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user_14581's Blog

30 Mar 2020

Chronicles of a Numismatist: Grading Woes

Coins-United States | user_14581

I am a PCGS fanatic. I like NGC and ANACS also, but for me the aesthetic appeal of the PCGS holder along with the high prices realized made it easy to go with. I appreciated early, when I first started, David Hall's video market report that he would make almost on a weekly basis at one point. With their video series on coin grading as well, it again made it easy for me to send my coins to them. Albeit I live in Florida, and NGC is in my back yard too.This recent submission was based on the 4 coin free grading submission I received for the level of service I currently subscribe to. I have too many choices, which is a good thing, but I figured I would use the 4 coins I have which are brilliantly toned. (I love errors and you can't send errors on the free submissions you receive, I will probably never submit toned coins for that service either ever again). Yeah, I am a little touchy on this as you are reading. Hence perfect article in my opinion because not all of our hobby is roses and sunshine days. Sometimes in our best efforts we receive epic fails or mishaps that tend to semi halt the progression, but only for the purpose of learning from my error(s) so that I don't do it again. Never halting to stop collecting, not even close.So 3 explanations on my choices for submission: A) My first choice was the 1886-P Morgan. I bought this around 3-4 years ago from a small dealer outside of Orlando. It was in a 2x2 stapled flip (can't stand those) and when I saw this coin I knew I had to have it. It was not priced at a toned Morgan pricing should have been, but the color and toning did not scare me nor brought any concern. B) 1963 Washington Proof Quarter. This was purchased through a huge purchase I made from a 2 generational family collection that was turned into the Boy Scouts 1-2 years ago. I bought a complete 1955-1964 Proof set 2 fold, One set complete unopened OGP and One set opened OGP. The Grand Father and Father bought tons of the same year and just hoarded them year after year. Mercury Dimes, Morgans, Peace Dollars, etc. So I opened the sealed sets I had because I was nosey and wanted to see how they looked. The 1963 Proof set screamed from the Washington. The Franklin has toning across the bust of Franklin but nothing like this Washington. The dime has some toning too. C) The 1962 Franklin and Washington come from a OGP '62 proof set. These along with the dime and nickel are wonderfully toned. The dealer that sold me the set actually wanted to not sell it to me because after he took it out of the case I continued to look through his shop and he came around to show me the packaging the coins were in and said that he didn't like the toning and didn't want to sell it to me. I said I still wanted it, especially since we had talked for 1/2 hour about grading services and how he offered to always submit coins for me if I chose to.So February I decided to submit my coins for grading and used my 4 coin voucher for this. About 4 weeks ago I received the grades and photos and ALL the coins came back Details- Questionable Color. I was pissed. Honestly, I am by no means a perfect expert and would not call myself an expert but to receive 4 back questionable? Man, I just said to myself, "Never again a voucher for a toned coin". Not a chance. I submit raw coins, and with raw coins I get the adherent risk reward. But these 4? To me I don't get it. You see Morgans that are outrageously toned with pinks and lime greens. I have seen a major auction house have a graded Washington that was highlighter yellow and it was mint state. The PCGS Rare Market report one month had that substantially Gold Coin that was Red and Blue toned all over... Gold! So I had to ask myself are they saying I doctored the coins? What does each coin stand in it's own merit?I finally determined they don't believe I doctored the coins. Had they, I believe they would have not graded and sent them back to me. Okay, then what are they saying? I researched the auction house I mentioned earlier and also NGC. (I wanted an alternative TPG because I needed to see if they have received similar coins that I have and gave same grading). I did find a ton of NGC Morgan toned coins that have both obverse and reverse with a halo ring of toning and they Detailed Graded the coins. Buttttt... after I was just about to stop I found an equally amount of Morgans from NGC with Halo toned rings with full grades. Now I am back at square one. What about the '62 Proof coins? Well the pictures don't do it justice. The orange and amber looks like a forest fire on the coin especially with the dark spots looking like ashes. I have only seen one or two Franklins close to that and they were both Net Graded by PCGS. The '63 Washington Quarter? I haven't seen the blueberry color like that obverse and reverse. It is brilliant and wonderful. What I have seen is a huge gathering of toned Washingtons in auction houses that have vibrant toning and sometimes reminiscent of colors from Morgans and sometimes out of this world. I have noticed that coin series tend to have toning that is particular for that series. My Proof nickels I have from these sets, some have that awesome dark blue or bright blue that you see in pictures on PCGS coinfacts, but that particular toning isn't found on Proof Washington or Proof Franklin coins. But I research toning and study it. Heck I collect antique silver and some of my pieces tone magnificently and other pieces go dark very fast.Where do I stand? Well I could send these back saying you got these wrong, but I am skeptical. I do plan to take these to one of the dealers I have a strong relationship with to talk to him and see what he thinks.For now though I have to sit and practice social distancing. But when this ban is lifted I do plan to make an appointment and receive a good educational experience. This will be updated once I speak with him.

Comments

user_7180

Level 5

Wow. Some great looking coins. If you only knew what they looked like before you opened the boxes! That would be the proof that the grading agency needed.

