Author Topic: (F)utility of grading  (Read 4385 times)

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Offline EWC

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(F)utility of grading
« on: June 19, 2015, 10:26:26 AM »
It is a very nice coin, whatever the grade is. I like this type as you can probably tell from my avatar.

Hard to be exact from your avatar, but I would probably make your coin:

attractive fine style GF

Grade is an objective matter, to do with wear and preservation - not to be confused with other, more subjective, judgements.

In the good old days there used to be lots of jokes in the UK about what was happening to grading amongst some dealers in the US.

A favourite was the guy who described his coin as

"an arm's length EF"
« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 10:40:15 AM by EWC »

Offline THCoins

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Re: (F)utility of grading
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2015, 10:47:18 AM »
I like the coin, thanks for showing! But i have to agree with Rob that there is no use for superlative grading terms in this case. I guess it is a partly the fault of certain coin dealers who commonly overgrade their coins and coin collectors who feel collection is partly also a competition. I believe there is no place for an overly strict numerical grading systems like the Americana collectors seem to favor. But there is some concensus on what should be regarded as fair, fine and extremely fine.
Looking at this coin in two aspects; details and surface. In the details it is nice, better than the average for this coin, but not XF. In the surface again it is nice, no sign of corrosion. But it does have a number of scratches, probably due to cleaning, of which some are a bit distracting.
I have no objection to using subjective terms as beautifull and superb for expressing ones feelings about a coin. But using a grading term like XF+ for this coin may be giving wrong ideas to especially the younger collectors.

Just my thoughts on the subject, hoping to contribute to an open discussion, not meant as a criticism of anyone !

Anthony

Offline Figleaf

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Re: (F)utility of grading
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2015, 11:59:02 PM »
I find myself disagreeing with everyone's position on grades.
  • The different grading systems we know are by definition subjective. If they were objective, grading would have been done by computer by now.
  • The different grading systems we know were designed for machine-struck coins at best. If they had been designed for hammered coins they would have had to be vastly more complicated to take into account hammering techniques, flan making techniques, fashion (including shroff marks) as well as circumstances like war and high inflation.
  • Grading systems are useless in an age where you can send a picture of a coin all over the world in seconds. If they were of use, they would have had to be better than a picture. Since grades are abstractions, describing wear in a small number of stages, they are by definition worse, quite apart from grades being unable to describe eye appeal for a buyer whose taste is unknown. The argument that pictures can be unsharp, too small for the necessary detail or misleading is no different from the argument that coins can be mis-graded.
Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline cmerc

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Re: (F)utility of grading
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2015, 11:21:20 PM »
Tough critics on this forum! That's why we like it so much.
Defending this hobby against a disapproving family since 1998.

Offline EWC

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Re: (F)utility of grading
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2015, 06:03:42 AM »
Tough critics on this forum! That's why we like it so much.

I am astonished that no one has pointed out a single error in Peter's position

Offline Pellinore

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Re: (F)utility of grading
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2015, 09:32:14 AM »
Well, I think the usual grading system is pretty straightforward, and it is what every coin collector learnt by heart since his first little steps in his hobby. It's only useful for sellers, to make selling easier and avoid having to write extensive descriptions. And every buyer knows that some sellers tend to overrate their coins in order to stimulate possible buyers.

In the case of Mitresh, it's a way of expressing love for his coin, nothing wrong with that, he is not offering it for sale. It's like saying, my wife is the prettiest woman on earth.

Only the rating of the Heraios tetradrachm can be discussed. Such an important coin merits an extensive description. To me, it looks like it has 'some wear', apart from the obvious little scratches on the head, and therefore it is VF.

Whether the wear (esp. on the horseman and the Nike) was caused by use or during the minting process should be discussed in the coin's description; the scratches must have been caused by use, >> so it is not EF. But, well, we have the picture. Pictures may deceive, but not so much in this case, I think.
-- Paul

Offline THCoins

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Re: (F)utility of grading
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2015, 09:45:44 AM »
Quote
I am astonished that no one has pointed out a single error in Peter's position

I more or less interpreted it as meant as provocative. My lack of rebuttal does not mean i agree with Peters's standpoint. Just did not want the discussion to go to much off-topic. I wás curious to see if someone else would take the bait.

I don't think the grading is usefull for just sellers. If the seller states a grade then it is also easier for the buyer to compare conditions and prices with other coins which are supposedly in the same grade.
I have no problems if someone describes his wife as the prettiest in the world. But i would have doubts if he added in the same sentence "with an IQ of 175". I would regard that as a likely inappropriate use of terms. (Mind you, my wife is very smart  ;D)

Offline Afrasi

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Re: (F)utility of grading
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2015, 05:42:35 PM »
A friend said once: "Grading was invented to steal legally the rich fool's money."

Until now I found nothing to add ...

(He meant TPG only!)

« Last Edit: June 26, 2015, 03:12:03 PM by Afrasi »

Offline cmerc

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Re: (F)utility of grading
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2015, 05:06:42 AM »
My two cents:

Grading, imho, is perfectly acceptable, but to be taken with a grain of salt given the subjectivity involved. (I usually grade all my coins as F, VF, XF, etc. to help catalog what I have.)

