Why is preservation of detail King in coin collecting?

This has always bugged me.
Who decided that the amount of wear a coin has trumps everything else when it comes to value? I can have an utterly perfect XF classic coin, originally toned and mark-free, but it will always be valued lower than a crummy, barely gradable AU. Forget the fact that it's 10 times as rare as the AU looking as it does. Maybe bid + 20%, if someone is being generous.

Was there ever a time when "wear" was not the most important attribute in determining a coin's relative price to its peers? And, would anyone accept a grading standard that ranked a perfect XF over a garbage AU in a census? Curious what you guys think.

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Comments

  • thefinnthefinn Posts: 837 ✭✭✭✭

    Yes. A substantial error on a coin grading VF would trump a normal coin in uncirculated condition. A 1943 Copper Lincoln Cent in Fine is worth much more than a 1943 Lincoln Cent in MS69.

    thefinn
  • BryceMBryceM Posts: 6,983 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yup. It’s a good point and a good question. Probably tradition mostly...... bigger numbers are always better.... When it comes to pricing, the free market has spoken. I’ve “upgraded” to a coin in a lower grade more than once. Just buy the ones you really like for prices that seem reasonable. Once a person gets past the artificial gladiator’s arena of the registry it is much easier.

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 16,563 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 9, 2018 11:23PM

    @scubafuel said:
    Who decided that the amount of wear a coin has trumps everything else when it comes to value?

    Would that be William Herbert Sheldon who created the Sheldon scale and the ANA who adopted it for the Official ANA Grading Standards? In the Sheldon scale, a MS-70 is supposed to be worth 70 times a PO-01.

    Was there ever a time when "wear" was not the most important attribute in determining a coin's relative price to its peers? And, would anyone accept a grading standard that ranked a perfect XF over a garbage AU in a census?

    What are alternatives to the Sheldon scale that don't use wear as the ranking factor?

  • RayboRaybo Posts: 4,168 ✭✭✭✭

    @scubafuel said:
    This has always bugged me.
    Who decided that the amount of wear a coin has trumps everything else when it comes to value? I can have an utterly perfect XF classic coin, originally toned and mark-free, but it will always be valued lower than a crummy, barely gradable AU. Forget the fact that it's 10 times as rare as the AU looking as it does. Maybe bid + 20%, if someone is being generous.

    Was there ever a time when "wear" was not the most important attribute in determining a coin's relative price to its peers? And, would anyone accept a grading standard that ranked a perfect XF over a garbage AU in a census? Curious what you guys think.

    This is something that has been thrown around in my tiny brain for quite a while.
    Why pay good money for a worn coin of a low mintage that very few people have in their hands when you can pay way more for a bright shiny coin that everyone has in their collection?

    What's that sub forum called again?

  • BarndogBarndog Posts: 19,833 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I value luster more

  • rickoricko Posts: 61,740 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There are many who depend on the label for value.... and if in the business (buying/selling coins), then the grade and stickers are selling points. However, if you are a collector, and knowledgeable, there are excellent coins available at reasonable prices. As is so often stated here, buy the coin, not the holder. Cheers, RickO

  • ARCOARCO Posts: 3,352 ✭✭✭
    edited November 10, 2018 8:53AM

    This very issue we have with technical grade, is actually what makes the hobby very challenging and rewarding. On Heritage, a 1914 Barber Half in NGC 62 sold for a little over $1200. You can find low end MS coins of this date with not too much searching. They tend to be dipped, baggy or generally OK looking. I bought an AU53 1914 with fantastic eye appeal last week for $1200. I have been collecting Barber Halves religiously for almost twenty years and it is the very first original XF or AU coin that I have ever seen that in that date that I felt was worth spending the money on.

    18 years and my first AU 1914 half. I bought an AU55 1915 Barber Half four months back. Again 18 years it took me to find an example I liked.

    This is the only really exciting aspect of the hobby for me. It is not just shelling out bucks for the grade, but finding that one coin that has it all; eye appeal, right price, choice condition.

  • jabbajabba Posts: 1,408 ✭✭✭

    I would rather have a well worn coin in my collection than a mint state. Sure it’s cool to have a perfectly preserved Morgan with beautiful color but a well worn CC makes your imagination run wild with who pocket or poker game was this coin in to me that’s more valuable that that bag queen

  • BuffaloIronTailBuffaloIronTail Posts: 3,060 ✭✭✭✭✭

    An AG 1914-D Lincoln Cent and an EF Lincoln Cent are the same coin. I see where you're coming from. Either would "fill the hole" in an album.

