Dealer Processed Coin Images?

I feel the need to share with you an experience I recently had with an online dealer. I don't want to call out this person by name but some other members may be able to figure it out. I have noticed that many of his coins have what appears to be "processed" images to hide imperfections like marks, scratches, etc. I've noticed this through my own purchases and also by comparing images of the same coin from other sites. Below is an example for comparison.

Dealer's Images:

Stacks Images:

I believe this shows that the scratch on the chin has been processed to hide the imperfections. This is just one example but I have seen many more like this. I know this kind of activity is commonplace online and some will say "buyer beware" but there are many dealers that take pride in showing the most detail so there is an informed consumer. It's also important because this dealer proudly advertises that he is honest with "fair dealings."

Perhaps I will get fried by the forum as this dealer is a respected one. However, I just felt the need to point it out as this hobby is not cheap and I believe that consumers should be made aware that things like this happen and they need to do their due diligence, as much as possible, before making a purchase even from the most respected dealers.

Comments

  • Dave99BDave99B Posts: 5,799 ✭✭✭✭

    Interesting. I do know that some dealers ‘improve’ their images a bit, but I haven’t seen scratches hidden, as your example seems to show.

    Guess this makes a flexible return privilege even more important, when purchasing based on images alone.

    Dave

    Always looking for original, better date VF20-VF35 Barber quarters and halves, and a quality beer.
  • ErrorsOnCoinsErrorsOnCoins Posts: 8,715 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It could be the lighting. That said, scratches, nicks, etc should never be removed in photoshop.

    Adjusting color balance, levels, cropping, straightening, brightness, contrast, in photoshop is required IMO for the best photo resulting in better sales.

  • messydeskmessydesk Posts: 15,426 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's a bad picture. I would say that the bad lighting and aggressive adjustment of the contrast in post-processing hid the mark on the chin, unless you can find multiple examples from this dealer. I think Hanlon's Razor is in play here. "Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by incompetence."

  • U1chicagoU1chicago Posts: 1,115 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 8, 2018 12:30PM

    This is an odd case. I do see that the scratches appear to be washed out but the same can be said about the color. The color looks nicer in the Stacks photo and as someone that likes toning, I’d be more impressed by the Stacks photo. This might just be a bad photo setup by the seller.

    Try asking the seller if there are any hits or marks on the coin (particularly on the face). Their reply may go a long way in determining if it’s a bad photo or something more devious.

  • jafo50jafo50 Posts: 190 ✭✭✭

    I think it's more than light manipulation. The dark spot on the chin moves your eye down and away from the scratch and covers probably 90% of it. My vote is it's intentional.

    Successful BST transactions with lordmarcovan, Moldnut, erwindoc

  • BlindedByEgoBlindedByEgo Posts: 10,536 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Every dealer with an online presence with whom I have dealt has allowed me full return privileges. It seems stupid on it's face to adjust photos to hide defects.

    Maybe you need to upgrade your dealer circle?

  • skier07skier07 Posts: 913 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 8, 2018 5:28PM

    The color look over saturated to me on the dealers pictures which probably negates the scratches. That said a dark coin with color like that is extremely difficult to photograph accurately. I have a slightly toned 1857-D Half Eagle. The original auction pictures, TrueViews, and subsequent auction pictures all look like a different coin. And none of the pictures accurately portray how the coin looks in hand.

  • gtstanggtstang Posts: 1,047 ✭✭✭✭

    I recognize the photo style as Gerry Fortin's and although I've only bought one coin from @Dismeguy it definitely looked much better in hand.
    And no, I was not the one that notified dismeguy of this post.

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 6,222 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Poor photography is rampant. It's now far too easy to screw up and not realize it, or just not care --- maybe more of the latter.

  • jafo50jafo50 Posts: 190 ✭✭✭

    Poor coin photos that hide flaws always lead to a disappointed buyer. If you are not trying to take advantage of a buyer then you should invest in a decent camera and learn how to take accurate photographs. The end result will be happier clients with fewer returns.

    Successful BST transactions with lordmarcovan, Moldnut, erwindoc

  • ErrorsOnCoinsErrorsOnCoins Posts: 8,715 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 9, 2018 12:08PM

    @RogerB said:
    Poor photography is rampant. It's now far too easy to screw up and not realize it, or just not care --- maybe more of the latter.

    High-End Photography is a skill. 98% of dealers do not have this skill.

    Professional photographers use to get paid very well. Nowadays not so much because everyone now thinks that they have professional capabilities with their high end tech toys. Nothing could be farther from that perceived capability.

    I make money on the arbitrage between poor to ok coin photography and professional coin photography.

  • airplanenutairplanenut Posts: 18,794 ✭✭✭✭

    Both of those photos are poor. In particular, the top image is overexposed and lit in an odd way (probably too much from the side) such that the lustre doesn't really come alive, resulting in the rather flat appearance. While this can be done with software, it can also be done by not understanding a camera's exposure settings.

