Calling on Professional Graders and Attribution specialists

Aspie_RoccoAspie_Rocco Posts: 2,103 ✭✭✭✭✭

I have lots of questions about how the professional graders and attributors got their position. I have a desire to one day work as a professional with Variety attributions. Rather than say any more, I hope to get the thread moving with some commentary from the professionals, past or presently employed...

Comments

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 10,279 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'll may write more this weekend but lately, the fast track seems to be by attending the ANA Summer Seminars.

  • messydeskmessydesk Posts: 15,685 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Well, I started my own business doing variety attributions several hours a week to earn some money to spend on coins. I don't know that I'd want to dedicate myself to doing it all day, every day, on someone else's schedule. It would be quite the grind. Some coins go quickly, some take a while and are frustrating to attribute.

  • topstuftopstuf Posts: 12,192 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @messydesk said:
    Well, I started my own business doing variety attributions several hours a week to earn some money to spend on coins. I don't know that I'd want to dedicate myself to doing it all day, every day, on someone else's schedule. It would be quite the grind. Some coins go quickly, some take a while and are frustrating to attribute.

    How many millions of bucks have you gotten for your efforts? ;)

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 10,279 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 9, 2018 4:31PM

    @KollectorKing said:

    @Aspie_Rocco said:
    I have lots of questions about how the professional graders and attributors got their position. I have a desire to one day work as a professional with Variety attributions. Rather than say any more, I hope to get the thread moving with some commentary from the professionals, past or presently employed...

    You sure you’re not @Insider2 s son or bro :o

    Fortunately, they broke my mold; however, he sure does post as I do! :wink:

  • Aspie_RoccoAspie_Rocco Posts: 2,103 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 9, 2018 4:46PM

    Great minds... something something dark side? No, there is some quote about... in Crete minds think alike... or Great Lakes think of minds... it sounds like the crepes mine, think I like it...
    yeah

    @KollectorKing said:

    You sure you’re not @Insider2 s son or bro :o

    Lol. I actually imposed a similar concept question on him directly before making this thread. With his suggestion of making it a more public Q & A, I posted this to maximize input and information for all.

  • gtstanggtstang Posts: 1,166 ✭✭✭✭

    I think one question you'd want to ask yourself is will you want to still work on and build a personal collection outside of work. You may tire of looking at coins all day as a professional.

  • ilikemonstersilikemonsters Posts: 567 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 9, 2018 6:41PM

    "I have lots of questions about how the professional graders and attributors got their position." How do graders get their positions? By being a good grader.

  • rickoricko Posts: 65,154 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have often wondered how graders do get their positions... However, I am not curious because I would like to do that work... on the contrary, no way could I sit at a position and view coins for 8 hours a day....That would quickly have me running out the door... :s Cheers, RickO

  • Batman23Batman23 Posts: 2,988 ✭✭✭✭

    @Hemispherical said:

    Forum’s host grading procedure (graders start at the 1:50 mark):

    Looks like they were still using the first blue label slabs that had series and coin numbers on them when they recorded this video. I wonder if things have changed much over the years.

  • Aspie_RoccoAspie_Rocco Posts: 2,103 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I still want to get hired by a major TPG for attribution work. How can I, literally, get my foot in the door somewhere?

    Rocco for Variety attribution 2019

  • cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 5,219 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 1, 2019 5:46AM

    @Insider2 said:
    I'll may write more this weekend but lately, the fast track seems to be by attending the ANA Summer Seminars.

    If they pick new graders from a one summer grading course, then that explains a lot! No wonder the grading/attributions were all over the place. I'm glad there is now new management.

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 10,279 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @cameonut2011 said:

    @Insider2 said:
    I'll may write more this weekend but lately, the fast track seems to be by attending the ANA Summer SEMINARS. PLURAL

    If they pick new graders from a one summer grading course, then that explains a lot! No wonder the grading/attributions were all over the place. I'm glad there is now new management.

    I don't know how I missed this NONSENSE until now. I have know idea who you are, if you understand what you read, what you THINK you know, or how long you have been a Professional (?) dealer/numismatist. One thing I do know is some of the young folks who have taken the ANA classes have been either hired by TPGS or have become major players in the coin market.