Professional third-party grading (TPG) is completely against collectors' interests. TPG is for the benefit of coin investors, not coin collectors like us, and artificially inflates coin prices (see preceding comment about fools). I am completely opposed to third-party grading and all it represents.
Defending this hobby against a disapproving family since 1998.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: (F)utility of grading
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2015, 02:33:22 PM »
Out of interest, cmerc, I have seen many beautiful ancient Indian pieces from your collection and I think highly of your knowledge of these coins. Do you have pictures of the coins not on WoC? If you had pictures of all your coins, it would have some advantages:
  • No need to grade. Pictures speak for themselves.
  • Immediate basic reference. Less need to take them out of bank vault or other hiding place.
  • Ability to study coins you have sold.
  • Ability to study detail by zooming in on picture.
  • Insurance against bad eyesight at later age.
  • Evidence for judges and help for police in case collection is stolen.
Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline PeaceBD

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Re: (F)utility of grading
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2015, 06:59:17 PM »
Out of interest, cmerc, I have seen many beautiful ancient Indian pieces from your collection and I think highly of your knowledge of these coins. Do you have pictures of the coins not on WoC? If you had pictures of all your coins, it would have some advantages:
  • No need to grade. Pictures speak for themselves.
  • Immediate basic reference. Less need to take them out of bank vault or other hiding place.
  • Ability to study coins you have sold.
  • Ability to study detail by zooming in on picture.
  • Insurance against bad eyesight at later age.
  • Evidence for judges and help for police in case collection is stolen.
Peter

Peter, I agree with your points 2 thru 5. I am very sorry but cannot agree with Point 1. A picture cannot replace grading/ honest description of a coin by some one who has the coin in hand. A good photographer can hide a lot of things on a coin without using any post processing tools and just by  playing with the angle of light or the angle at which the pic is taken. If someone does not care about cleaning, hairlines, filing, tooling etc on their coin then that is their choice and their right to collect what they like but most advanced collectors do not appreciate it.
I can recall a personal experience here. I was once bidding on a Mughal Akbar Square mohur which looked absolutely stunning and nearly in mint state from the very High resolution pics posted by a reputable auction house. It was not a cheap coin either. The coin was well centered with all the relevant information on it. I was going to go all in to acquire this coin for my collection. Luckily I got a chance to see the coin in person before the auction. The coin had been severely filed on the edge. The quality high res pics of this coin from the auction house did not help me at all in this case.

I do not want to comment on the TPG hating here but I am pretty sure who ever bought that Mohur in the online bidding for $7500 would have wished it was graded by a TPG when he/ she received the coin in hand.

Thanks
Bhushan

Offline Figleaf

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Re: (F)utility of grading
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2015, 10:04:44 PM »
Surely, you do not mean a coin is never mis-graded and is certain to be correctly graded by a TPG, Bushan? I have very often heard of coins that were over-graded. Stories of under-graded coins are virtually non-existent. There is a statistical message here, even accounting for buyer vanity. A photo will answer the more relevant question: do I like the way the coin looks? If so, it doesn't matter if it is VF or EF.

Your point is well taken, though. Photos do not cover the edge. In my experience, auctioneers normally offer an opportunity to prospective buyers to inspect the coin. For that sort of an amount, I would not buy anything at all sight unseen. However, in extreme circumstances (e. g. you being too far away to visit and bidding by mail) I would expect a reputable auction house to take the coin back when you discover significant un-described damage. They would not take it back if they, or a TPG graded the coin at EF and you think it's VF.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Prosit

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Re: (F)utility of grading
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2015, 02:39:32 AM »
Is a coin acceptable to me or not.  That in itself is a 2-grade coin grading system.

Dale




........A photo will answer the more relevant question: do I like the way the coin looks? If so, it doesn't matter if it is VF or EF.
........
Peter

Offline FosseWay

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Re: (F)utility of grading
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2015, 09:40:51 AM »
Is a coin acceptable to me or not.  That in itself is a 2-grade coin grading system.

Dale

Seconded!
I do grade my coins in order to be able to enter a catalogue value in my records, but this really is a purely administrative exercise.

And it's notable that token collectors and catalogues pay much less attention to condition than coin collectors do. A really mangled or worn specimen won't be of much interest unless it's rare, and you may pay/get a premium on a clearly completely unused specimen, but the only other condition is "average circulated".

Offline malj1

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Re: (F)utility of grading
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2015, 12:48:56 AM »
And it's notable that token collectors and catalogues pay much less attention to condition than coin collectors do. A really mangled or worn specimen won't be of much interest unless it's rare, and you may pay/get a premium on a clearly completely unused specimen, but the only other condition is "average circulated".

My sentiments exactly, in fact evidence of use is preferred.
 
I am often amused by some eBay sellers description of 'very good condition' which in numismatic parlance means pretty lousy.
Malcolm
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