When you first start collecting, it can be hard to know where to start. You could go the traditional route with a popular starter series like wheat pennies. Perhaps you have the resources to jump into something more expensive and want to bypass the more modern issues. Regardless of your budget or level of knowledge, one of the best ways to get into coin collecting is with a type set. The goal of a type set is to collect one example of each distinct design and denomination through a particular date range. Both Whitman and Dansco offer type set albums, which provide a clear framework for what your set should include.
The most helpful aspect of a type set is that it exposes you to multiple coin series at once. Instead of only looking at wheat pennies, you’ll also find yourself browsing Peace dollars and Seated Liberty dimes. This lets you not only learn what different series are out there but also acquaint yourself with their overall cost.
For example, if you’re looking for an example of a Flying Eagle cent, you’ll want to do a little research to see what dates are the most affordable. You’ll immediately learn that the 1856 is expensive, but other than that, it’s a very short series that’s pretty easy to finish a set of. However, if you’re looking for a Seated Liberty dollar, you’ll quickly realize that it’s a very expensive series and not an endeavor for the faint of heart. This helps you figure out which series are in your budget, and which ones pique your interest; combining to help you decide what to focus on next.
In contrast to a lot of individual series, a type set is also infinitely customizable to your interests and budget. If you can’t afford to spend much at first, consider looking towards a set of 20th and 21st century coins in lower grades. Whitman makes a 20th century type folder that provides a great framework for a highly attainable set that will give you a good overview of 1900s coinage.
If you want to dedicate a bit more time and money, you can go for a more comprehensive set. You can define your set however you want, but Dansco’s 7070 type set album is a great starting point. It outlines a set that omits the most prohibitively expensive types, but includes plenty of 1800s issues. If you’re looking at lower grades, there are only a few types in the Dansco album that will set you back more than $100.
That said, there’s also no real cap on a type set. You can always upgrade your pieces to higher grades over time or expand the set to include more types. If you’re looking for a real challenge you can set additional restraints, like only seeking first years of issue, top-pops, or key dates.
A type set is completely flexible to your desires and can grow with you as you become a more informed numismatist. It will give you a fantastic overview of the nation’s coinage so you can acquire basic knowledge of each series within the scope of your set. Through the process of assembling your type set you'll figure out what coins you do and don't like which will help you make an informed decision about anything you want to specialize in. For new collectors we can't recommend a type set enough.
There are plenty of coins at David Lawrence that are well suited for a type set, commonly noted in the description as type coins. These are generally common dates within a series that give you the opportunity to get an appealing, high-grade piece without much premium for the date. As always feel free to browse our website and call us with any questions at 800-776-0560.
Best of luck in your collecting!