    That said, a scratch as small as the one you're pointing out is easily hidden innocuously by a slight lighting angle change. It takes a very large mark to have something that can't be hidden no matter how a coin is lit. When a coin has lots of marks, even when some are hidden by the lighting angle, others will be exposed instead. In the case where a coin has one notable mark ("notable" meaning something you'll be able to see, not that it's necessarily unsightly or significant to the grade), the lighting may be such that it can't be seen. That can be due to the desire to hide it, or it can just be a function of quickly setting up the lighting and not realizing the mark has been hidden.

    In the example you've given, I'd much more likely say that the images are just not good than the seller is being nefarious.

    JK Coin Photography - eBay Consignments | High Quality Photos | LOW Prices | 20% of Consignment Proceeds Go to Pancreatic Cancer Research
  • bigjpstbigjpst Posts: 2,383 ✭✭✭✭

    I'm not sure what the OP is complaining about. Obviously JA has approved the coin so there is no need to even look at the photos...... >:)

  • ErrorsOnCoinsErrorsOnCoins Posts: 8,715 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 9, 2018 1:09PM
  • spacehaydukespacehayduke Posts: 2,073 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 9, 2018 1:24PM

    I think you are wrong. I think this dealer is using lighting that ends up not bringing out that nick, I don't like the lighting he uses personally and I would not use it but I know this dealer and I personally know he would never hide anything like this intentionally. He also has a return policy so one can view in hand and send it back if you don't like it. I would caution anyone bringing up such an accusation like this.........

    SH


    Successful transactions with - Boosibri, lkeigwin, TomB, CRO, EagleEye, ianrussell (@GC), ThePennyLady, Broadstruck, coinsarefun, Type2, jom, ProfLiz, UltraHighRelief, Driggs, Barndog, EXOJUNKIE, WDP, RYK, tdiaz1979, ldhair

    Hard Times Everyman Bust Quarters

    Hard Times Everyman Barber Quarters
  • slider23slider23 Posts: 189 ✭✭✭
    edited December 9, 2018 1:43PM

    I purchase coins from GFRC. There is nothing deceitful with inhanced or doctored images. The photos are serviceable when compared to most online coins being sold. When looking at the photos, the two scratches are noticeable. Gerry also provides an excellent description of each coin and often will point out issues. I recommend you return the coin as there will be a collector who will appreciate the lovely example graded by PCGS and stickered by CAC.

  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 26,601 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Using the first photo only, I would not even consider buying that coin. The colors are totally unnatural to my eye, especially the green around the stars on the right and to a lesser extent on the left side.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible.
  • gonzergonzer Posts: 2,261 ✭✭✭

    Lady Liberty's lips appear drastically different

  • In re-reading my first post I may have gone a little too far and for that I apologize. I didn't name the dealer and I just wanted to point out that processed images can also hide imperfections. I just wanted to point out that this happens and I've seen it before. Here is another example except on the rim. Again the dealer's site does not indicate any blemishes on this coin. Perhaps it is the photography but you just have to be careful.

    Dealer's website:

    TrueView:

  • ElmhurstElmhurst Posts: 437 ✭✭✭

    I bought one coin from a major online dealer based on their "juiced" photo. Never bought another thing from them. This was not Gerry Fortin. He does his best to provide accurate photos, and will disclose if certain aspects can't captured in the photo.

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 6,222 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I don't care who, or which set of initials approves a coin or adds their sticker.... Does the potential buyer approve of the coin excluding all packaging and photos? That is what is important and what once sustained a vibrant hobby.

  • ColonialcoinColonialcoin Posts: 382 ✭✭✭

    I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have received a coin from a site and it is better looking than the image. Everyone can not replicate the exact image when they photograph a coin. Same thing with eye appeal. I may like a coin and someone else may not. Or vice versa. Who cares? What’s the worse thing that can happen? Return the coin. No harm, no foul. Move on to the next coin. It’s amazing to me how some veteran collectors always need their hands held when buying a coin. OMG!

  • topstuftopstuf Posts: 11,394 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RogerB said:
    I don't care who, or which set of initials approves a coin or adds their sticker.... Does the potential buyer approve of the coin excluding all packaging and photos? That is what is important and what once sustained a vibrant hobby.

    And now it's gone. :'(

  • CuKevinCuKevin Posts: 1,304 ✭✭✭

    The dealer’s images seem to be lower resolution than the other images provided. Given the ancient setup described, I’m not surprised.

