Everyone needs a diversion to give meaning and purpose to life. Coin collecting is one of the most popular forms of leisure-time activity in the country. And of course, the coinage from the Carson City Mint offers many stimulating options for collectors to pursue.

The Thrill of Victory

By Rusty Goe

May 28, 2004

You may remember the slogan promoting the old T.V. series The Wide World of Sports, "The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat." What is it that sets the stage for and gives meaning to this popular axiom other than the competitive drive inherent in human nature? Is competition a good thing? There seems to be little doubt that it can be a healthy building block in a person's life.

What about the competitive urge that draws a person into coin collecting? Is coin collecting necessary to human existence, or is it a frivolous hobby sapping a person's time, efforts and money? No one would argue that coin collecting is as essential as food, air and shelter (although some might consider the thought). Neither would someone insist that having front row seats at the 7th game of the World Series or the Indianapolis 500 is the difference between life and death, not to mention the excitement of rooting for Smarty Jones to win the Belmont Stakes and become only the 12th racehorse in history to capture the Triple Crown.

Hobbies such as coin collecting and participating in sports are not required for daily living; however, without such diversionary pursuits life can become boring and uneventful. This is why people spend billions of dollars annually on their favorite pastimes.

Coin collectors know the excitement and adrenaline rush they experience when finally acquiring the last coin needed to complete a set. People outside the field of numismatics may question the relevancy of such activity, yet upon reflection, they are probably involved in some sort of leisurely activity or another. No one wants to live life "working for the man ev'ry night and day" as it says in the song Proud Mary. Where's the enjoyment and reward in that type of existence? People need some form of diversionary leisure activity to break up the monotony.

Sports is a broad category offering many choices for a person to get involved. Everyone has their favorite in this category, with some fans following a variety of sporting events from one season to the next throughout the year: NBA basketball in the first quarter, Major League baseball beginning in April and NFL football in the Fall. Of course, there is hockey, golf, auto and horseracing, track and field, gymnastics, and soccer to fill in the gaps. In fact, there are so many sporting and recreational events held each year that it takes the combined efforts of no less than four ESPN channels and the major T.V. networks to cover them all. You can easily find some form of sports competition on the tube 24/7, whether it’s billiards or ping-pong, tennis or bowling; or whatever your fancy might be.

So what about numismatics, how diverse is this field? A casual perusal of a publication such as Coin World, or a catalog from a major auction company reveals the seemingly endless possibilities. The recent sales of the John J. Ford collection illustrate this diversity. Mr. Ford owned everything from the rarest Colonial coins to obsolete paper money. He probably accumulated more valuable exonumia than any collector in history. His medal and token holdings are particularly unparalleled outside of museums and the Smithsonian Institution.

In our neck of the woods, Carson City coinage is the category of preference in the field of coin collecting. People have observed that we are fanatical about these adorable coins minted in Nevada's historic capital. Although we deal in all collectible U.S. coinage and paper money, inevitably, when a customer asks what we recommend we direct their attention to the only series of U.S. coins featuring two letters for a mintmark. Why wouldn't we; after all, our store is located 30 minutes from Carson City, not to mention that we have been collecting "CC" coins for over two decades. It would be like asking residents in cities surrounding Gettysburg, Pennsylvania what their favorite Civil War battlefield site was.

So where does a person start if he or she decides to build a set of Carson City coins? Probably the place to begin is this link to the PCGS Registry site listing a complete 111-piece set of every coin minted at Carson City. PCGS 111-Piece Carson City Registry Set This will provide a broad overview of the many options available. Within the context of this all-inclusive set is the very popular sub-set consisting of one example of each of the 10 major type/denominations bearing the "CC" mintmark.

The coins from this set are as follows:

Trade Dollar

Morgan Dollar

$5 Gold Liberty

$10 Gold Liberty

$20 Gold Liberty


Twenty Cent piece


Half dollar

Seated Liberty dollar

Based on past experience, we have found that this 10-piece type set of "CC" coins brings much satisfaction to those who complete it. By the time the last coin is added to the collection, the level of enthusiasm is high and the proud collector has learned so much about the legacy of this beloved branch mint from a magical time in our nation's history. The thrill of the victory will certainly quench the collector’s thirst for personal fulfillment. At this time, the person is probably ready and excited to expand his collection of "CC" coinage by adventuring down one of the other fascinating paths in the series; perhaps starting on a set of dimes or $5 Liberty gold coins.

Regardless of the category chosen, there need be no "agony of defeat," because the chances of success are high. Unless of course, the collector decides to build a complete 111-piece set. For this feat has only been accomplished by one person in history, Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.

But hold on, we are getting ahead of ourselves here. First, you must choose your category of Carson City coinage and start from the beginning if you have not done so already. Moreover, if you have begun, you are surely experiencing the joy that comes with this very special pursuit of happiness.

So pick your pastime, whatever it might be, and throw yourself headlong into the competitive thrill of pursuing your goal. A quick tour of the eBay website reveals the vast universe of pastimes out there. There is truly something for everybody.

In the next article, we will examine the 10-piece type set of Carson City coins in greater detail and provide you with several options depending on your budget.

Can't wait, give us a call.