Author Topic: Grading coins  (Read 31665 times)

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Offline villa66

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Re: Grading coins
« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2013, 10:59:37 PM »
Patrick Finn in 1970 described "uncirculated" as a fairly recent term of American origin.  I'd love to know some dates to confirm just when our grading terms (all of them, for that matter) were first documented.  Just when *did* people start using expressions such as "Fine", "Very Fine", etc., as part of a sequence with theoretically fixed meanings to describe coins?

The grading adjectives (Uncirculated, etc.) are considerably older, of course, but in the U.S. the first really comprehensive grading system to gain wide acceptance was that of Brown and Dunn, in 1958. Below is an early copy....

Offline villa66

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Re: Grading coins
« Reply #31 on: January 13, 2013, 11:03:09 PM »
There was a real need for the new grading guide, and a feel for how enthusiastic a reception it got can be had below....

akona20

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Re: Grading coins
« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2013, 11:19:27 PM »
"Calling BU a production technique is the BRM's mistake; WoC shouldn't make it ours."

Let's be honest now.

To produce coins now graded BU does a mint need to initiate special procedures that differ from the production of coins by standard procerss at that mint.

The answer is YES.

Therefore the production of coins at a mint that are now classified as BU requires special techniques or processes.

Offline villa66

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Re: Grading coins
« Reply #33 on: January 13, 2013, 11:46:16 PM »
The grading standards in the early copies of Brown and Dunn's little book consist of descriptions only. Reproduced below is part of the 1892-1916 Barber quarter section. Comparing these grade descriptions with the generic grade descriptions which began this thread gives one an (additional) idea of why...well, why cross-border coin interactions can occasionally be so problematic.:)

 :) v.

Offline alglasser

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Re: Grading coins
« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2013, 11:51:25 PM »
Well, I still believe that a BU coin is just that..."Brilliant (or occasionally I hear 'Bright') Uncirculated".  Again I might state that an MS-60 could be BU. Interestingly, I was reading the introduction to the "2013 Standard Catalog of World Coins, 2001-Date" and discovered the following
from page 7:

"For BRILLIANT UNCIRCULATED (BU) grades there will be no visible signs of wear or handling, even under a 30-power microscope. Full mint luster will be present. Ideally, no bag marks will be present". (I wonder what weight the word IDEALLY has in this definition. CAN bagmarked pieces be BU? If so MS-60, 61, 62...can qualify as BU.) A bit nebulous...

"For UNCIRCULATED (Unc. or MS-60) grades there will be no visible signs of wear or handling, even under a 30-power microscope. Bag marks may be present".

I have 2 concerns about this of this definition. What is meant by "MS-60 grades"??? What about 61, 62...65...67...and so on? Can Unc. pieces be MS 67, 68...but not BU? Secondly, the statement "bag marks may be present" is interesting. Aren't bag marks (and luster) what disinguish the lower MS grades from the higher? Is it possible to have an MS-60 without bag marks?

I think it is easy to see why confusion exists.

Austria for one issues coins for collectors in "Special Uncirculated" grades. Great Britain, Germany may also but I need to double check that. I expect that there are many others as well. They are not "BU" but listed as "Special Uncirculated" in the SCWC's I believe.

Alan in Massachusetts...confused  :P

Offline villa66

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Re: Grading coins
« Reply #35 on: January 13, 2013, 11:55:25 PM »
...To produce coins now graded BU does a mint need to initiate special procedures that differ from the production of coins by standard procerss at that mint.

No. Unless they've been intentionally treated to dull their surfaces for one reason or another, or have been the victims of some disfiguring production accident, any of the billions of coins that come new from the world's mint's each year are in BU condition.

 :) v.

Offline andyg

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Re: Grading coins
« Reply #36 on: January 13, 2013, 11:56:20 PM »
Despite all the procrastination on this thread BU is a recognised term here in the UK for a type of manufacture.  We as a forum will not gain anything if we try to deny that it exists.

