Home U.S. Coin Forum

How do striations relate to "BU" status?

conrad99conrad99 Posts: 300 ✭✭✭
edited October 20, 2022 7:57PM in U.S. Coin Forum

Bought four French 20fr gold coins and inspected them under 10x since I want them slabbed. I've never sent coins for certification before but I really have to with small gold coins else I'll probably lose them!

Three of the four look good but one has striations every which way. Since I paid extra for the "BU" variant (next down is "XF/AU") I'm sort of miffed. But 1) I did have to use the loupe to see them and 2) I really don't know the relevant protocols. Do these marks keep it from BU status? Obviously they would prevent MS but MS seems to be a legit 'term of art' and BU is not. Thoughts? I'm anything but expert.

Tried searching for "Liberty Coin" (the dealer) but got waylaid for what should be obvious reasons. The coin looks worse than this pic.


  • pursuitoflibertypursuitofliberty Posts: 6,346 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 20, 2022 9:03PM

    Since BU is not technically a grade, but is typically meant to be Brilliant Uncirculated, this would be close. It looks to have some friction, but it might grade MS-62/3 as the luster is strong and looks intact. Based on the image, I would probably be more inclined to say AU58 (from what I can see) because the friction on the cheek may be enough to constitute wear.

    Last I checked, these are slightly over gold spot for TPG'd low MS (and AU58) coins, so in the future, unless you get a deal, you might want to buy them slabbed.

    “We are only their care-takers,” he posed, “if we take good care of them, then centuries from now they may still be here … ”

    Todd - BHNC #242
  • TomBTomB Posts: 20,266 ✭✭✭✭✭

    BU is an older term for Brilliant Uncirculated and MS is the more modern grading term for Mint State. Folks sometimes use the terms interchangeably.

    The striations you are writing about could very well be from die polish, which is mint made and both mint state and proof coins can have die polish lines. Alternatively, the coin might have slid across a hard surface or even slid during shipment in its package and acquired the lines in question.

    If the Liberty Coin you are writing about is the large bullion dealer on ebay then I can tell you that I have had many transactions with them in the past and they have always shipped strictly mint state gold when I have purchased these small, European pieces.

    My thoughts are to simply keep all four pieces raw as it is a colossal waste of money to buy these raw then have them certified.

    Thomas Bush Numismatics & Numismatic Photography

    In honor of the memory of Cpl. Michael E. Thompson

  • conrad99conrad99 Posts: 300 ✭✭✭

    Thanks guys; good information. Now that I look at some of the more offensive scratches (e.g. through LIQ of Republique) it does seem as though they may be interrupted by the letters in which case they are not post-mint damage after all.

    Liberty wants more than $100 additional for their slabbed versions. I paid less than $350 each for these, with an eye toward the spot market.

    I'd be happy enough with AU58, or anything better. Just don't particularly want to pay the fees and end up with Details. OTOH even Details is still certified which should help with eventual resale.

    These are my first foreign gold, well I mean non Anglo-American. I do have some sovereigns. Hope I haven't lost them. I could stand to be a bit better organized :p

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Submitting them for slabbing will add expense.... Not sure of the market on these gold coins. You could self slab if you just want preservation. Cheers, RickO

  • airplanenutairplanenut Posts: 21,756 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I agree with what @TomB wrote. I'd go further and say those striations are definitely die polish, at least the ones I see by LIQ. They stop right at the letters and then continue on the other side. That can be done be polishing the die, but it can't be done directly to a coin. The former is mint-made and not damage, the latter would be damage. I think the coin is fine. I've also had good experiences with Liberty Coin, and if you bought this around spot, unless it's an uber gem, there's no money to be made grading it.

    As for grades in general, the named grades generally correspond to:
    BU/Unc: 60 (or generic uncirculated)
    Choice Unc: 63
    Gem Unc: 65
    Superb Gem Unc: 67

    Nothing I see in the photo would keep that coin from being uncirculated--I think you got exactly what was described.

    JK Coin Photography - eBay Consignments | High Quality Photos | LOW Prices | 20% of Consignment Proceeds Go to Pancreatic Cancer Research

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file