Collectors can now have their cake and eat it too thanks to another technological creation from the Professional Coin Grading Service.
Security has long been a worry among numismatists. The usual result is collectors separate themselves from their coins by storing them in rented safe deposit boxes.
This solves the problem of potential loss due to theft, but it creates a problem of loss of contact with prized possessions.
To those for whom it might seem pointless to collect something that cannot be interacted with, PCGS now provides the next best thing.
Called the PCGS Digital Coin Album, images of every coin in a set can be arranged in a virtual album designed by the collector.
Any coin listed in the PCGS Set Registry can be put in an online album.
“You simply log in to My Set Registry, visit one of your sets, and build the album with the images you have added to your set,” explained BJ Searls PCGS Set Registry and Special Projects Director.
What an amazing step forward this is.
An old collector concept of building nicely matched set can return now that individual collectors can see each piece as it sits with all of the others.
This will not change the competitive nature of wanting to build a set with the highest combined grade point total, but it can return an esthetic component of set-building to prominence.
What a great concept a virtual set album is.
Perhaps it will broaden out in future years as more and more coins are graded and photographed by third-party services.
I try to imagine what it would be like to be able to have a visual record of the coin sets I assembled as a kid.
Sure, I remember them, but what if I could still take a look at them?
There was nothing to brag about in my old sets, but it would be a pleasant stroll down memory lane thinking about coins that have come and then left my hands as the various financial needs of my life affected my numismatic interests.
While seeing my old sets is just a dream, the here and now is a wonderful advance.
The PCGS Set Registry was established in 2001. It now has nearly 73,000 sets, according to the firm.
That is a lot of material for personal albums.
As those numbers continue to grow, more and more collectors will have both peace of mind and ready access to their coins both individually and as sets through the Internet.
That is indeed progress we all can appreciate.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."