Long Beard

Level 5

I'm with you on many points. Although I've yet to actually submit one for grading, and like yourself, I prefer PCGS as well. This is not to say there is anything wrong with NGC or ANACS as I own these as well. What I've found is that for older coinage, 1899 and earlier, PCGS seems to hold the slight advantage on grading. NGC seems on par or a bit better for those of the modern era. ANACS consistent and comparable within the moderns and the one I'd chose if buying a details grade. Which I have. While I'm a raw, uncertified collector with 90% being in Air-tite holders I have no problem cracking them out if a hole needs filled. The remaining 10%, mint-state examples, errors, duplicates, and so forth remain in the third party holder. But that's just me.

user_14581

Level 3

100% with you all the way. I like NGC and Anacs as well. Anacs holds such an important role because if you can get an attribution on a coin that neither PCGS or NGC don’t recognize then once received, if lucky, you can submit to either PCGS or NGC and acquire the new attribution. I have yet to try it, but upon an upcoming article, I will be soon however. Have you seen the discrepancy in pricing of modern bullion in NGC vs PCGS? Such as Pandas? Whew, it is almost as egregious as the CAC green bean vs non-CAC green been sticker on a coin. I really enjoy raw coins, but because I live in Florida I need the added protection against humidity.

Longstrider

Level 6

A good idea for future toned submissions may be to say no details grades please. It may work the wrong way though and make them nervous.

user_14581

Level 3

I know, right? There is just no winning this. (I am laughing because it is funny how one idea can still put a damper on the over all effect). Luckily toning is a niche and not the norm. I just chalk it up to a learning experience. Luckily too, I don’t feel I wasted the vouchers. Honestly, I wanted these slabbed. I have other coins, non toned, and would have been happy with those but would have wished I submitted these. That would be a huge gamble though, No details and return unslabbed. They return it in a huge plastic flip still, I have a Peace Dollar that it happened to and was stated having PVC. I have yet to have it conserved, but might one day.

Mike

Level 7

I have two toned coins i sent to NGC . No problems. PCGS is very liberal with there grading. I see the comparissions and if NGC grades a coin 69. PCGS will grade fourty percect more 70. I whant a real grade. Not every coin is 70. But PCGS thinks they are. There are allot of oeoblems with toned coins. There getting good at artificially doing it. Inagree with the comment before that said PCGS has b no idea were they camenfrom. And when sending any coin in write a note exactally what you want. I so never had a peoblem. I would of written only grade the 1971 quarter do not clean they cant read your minds. Write a note or else there just gonna do what you put on the sheet.

Longstrider

Level 6

All those coins are perfect examples of how a coin tones. Not a thing wrong with them. I am no expert and it's hard to tell from a photo but I did take a toning class at a Summer Seminar. We even got to talk to a "coin doctor" on the phone and ask questions. I would crack them out and send to NGC. It's even still open. I had a opposite experience. I bought a beautifully toned coin from my regular guy. It was a "CC", I don't recall the year but it doesn't matter. It had a great rose tint in the place it should be in the color progression of a Morgan. This coin was raw and I asked my dealer to send it in as he had a stack ready to go. He only uses NGC. Well when it came back it had been CONSERVED!!! All the toning gone. NGC had called and asked my guy if he wanted a certain coin he had also sent in to be conserved. He said yep. They did ALL the coins. I didn't buy the coin then. Now I send in all my own. I also like ANACS but they are closed now. Good luck and great blog.

user_14581

Level 3

I couldn’t imagine that experience you had. Especially a CC Morgan rose color toned. Thank you for the advice. I was thinking the same thing too. I have never cracked a coin out of any holder, I have accidentally cracked an original Old Holder from PCGS (the very small one) that had a beautiful Silver MS Ike in it. I did not know it was so fragile and put it in my pants pocket and when I sat down I heard a “crack”. Sucked. Still have it too. I think one lesson for me is to keep my coins in the OGP as long as I can and then send all of them in for grading and make a note for the graders that these all came from OGP. They may not care but at least worth a shot. I was planning on going to the Summer Seminar in Colorado for the Coin grading class - Intermediate. I can’t wait to start going to those year after year because I seriously enjoyed Basic 1 & 2 this past January so much.

It's Mokie

Level 6

I guess spectacularly toned coins always carry a stigma of possible artificial toning. You know where they came from but PCGS is only going on what they feel is their best judgement. Maybe if you were a well known dealer or collector with a strong PCGS history, the toning might be viewed favorably.

user_14581

Level 3

Very true. I don’t blame them, per say, but I am objecting to the Details I received. I just think the Voucher is completely wrong for the type of coins I sent thinking about it. Yes there is a dollar limit that theoretically all these fall under, but in an auction and possibly CAC sticker’d the prices may have gone astronomical, I don’t know. But wonderfully Monster coins need to go through a proper level with a higher dollar limit for value of the coin for that level of service.

Golfer

Level 5

Would be disappointed also if the coins came out of OGP and came back details. Ive seen some ugly toned coins that look crusty have MS66 grades. Not a fan of ugly toning even if the coin has a good grade. Nice story and thanks for sharing.

user_14581

Level 3

I very much agree. They are able to look past the crust and net grade per coin’s full appearance. I don’t ugly coins grading high, I do since I took the class this past January, but I don’t from a collector stand point. But I can find some heavy dark toned coins interesting just based on what is darkened and what is not, as well. I wouldn’t mind cherry picking a crusty old coin and then send in for conservation services.

user_14581

Level 3

All these coins have the rims toned... meaning the toning is from inside out. The toning isn’t just on the surface, but deep in the coins surfaces.

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