    Furthermore, should you ever get the chance to closely examine as many coins quickly during your entire lifetime as go through a TPGS in a year or two, it is certain that some outsiders may think your grading and attribution skills are deficient too. :wink:

  • neildrobertsonneildrobertson Posts: 243 ✭✭✭
    edited March 1, 2019 9:10AM

    @cameonut2011 said:

    @Insider2 said:
    I'll may write more this weekend but lately, the fast track seems to be by attending the ANA Summer Seminars.

    If they pick new graders from a one summer grading course, then that explains a lot! No wonder the grading/attributions were all over the place. I'm glad there is now new management.

    Come on man. This isn't the complain about TPGs thread. Behave.

  • ashelandasheland Posts: 12,680 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is a cool video showing the graders from ATS:

  • georgiacop50georgiacop50 Posts: 2,813 ✭✭✭✭

    Very neat video. I was impressed with the way the grader slides valuable coins in and out of the flips like there is no possible way the "sharp" edges of the flips could impart hairlines?

    I always take a lot of care doing the in/out, but then generally I don't do it hundreds of times a day.

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 10,279 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 1, 2019 1:01PM

    @georgiacop50 said: "Very neat video. I was impressed with the way the grader slides valuable coins in and out of the flips like there is no possible way the "sharp" edges of the flips could impart hairlines? I always take a lot of care doing the in/out, but then generally I don't do it hundreds of times a day."

    After many experiments over the years IMO, 98% of the opinions that flips and slides cause hairlines are parroting a common myth that has been handed down by the unwashed to the unwashed for as long as I can remember.

    Yes it can happen and probably has especially when "grit contamination " of some kind gets into an album page/slide. Nevertheless, it must be extremely rare because try as I can, I cannot duplicate it without doing something STUPID to make sure I can cause a hairline to appear.

    I just did another one of these (boring and unnecessary to me) experiments to take some photos for your enjoyment. I took one of my BU silver eagles and tried to scratch it with the pointed corner of a hard flip. No hairlines under 25X. Next I took a pointed wood toothpick and scratched as hard as I could in the same spot. You'll see a stain from the wood oil (?) rsidue. I removed it with acetone and cranked the power up to 40X. I can just start to make out a tiny imperfection in the area - not a hairline. You probably will not be able to see anything in the 40X image.

    Anyway, trust me that our coins are pretty tough after all. I'll try to post the images today. Otherwise, next week.

    PS I cannot wait to watch the video. Thanks for posting it.

    Perhaps PCGS will give us an inside look at what they do at shows!!

  • georgiacop50georgiacop50 Posts: 2,813 ✭✭✭✭

    Its the proofs where I really get concerned. I agree that most mint state coins are pretty tough.

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 10,279 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2, 2019 1:24PM

    Just watched the video. I disagreed with two coins - especially the 1901-S Morgan graded MS-65; BUT I did not see the actual coins. Besides, Mark can grade rings around me! I believe the most important thing to take away from this presentation is the fact that many coins take a lot longer to examine/grade than just a few seconds.

    Perhaps the longest was about 50 seconds and the average was probably around 20 - 25 seconds. We can lower these times a little because IMO this is a little like a "movie" and the graders were acting just a bit differently than normal.

  • Aspie_RoccoAspie_Rocco Posts: 2,103 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I was curious about that watching the video, thinking maybe they hammed unit up a little, or behaved differently or awkwardly around the cameras.

    Disclaimer: I do not say that in a negative way, and do not intend any negative implications.

  • SmudgeSmudge Posts: 3,516 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You can ruin a good hobby by doing it for a living.

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 10,279 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2, 2019 8:32PM

    @Smudge said:
    You can ruin a good hobby by doing it for a living.

    Actually, when you can turn your hobby into a profession you'll never work a day again. You'll also learn faster and see more things.

  • Aspie_RoccoAspie_Rocco Posts: 2,103 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That is what I was thinking.
    Or for comparison, that it would be like being a fat kid with a season pass to Disney land and a million dollar gift card for the snack bar.

