The first proof collection to appear on this site is notable for many reasons. Listed as "Newmismatist" in the PCGS Set Registry, it's the finest all time registered set using their new weighting system. It contains an incredible number of cameo examples, most among the finest known. But at the same time it was assembled with an eye for quality first that often chose beautiful RBs over their more highly weighted RD counterparts. A look into this collector's background makes you further appreciate the balance of his collection, but we'll start with the grading stats:
1) The average weighted grade of the set is an astounding 67.33.
2) 14 coins are Cameo, 2 of which are Deep Cameo.
3) It includes the only bronze proof currently graded Deep Cameo by PCGS (1864br PR64).
4) 7 coins are Finest Known, 3 others have none graded higher, 6 others have only one graded higher.
5) All this despite incuding 15 RB examples.
The owner of this set established his interest in coins at the early age of four. It started with an uncirculated 1931-S Lincoln, and by the time he was 10 he had almost completed an album of MS Lincoln cents. At this young age he had already learned about dishonest dealers, having bought several whizzed coins at shows -- "I learned all about Caveat emptor before I was 10!". His interest spread to other series in his teenage years, but was put on hold until the early portion of his adult life was established. Once he finished his education, married, started a family and became gainfully employed, his coin collecting rekindled in the early 1970s.
When certification began he didn't like it at all -- "You can't put slabbed coins in an album". Also, this seemed to suddenly price the coins he prefered out of the market. His attention turned to Ancients, from which he learned more about history than he had in school. But he still attended shows and "once a penny collector, always a penny collector", so he slowly started buying slabs he liked, irrespective of the label. Mistakes were made, but eventually he learned the nuances of this "new" grading system. He also observed that the grading services were very inconsistent, particularly with copper, and he started buying what he felt was quality for the assigned grade. This centered on RB coins due to their value, but along the way many spectacular red examples found their way into his hands.
His entry into the PCGS Registry was due mostly to curiosity, or as he puts it, he "backed in". He had accumulated so many nice proofs over the years that he decided to list them in the Registry for the fun of it. To his surprise he had one of the top sets and realized, with a little "tweeking and crossing", his rank would climb. His first group of NGC crosses were 90% successful, testimony to his well developed eye. Over the past year he purchased several coins from high grade collections that became available, pushing his set to #1. With his interests now moving in other directions, his proof Indian cents will be sold in the upcoming 2003 F.U.N Signature Sale by Heritage Numismatic Auctions.
His collecting philosophy in his own words: "1) buy the nicest coin you can afford, 2) buy the coin, not the plastic, and 3) go after the key dates FIRST, because once you've got those dates the rest is easy -- it just requires patience in waiting for the right coin."