The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) recently announced its Collector’s Society 2016 NGC Registry Award Winners, and my collection of Young Head Victoria Sovereigns, “The Young Victoria Collection,”1 was awarded Best in Category in the 2016 World Coin Competitive Sets competition for the Sovereign (Victoria) 1838-1901, Circulation Issue2 category. The collection won the Best in Category award previously in 2012.
Since 2012, the collection was improved considerably by acquiring better examples of many years. In 2012, only two examples were mint state (MS 61 or better); now, nineteen are Mint State, and eleven of those are Choice (MS 64 or better).
But as far as competing in NGC’s competition, the collection is still hampered by the same limitations that existed in 2012:
- When I began the collection, I intentionally limited its scope to gold sovereigns minted in London from 1838 to 1874, featuring the first portrait of Victoria on the obverse and a shield design on the reverse. (These are known as “Young” head sovereigns; hence the collection’s name.) However, NGC’s competitive category is much larger, and includes all Victoria sovereigns from 1838 to 1901, regardless of the design or mint locations. The impact of this difference in scope is that a collection including sovereigns outside the scope of my collection could quite easily garner more points, and win NGC’s competition. (And in fact that is what has happened during 2013-2015.)
- The Competitive Sets are limited to NGC graded coins only. I appreciate NGC’s sponsorship of the competition and understand the limitation – they’re in the business of promoting their service. But I am focused on the coins, as any numismatist should be, and the presence and/or identity of a grading service is incidental. (To use an analogy, I’m interested only in the cereal, not the brand name on the box.) The impact of this limitation is that ten of the finest coins in the collection could not be included in the competition.
For example, this wonderful Choice Uncirculated 1838 sovereign was added to the collection in 2015, but since it was graded by the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), it could not be included in NGC’s competition:
Despite the limitations, the improvements made since 2012, plus whatever changes that have taken place in competitors’ collections, were sufficient to garner the 2016 top slot.
The Young Victoria Collection in its entirety can be seen here.
- The Young Victoria Collection at NGC Collectors Society: http://tinyurl.com/hwgkhhx
- Category Sovereign (Victoria) 1838-1901, Circulation Issue: http://tinyurl.com/zke5mzm
Images adapted from NGC and Heritage Auctions
Congratulations, John! I’m glad NGC recognized the stellar quality of your collection overall even if 10 of your best sovereigns were excluded. As a former coin collector, I have enjoyed hearing your riffs on the evolution of coin grading standards and systems.
Thanks, Jim! Yeah, it’s pretty strange that some of the guys behind developing standards for grading coins were a little lacking in standards for other areas.