  • lavalava Posts: 3,266 ✭✭✭

    I don’t know how anyone could keep good time grading a submission of 1827 CBHs. Soft strikes or wear might further complicate that. Overton uses the T-I relationship as a key diagnostic, and sometimes the I is gone. I give the graders credit.

    I brake for ear bars.
  • thefinnthefinn Posts: 1,103 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Insider2 said:

    @Smudge said:
    You can ruin a good hobby by doing it for a living.

    Actually, when you can turn your hobby into a profession you'll never work a day again. You'll also learn faster and see more things.

    As long as you don't have to work directly with the public. This is what drove me from retail coin selling. I actually told one customer to go to another shop - he wasn't worth the aggravation. He told me that "the customer is always right", to which I responded, "but that doesn't mean he isn't an a$$hole."

    thefinn
  • thefinnthefinn Posts: 1,103 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What is the turnover rate at the TPGs? How long does a grader last in the industry before they move on to another aspect of the business, or go into something else?

    thefinn
  • DoubleEagle59DoubleEagle59 Posts: 7,381 ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 3, 2019 11:46AM

    It's not as glamorous as one would think.

    I used to grade diamonds and that definitely sounds glamorous, but let me tell you, after 3 or 4 hours of constant grading, you're definitely mentally exhausted and you have to force yourself to stay consistent with your grading standards as fatigue can definitely make one very sloppy in their work.

    The easy part was grading for color and clarity, but when it came to determining the quality of 'cut', measuring table percentage, crown height, pavilion depth and so forth, was a pain in the you-know-where.

    As mentioned above, it was easier grading high quality, large diamonds compared to the cruddy small, low quality stuff that was sent off to the discount retail stores.

    All in all, one has to experience this 'grading' profession (coins, diamonds or any other object) before one can accurately describe how it's like.

    "Gold is money, and nothing else" (JP Morgan, 1912)

    "Gold is the canary in the financial coal mine." (Alan Greenspan)

  • ErrorsOnCoinsErrorsOnCoins Posts: 9,319 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Aspie why not go into business for yourself?

    Work on the skillsets needed to grow an (online) coin business.

  • DoubleEagle59DoubleEagle59 Posts: 7,381 ✭✭✭✭

    I just saw the grading video.

    Holy smoke! There wasn't too much difference between the 84-s and the 01-s!!!

    I think the 84-s is an ms62 and the 01-s is an ms64.

    As a side note, why are they so strict on the 84-S dollars?

    "Gold is money, and nothing else" (JP Morgan, 1912)

    "Gold is the canary in the financial coal mine." (Alan Greenspan)

  • Aspie_RoccoAspie_Rocco Posts: 2,103 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ErrorsOnCoins said:
    Aspie why not go into business for yourself?

    Work on the skillsets needed to grow an (online) coin business.

    I like this idea but I am uncertain how to implement it. I use eBay as my online store, or collector/dealer connections to move inventory.

    Currently I hunt varieties for my main set, collection, to trade or to attempt to resell them for a profit.
    I have operated an eBay seller account for several years now, having various degrees of success and sometimes loss.

    Hey, lol I just had a sale as I typed the last part. :)

    Liquidity has been an issue since I actively started buying coins to flip.
    Some coins go fast while others sit until I sell at a loss. It is enjoyable to hunt and analyze coins, but I can only afford to buy so much, then I am stuck waiting to sell or submit before I can get fresh material again. Or the materials to search run out. I have picked through local shops and eBay for available varieties.

    I commonly look for about 20-40 different varieties each day, and I keep thinking how stimulating it would be to actually get to physically sort through large quantities of coins.
    The hunt is thrilling, but so is cross referencing coins against published varieties for die markers or diagnostics.

  • CatbertCatbert Posts: 2,626 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If I were hiring for a variety designator, I can’t think of a better trait than someone with functioning Aspergers. Especially one with a passion for the topic. Worth the investment in training such a person.

    "Got a flaming heart, can't get my fill"
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