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Gold - grading question

As I work on improving my gold type set, I am trying to understand grading better. The following three coins were all on a dealers website at one time, so the pics are the same quality. One of the coins was a 64, one a 63 and one a 64 CAC (#3). When I look at the coins, #3 seems to have the worst strike but maybe the best luster? By looking at the hair and eagle feathers, coin three seems to me to have the weakest strike, but I am not sure if luster sometimes softens the view of the strike.

Coin one seems to have a really good strike, but at the top of the eagle feathers(shoulder) it seems either some wear or lack of luster. Coin two seems second best on both strike and luster, but does have some marks in front of chin which were noted. Coin three, especially obverse seems to have a soft strike. Perhaps it’s the year?

Any observations or explanations on how luster and strike intermix to get a grade would be appreciated. It’s unclear to me why coin 3 has the highest grade and CAC.



  • skier07skier07 Posts: 3,522 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 9, 2020 9:46AM

    Coin 3 looks like the most attractive coin to me. I think it has the nicest overall look and I like the color and luster.

  • Batman23Batman23 Posts: 4,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I like th3 look of obverse 3 the best. I am torn on whether I like the reverse of coin 1 or 3 the best. Overall, I like coin 3.

  • ThreeCentSilverFLThreeCentSilverFL Posts: 1,655 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'd take the 1893 out of the 3.

  • Cougar1978Cougar1978 Posts: 7,185 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 9, 2020 11:27AM

    Buy slabbed material sight seen at a show and simply cherry-pick for best value.

    You need able to discern between A and B coins. Sometimes a MS63 A coin the better deal than some B MS64 overpriced coin. Do not buy this material unless you know how grade / look at coins.

    Coins & Currency both US and World
  • SmudgeSmudge Posts: 9,051 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Agree with @MFeld , different dates, different strikes. On some Walkers you are unlikely to find a thumb on a 68.

  • Batman23Batman23 Posts: 4,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Now there are numbers on the photos. Or did I somehow miss those the first time :s
    I had the line up wrong when I first viewed them... judging from the photos I think I like the 1905 best followed by the 1893.

  • scotty4449scotty4449 Posts: 662 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I have understood that strike doesn't play a very big role in overall grade until you get to the higher grades...66, 67, 68...

  • SimpleCollectorSimpleCollector Posts: 536 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The numbers in lower left corner match obverse and reverse, and were there on the original post.

    Thanks for the comments so far. I have taken away so far that I shouldn’t compare dissimilar years, which I know, but thought these pics were good to ask my question.

    It also seems like marks(hits) and luster are the bigger driver of grade for gold in the examples I am looking at.

    I am still trying to understand strike.

    I was initially drawn to coin 3, and likely will add it to my set. The dealer is thought of highly and I have bought coins from them before, the coin has a green been, and I understand the price vs comparable coins. I will admit, I am not a good grader...eye appeal yes, but technical grading no...but I am trying to learn.

    The only thing that initially held me back on coin 3 was what appeared to be softness in the strike on the obverse. As cougar said, I am trying to learn how to discern an A coin from a B coin.

    Thanks again

  • MFeldMFeld Posts: 11,048 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @scotty4449 said:
    Correct me if I am wrong, but I have understood that strike doesn't play a very big role in overall grade until you get to the higher grades...66, 67, 68...

    Perhaps not with respect to just those specific grades, but in general, that’s my impression. And even at the upper grades, I don’t think strike typically plays a major role. I believe that many collectors place more emphasis on strike than the major grading companies do.

    Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.

  • PedzolaPedzola Posts: 987 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I like the 1907. I'm a little curious about the color - I have a 1901 $2.5 in 65 cac that looks similar - it is more yellow than anything else in my type set. Wonder if color is a factor for the bean.

  • mark_dakmark_dak Posts: 998 ✭✭✭✭✭

    As others have mentioned, strike can vary from date to date and mint to mint. This is especially true on older dates and smaller branch mints. Even color is noticeable by mint in many instances.

    That being said, there's no such thing as a bad piece of American classic gold!

  • 291fifth291fifth Posts: 23,709 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Set your own conservative standards and stick to them. Grading is nothing more than opinion.

    If you want well struck coins then only consider well struck coins regardless of what holders or stickers indicate.

    All glory is fleeting.
  • ashelandasheland Posts: 22,158 ✭✭✭✭✭

    They're all not too shabby.. >:)

  • SimpleCollectorSimpleCollector Posts: 536 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Pedzola , thanks for posting your coin. It seems to have a very similar obverse to the coin #3 in the original post, and also a similar holder. I appreciate the insight and thoughts that was shared by everyone. I am hoping to improve my knowledge of gold grading, as I continue down this path.

    The 1907 had the look, price, and holder that I was hoping to get as an upgrade for my type set. It is now en route. Here is the final dealer pic.

  • PedzolaPedzola Posts: 987 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice coin, congrats.

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