PCGS and NGC are both are completely free to use and enter your coins. The American Numismatic Association (ANA) has also announced that they will introduce a new coin registry of their own later in 2020. If most of your collection is graded, this can take the place of expensive software or complicated spreadsheets. They also pull in population data so you can clearly see how your coins rank without leaving the page.

Lastly, registry sets can be an immensely helpful tool for researchers trying to track down top pop pieces. If they’re in a public registry set, then it’s possible to reach out to the owner to learn more about where they purchased it and start building a provenance. This is particularly useful if the coin was last purchased raw and is difficult to locate in older auction catalogs.

Registry sets are an inevitable development of the hobby. We want to share our collections; we want to know if our set is the best one out there; we want the satisfaction of checking off a list. A registry set offers all three. For anyone collecting graded coins, registry sets are well worth serious consideration.

DLRC is an authorized PCGS and NGC dealer and is happy to help customers create, fill-in and advance their registry sets that both grading services provide.  This is all part of advancing the art of collecting for each and every customer.  Since their inception, we have helped thousands of collectors of all sizes complete their registry sets and are currently working on the number one all-time set – The Hansen Collection. If you have not been involved in the registries, we encourage you to do so, and are here to help with every step along the way!


Looking for a specific coin to fill in that registry set? Check out our inventory and weekly online auctions at davidlawrence.com. If you have any questions feel free to call 800-776-0560 or send us an email at coins@davidlawrence.com