    If you are hole filling, the AG coin fits the bill. If that's the way you collect, there is NOTHING wrong.

    There is nothing wrong with being a "high grade" collector, either. It's the thing about detail (and value).

    Have fun with what you're doing and collect by your means.

    There's room for everyone.

    Pete

    "I tell them there's no problems.....only solutions" - John Lennon
  • DCWDCW Posts: 3,293 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Well, you cant go in "reverse." That is to say, once a coin has wear, its detail cant be brought back (unless you're a magnificent coin doctor.)
    This is why the lowball craze is so perplexing. Every coin can get down to PO-1; all it takes is time.

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 16,563 ✭✭✭✭✭

    In addition to the grading system, I think the other thing that drives this is price guides. In the price guides, higher grades are always worth more, never less.

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 16,563 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DCW said:
    Well, you cant go in "reverse." That is to say, once a coin has wear, its detail cant be brought back (unless you're a magnificent coin doctor.)
    This is why the lowball craze is so perplexing. Every coin can get down to PO-1; all it takes is time.

    The issue is that it's still not easy to get to a PO-1. @braddick offered a bounty for one and no one took him up on it. So, in theory, it's easy, but in reality, it's much more difficult than one might think.

  • DCWDCW Posts: 3,293 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Zoins said:

    @DCW said:
    Well, you cant go in "reverse." That is to say, once a coin has wear, its detail cant be brought back (unless you're a magnificent coin doctor.)
    This is why the lowball craze is so perplexing. Every coin can get down to PO-1; all it takes is time.

    The issue is that it's still not easy to get to a PO-1. @braddick offered a bounty for one and no one took him up on it. So, in theory, it's easy, but in reality, it's much more difficult than one might think.

    What is this bounty of which you speak? I have a rock tumbler, and lots of free time! >:)

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 16,563 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 10, 2018 12:32PM

    @DCW said:

    @Zoins said:

    @DCW said:
    Well, you cant go in "reverse." That is to say, once a coin has wear, its detail cant be brought back (unless you're a magnificent coin doctor.)
    This is why the lowball craze is so perplexing. Every coin can get down to PO-1; all it takes is time.

    The issue is that it's still not easy to get to a PO-1. @braddick offered a bounty for one and no one took him up on it. So, in theory, it's easy, but in reality, it's much more difficult than one might think.

    What is this bounty of which you speak? I have a rock tumbler, and lots of free time! >:)

    I can't find the original thread, but Pat offered $1,000 for a specific type coin over 14 years ago. There's a reference to it in this 14 year old thread:

    https://forums.collectors.com/discussion/306394/heres-a-po01-for-you-braddick

    Here are other bounties from @Colorfulcoins:

    https://forums.collectors.com/discussion/341211/watch-out-braddick-paying-1000-reward-for-moderns

    For all the talk suggesting creating a PO-01 is easy, I've never seen someone claim to have done it. If you could win Pat's bounty, that would be great!

  • BaleyBaley Posts: 20,314 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is why Net Grading is so misunderstood and maligned.

    I tend to think of grading (i.e. Quality, Value, Pricing) as occurring along a spectrum, generally from 1-70, but also a third and fourth dimensions of ethereal color and/or rarity.

    Yes, I'd "rather" have a beautiful EF-detail coin than an ugly AU-detail coin. But it's more, I'd only buy the ugly cleaned (but MA) AU "as a VF" than increasing the EF because it's pretty.

    Same with damaged rare coins, an otherwise original and Fine draped bust quarter with a little, toned over, "test mark" type scratch, I'd buy as a VG. Same coin, a little more detail, F15, but lightly cleaned all over "long ago", might be, imho (and to my wallet) only a Good, others may like it as a Fine, that's their prerogative.

    To me, coin grading is a Gestalt, a wholeness, as each coin is different. But it's essentially what PCGS and CAC is doing, saying -and, crucially, backing with actual money- "we'd buy this as a..."

    Liberty: Parent of Science & Industry

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 16,563 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 10, 2018 10:06PM

    @Baley said:
    This is why Net Grading is so misunderstood and maligned.

    This is a good point. Grading isn't done on condition and wear alone. The major TPGs all use net grading and market grading so it may only appear that value is based on grade, but other factors in addition to wear have been taken into account in assigning the grade.

  • @scubafuel - Thought of this thread when I stumbled across this anomaly (!) today:

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