    Choice Numismatics www.ChoiceCoin.com

    CN eBay

    All of my collection is in a safe deposit box!
  • rickoricko Posts: 62,302 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good photography, bad photography, lighting, angles, picture manipulation.... Actually, pictures of coins are always tricky to judge... whether intentionally misleading or just an amateur trying to show a coin....and everything in between. The coin in hand is the only true evaluation method. Cheers, RickO

  • jwittenjwitten Posts: 2,906 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've been accused of doing this to my pictures/coins before too by a few ebay bidders. Lighting is the culprit. No matter which angle I use, the coin will look slightly different. If one mark is hidden by a certain light angle, another will be hidden using a different. You take the best pictures you can, and offer a good return policy. Not much else you can do as a seller.

  • ARCOARCO Posts: 3,389 ✭✭✭✭

    The best part of collecting is getting coin in hand and having expectations totally blown away (coin is much better in person than scan). On the flip side, huge disappointment is the reverse.

  • cnncoinscnncoins Posts: 218 ✭✭✭

    I know that Gerry would never do anything intentionally to mislead a buyer. Imaging coins is an art (like grading). We try to image as accurately as possible too, however all coins are different, and some are truly difficult to get an accurate image. Personally, my greatest satisfaction is when a customer contacts us after a sale and says, "great coin, it looks EXACTLY like your image!"

  • airplanenutairplanenut Posts: 18,794 ✭✭✭✭

    @chesterb said:
    In re-reading my first post I may have gone a little too far and for that I apologize. I didn't name the dealer and I just wanted to point out that processed images can also hide imperfections. I just wanted to point out that this happens and I've seen it before. Here is another example except on the rim. Again the dealer's site does not indicate any blemishes on this coin. Perhaps it is the photography but you just have to be careful.

    Dealer's website:

    TrueView:

    Two points:

    1- Calling the dealer's photos "processed" is disingenuous. Using different lighting and generally not being good at photography is not anywhere near the same as manipulating--processing, if you will--a photograph to be deceitful.

    2- I can show you tons of pairs of photos taken by different photographers (or even the same one) that will show different elements, good or bad, a coin has. And there are plenty of times where TrueView can hide marks or make the coin look different depending on how you look at the coin. That's not to say TV isn't excellent--Phil's among the very best out there--but a photograph is a single view with a fixed light source of a reflective 3-D object... no photograph is perfect, and depending on the coin, different lighting conditions will produce images that can be significantly different.

    JK Coin Photography - eBay Consignments | High Quality Photos | LOW Prices | 20% of Consignment Proceeds Go to Pancreatic Cancer Research
  • kazkaz Posts: 6,592 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I agree with jeremy. even a slight change in lighting angle can accentuate or suppress surface marks. For example, here is the rev of a type 2 gold dollar I have. You have to rotate it just so to see the very light diagonal surface mark on the rev, but my lighting setup makes it look like Death Valley:

  • @slider23 said:
    I purchase coins from GFRC. There is nothing deceitful with inhanced or doctored images. The photos are serviceable when compared to most online coins being sold. When looking at the photos, the two scratches are noticeable. Gerry also provides an excellent description of each coin and often will point out issues. I recommend you return the coin as there will be a collector who will appreciate the lovely example graded by PCGS and stickered by CAC.

    I too have purchased many coins from GFRC. Alleging anything nefarious couldn't be further from the truth. Descriptions include any warranted marks, and the photography presents the coins many times in a different but similarly useful manner as any True View from our hosts.

    Given the return privileges, I hardly see any reason to take issue. I'm sure that any given coin, especially one with deep toning, would appear differently between even the best photographers, and perhaps, as many have suggested here, differently by the same photographer given different lighting angles, etc.

    When I've had any question I've either asked for a different photo, or waited to see a coin in person at a show.

    Compared to other dealers I've seen, Gerry is among the most forthright and with decent photographs of his inventory.

    To each their own, I guess.

    GSAs, OBW rolls, Seated, Walkers. Anything old and Colorado-focused, CO nationals.



    Gonna get me a $50 Octagonal someday. Some. Day.
  • RABRAB Posts: 33 ✭✭

    Lighting, lighting, lighting! If there's one thing I've learned trying to photograph my own coins, it's that lighting can have a huge impact on just about every aspect of a coin - surfaces, marks, hairlines, color, luster, etc. I've also learned that trying to capture what a coin looks like in hand (for me, at least), in some cases requires more than one picture (i.e. more than one type/angle of lighting). I keep this in mind when looking at coin photos online - whether on a dealer's site or auction house. Everyone has different techniques, equipment and lighting and, while no substitute for viewing a coin in hand, an adequate return policy usually provides me all the comfort I need to take a chance on photos of a coin I think I'll like if it's being sold by a respected dealer!

  • fiftysevenerfiftysevener Posts: 228 ✭✭✭

    I'm surprised nobody has asked the grade on the holder. Dealer just sells the coin. PCGS grades it and thus determines marketability.

Sign In or Register to comment.