The original quote, that is so objectionable it seems, was that using BU to mean two different things is confusing and quite obviously it is.
always willing to trade modern UK coins for modern coins from elsewhere....

Offline andyg

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Re: Grading coins
« Reply #37 on: January 14, 2013, 12:03:29 AM »
No. Unless they've been intentionally treated to dull their surfaces for one reason or another, or have been the victims of some disfiguring production accident, any of the billions of coins that come new from the world's mint's each year are in BU condition.

 :) v.

This is wrong - the royal mint here in the UK do not produce BU coins for circulation.
always willing to trade modern UK coins for modern coins from elsewhere....

akona20

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Re: Grading coins
« Reply #38 on: January 14, 2013, 12:05:15 AM »
Well I guess I am out of time then. To meet the demanding standards in the minds of some mints that sell coins as BU (let's now debate where that sits on the 70 scale and can we throw in Gem BU for fun as well) initiate specific procedures to get that grade to sell.

I am not talking about what happened 20 years ago I am talking about now.

So if it was not BU graded at the mint for sale it is graded elsewhere BUT mints do use special procedures to ensure BU production now.

The discussion is either as simple as a reasonable grading system or as complex as the profit and cash driven system being forced upon us at this time by a small handfull of collectors (lol investors and market manipulators) that leads to endless arguments and actually allows for manipulation of the coin's surface as part of that complex and rather subjective system.

akona20

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Re: Grading coins
« Reply #39 on: January 14, 2013, 12:06:43 AM »
Andy has replied slightly before my post but in modern grading a BU coin cannot technically exist if it comes from "normal" production in the world's major mints.

Offline andyg

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Re: Grading coins
« Reply #40 on: January 14, 2013, 12:10:51 AM »
Villa66 has illustrated a very good point - grading systems move with the times, they have to to keep up with modern production techniques.

Since we cannot control how the mint market their products, perhaps it is time to revisit the things we collectors can control - such as the grading system used by collectors to grade the mint products marketed as BU.
always willing to trade modern UK coins for modern coins from elsewhere....

Offline alglasser

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Re: Grading coins
« Reply #41 on: January 14, 2013, 01:01:23 AM »
OH boy!!!! Grading books. I can't even imgine the thosands of hours I spent studying (and loving every minute) these guides. I even purchased a book of an ANA grading course and was going to take the test as a professional grader...back many years ago. I still have that book somewhere.

Villa 66 referenced the Brown and Dunn grading guide. I believe this may have been one of the first for U.S. type coins (excpet for "Penny Whimsy" by Sheldon (yes...the Sheldon of the 1-70 grading scale of many MANY years ago).

For comparison, I have included 3 more contemporary grading guides and their guidelines for the Barber quarter as started by Villa 66 and the Brown and Dunn grading guide. (Please note that in the 3rd guide, it states that grading standards are the same for the Barber quarter and the Barber half dollar so the standards for the half dollar are included herein.

The first guide is "The Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards" 6th edition. I checked a few earlier editions and there are no changes in the grading standards for the "Barber Quarter". The ANA guide is by far my favorite and also had wide acceptance.

The second guide is "Grading Coins by Photographs, An Action Guide For the Collector and Investor" copyright 2008. I like this one too, but every coin type has so many variables that to provide 1 "typical" photo for each grade in my opinion is not sufficient for collectors to accurately grade their coins.

The third guide is "Official Guide to Coin Grading and Counterfeit Detection" put out by PCGS, copyright 2004. This is the second edition and if I recall correctly, was rather a flop. The first edition was far superior but to be honest, I have both but like neither very much.

