It goes without saying that we love our coins, often to such extent that we exile them, as I do, in a bank box. Fact is, we recommend any coin collection over $500 be stored in a bank box because most homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies do not cover coins, or do so at great cost. True, there are cheaper group policies through numismatic organizations or other venues. However, storing coins in a safe off-home place such as a bank provides peace of mind.
How, then, do we share our passion for numismatics without the coins?
Increasingly the answer is via online photography.
PCGS has foreseen that trend for some time, offering TrueView images and something more — an attractive digital album into which we can place our certified coins.
The computer program to do so is easy to use if you know how to create a PCGS set via its registry offering. You can learn about that by clicking here.
Once you create a set, you can add the album feature. To illustrate, I’ll use my toned Silver Eagle collection. (You can access the album by clicking here.)
In the inside cover, you can describe your set and what it means to you, or how long it took you to assemble, or anything else that you would share with friends. Just place the cursor in the text box and write away. In my case, for this particular album, I wrote that the coins “came from PCI and Hallmark holders known to turn 100% white coins into beautiful rainbow hues. The photos do not do these coins justice, although TrueView PCGS does capture about 90% of the brilliant and pastel colors. My own photos cannot adjust to the proper lighting, as numismatic photography is difficult and requires more equipment than I have.”
I added that “I also will be writing an article for Coin Update on using the PCGS digital album.”
You’re reading that article now.
STEP ONE: Adding the Coin to Your Inventory
To include photos in a particular set, you will need to add your PCGS certified coin to your inventory under the “My Set Registry” tab. Here’s how that looks:
In the above case, when submitting my coins, I not only certified them but also added TrueView for an additional $10 per coin. (Fees for TrueView are waived when you submit coins under the PCGS Secure option, which we reported here.)
Below is the image for the cert added in Step One:
Note: If you did not add TrueView, you’ll have to photograph your coins yourself. I just can’t capture the luster and color of these showcase coins with my camera. If you look at my album featured here, you’ll quickly see which coins came from TrueView and which from my Nikon. You can read more about numismatic photography by clicking here.
STEP TWO: Adding the Coin to Your Set
Once the cert with photo is added to the PCGS databank, you will need edit your registry to get the new coin into a particular set. Here’s an image of the “edit” function:
Below your set you will find your PCGS inventory of coins. Choose the cert you wish to add by pressing the “Add Coin” link to the right of the photo.
Then return to the set you are working on and hit the “re-order” tab to place the coin by date, mint mark, or other feature, according to your choosing. Simply press and hold the + plus sign and drag the coin where you want it to appear:
Note: This is important because the newly added coin will appear in the digital album where you place it in the order function of your set.
STEP THREE: Adding the Coin to Your Digital Album
Now you can hit the “edit” button of your digital album to see where the empty “hole” is for your newly added coin. Here’s how mine looked before I added the new 1986 Silver Eagle:
You’ll see that the description of the coin and its grade automatically appear. This is taken from the information included with the PCGS certification.
Now click the empty hole and the photo should appear within:
Using the “Plus” and “Minus” buttons, fit your coin in the hole by increasing/decreasing the size of the photo and then, while holding down on your cursor, drag the image into the hole and adjust once more with the plus/minus buttons:
Click the OK button, and now the new coin is in its place, per below:
To be honest, the PCGS functions to assemble a digital album are relatively easy once you get the hang of it. Writing about it here may seem more tedious than actually doing it, but the step-by-step approach will save you time.
While you will not get to hold the coins or feel the heft of the album when showing your family and friends, there are digital benefits. With omnipresent access via cell phones, you can link to your digital album 24/7, 365 days a year, and show your prized collection from any place at any time on any occasion, knowing your investment is safe at your local bank.