Anyway, the point of all this is to elaborate on Villa66's points about grading. They vary widely, but also do have some common areas. Somewhere in this mix of grading guides I got sucked into the slabbing game. The guides were so varied in opinions, every dealer had different opinions...I felt "safe" buying certified coins. If it scans well, I will post my ANA certified Barber quarter in this thread so people can see an upper grade example. It's no rarity and not a "gem", but was the best that I could afford at the time. I don't remember when I purchased the piece...many years ago...but if I can find out, I'll add it to the post with the pictures. If there are no photos posted...it's because the coin wouldn't scan in the slab.  Alan  Massachusetts

My follow up to this post...

My apologies that I couldn't get better scans. Another disadvantage of thise *&&^%^%# slabs!




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« Last Edit: January 14, 2013, 01:28:12 AM by alglasser »

Offline alglasser

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Re: Grading coins
« Reply #42 on: January 14, 2013, 01:16:36 AM »
As follow up to the information on grading books, I said I would try to post my Barber Quarter so an upper grade example could be examined. I don't know if these scans are any good or not but here they are. I have very few ANACS coins as they were respected less than PCGS (the most respected) and NGC (second and nearly equal in acceptance) but they did hold a loyal following though I wasn't really one of them. This type of "slab" was used in 2003.

Alan   Massachusetts




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Offline villa66

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Re: Grading coins
« Reply #43 on: January 14, 2013, 01:25:10 AM »
Was still working on the other :) v.

Well, I still believe that a BU coin is just that..."Brilliant (or occasionally I hear 'Bright') Uncirculated".  Again I might state that an MS-60 could be BU. Interestingly, I was reading the introduction to the "2013 Standard Catalog of World Coins, 2001-Date" and discovered the following
from page 7:

"For BRILLIANT UNCIRCULATED (BU) grades there will be no visible signs of wear or handling, even under a 30-power microscope. Full mint luster will be present. Ideally, no bag marks will be present". (I wonder what weight the word IDEALLY has in this definition. CAN bagmarked pieces be BU? If so MS-60, 61, 62...can qualify as BU.) A bit nebulous...

"For UNCIRCULATED (Unc. or MS-60) grades there will be no visible signs of wear or handling, even under a 30-power microscope. Bag marks may be present".

I have 2 concerns about this of this definition. What is meant by "MS-60 grades"??? What about 61, 62...65...67...and so on? Can Unc. pieces be MS 67, 68...but not BU? Secondly, the statement "bag marks may be present" is interesting. Aren't bag marks (and luster) what disinguish the lower MS grades from the higher? Is it possible to have an MS-60 without bag marks?

It's an interesting thing to unpack. What is meant by "Unc or MS-60 grades?" I read that "Unc or MS60-70 grades." All grades from MS60-70 are Uncirculated; some may also be Brilliant Uncirculated. Can an originally brilliant coin be MS 63+ without being BU? No way! But of course many world coins have intentionally not come brilliant from the mint, so in theory anyway, MS70 is within reach for some particular coins that are emphatically not BU.

The real difference between the descriptions UNC and BU above is "Full mint luster will be present." Easy enough. Works quite well with whatever system one uses. Bagmarks? Tougher--and as was the case with you, "ideally" jumped right out at me. But for folks used to the idea that Uncirculated coins can vary radically in quality--and heck, that's all of us--"ideally" finally works too. It just means that there's a bagmark continuum in both number and placement. (I do think that's more intuitive thing generally for American collectors than for others--read Morgan dollars.)

"Is it possible to have a MS-60 without bagmarks?" Sure. MS60-70 grading is at bottom an eye-appeal index that combines an uncirculated coin's luster, strike, bagmarks (and other damage), etc, in the calculation thereof. So an uncirculated coin scores off the charts in the "bagmarks category," and then boots the others; MS60.

 ;) v.

Offline andyg

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Re: Grading coins
« Reply #44 on: January 14, 2013, 01:45:21 AM »
BU coins are always free of bag marks and finger prints - that is why they are specially packed by workers wearing gloves in the mint...... ???

The whole world does not work to one set of rules, it is rather naive to both expect it does and to try to impose those same rules on everyone else.
always willing to trade modern UK coins for modern coins from elsewhere....