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For your collection would you prefer an original vf or an au with a light cleaning or small defect?

Some bust quarter varieties are tough in upper grades so I will pick up a lightly cleaned piece or one with a minor issue on occasion. Just was wondering what your thoughts would be.



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    CrustyCrusty Posts: 1,078 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Original VF

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    DisneyFanDisneyFan Posts: 1,709 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's harder to put a value on a problem coin especially when it's time to sell it.

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    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would seek the AU, but with no defects..... I do not like obvious defects on coins...Cheers, RickO

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    lkeneficlkenefic Posts: 7,829 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great Question... especially for those of us trying to complete sets with "stoppers". Usually, I'll defer to the problem-free VF coin. It's largely going to come down to 1- what is the nature of the damage on the AU coin, and 2- how heavy of a discount is being offered. For instance, I might purchase a details AU coin if the problem is (for example) a scratch on a less important feature of the coin (on the reverse) or the coin might have been lightly cleaned long ago and has since re-toned nicely. Bear in mind that I'd not likely bid those pieces up to VF money...

    This is a constant balancing act for those that collect Early Copper...

    Here is the Bust Quarter from my 7070 Type Set... it was cracked from a PCGS XF-40 holder. I think it was probably cleaned long ago but has since re-toned. I also liked the huge die crack...

    Collecting: Dansco 7070; Middle Date Large Cents (VF-AU); Box of 20;

    Successful BST transactions with: SilverEagles92; Ahrensdad; Smitty; GregHansen; Lablade; Mercury10c; copperflopper; whatsup; KISHU1; scrapman1077, crispy, canadanz, smallchange, robkool, Mission16, ranshdow, ibzman350, Fallguy, Collectorcoins, SurfinxHI, jwitten, Walkerguy21D, dsessom.
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    telephoto1telephoto1 Posts: 4,746 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 6, 2023 9:37AM

    Awesome die crack. A lot of early bust and flowing material has been cleaned at some point so I tend to give it a little more grace than I would on something more recent.
    As to the OP question... I'd take the problem free piece every time unless the issue was VERY small. I look at it this way: If I have to talk myself into overlooking what I perceive as a significant issue, then I'm also going to need to explain said issue if/when I go to try to sell it to someone else and try to talk THEM into overlooking it as well. Too much hassle.

    RIP Mom- 1932-2012
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    crazyhounddogcrazyhounddog Posts: 13,815 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I don’t like damaged coins so I’m in the VF crowd in all cases.

    The bitterness of "Poor Quality" is remembered long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.
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    streeterstreeter Posts: 4,312 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A problem coin will always be a problem coin.

    Have a nice day
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    TPRCTPRC Posts: 3,739 ✭✭✭✭✭

    VF-all day long.


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    MaywoodMaywood Posts: 1,897 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Many times a VF graded coin, especially older types, will have problems which are over looked and factored into the grade. At the same time, an AU coin may have little negative affects of an old cleaning with that fact also considered when being graded. So long as we aren't talking about glaring problems and the coins are attractive I'd take the AU. I tend not to like circulated coins.

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    seatedlib3991seatedlib3991 Posts: 514 ✭✭✭✭

    I have always been a straight VF guy, but lately have begun to doubt that rule should be so hard and fast. Especially when I cannot identify or spot what got the coin tagged as cleaned.

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    Cougar1978Cougar1978 Posts: 7,637 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 6, 2023 11:53AM

    Whichever one could markup highest vs cost.

    Probably most have all been cleaned by this point in time. Question - how obvious is it?

    So Cali Area - Coins & Currency
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    DDRDDR Posts: 1,561 ✭✭✭✭✭

    In most cases, VF.

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    Dave99BDave99B Posts: 8,360 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Original VF all day long.


    Always looking for original, better date VF20-VF35 Barber quarters and halves, and a quality beer.
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    AtcarrollAtcarroll Posts: 343 ✭✭✭

    Original VF with a caveat, if a cleaned AU (or any grade, really) isn't hairlined from an abrasive cleaning and is just unnaturally bright and clean I'll consider it. If I think it'll look more natural after it sits out and tones for a couple years it can have a place in my collection.

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    spyglassdesignspyglassdesign Posts: 1,511 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Depends on how obvious the defect is. If it still looks original in hand (ie not under the microscope) I'd consider the higher rated one.

    It really depends on the coin. There are so many variables to consider... Luster, originality, surface condition, wear etc. A very lightly cleaned (ie not obvious in hand) trade dollar in au can look a lot more interesting than a VF... And the reverse can be true too.

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    JimnightJimnight Posts: 10,818 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Original in VF.

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    coastaljerseyguycoastaljerseyguy Posts: 1,249 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Although generally would pick the original coin, depends on the date and severity of the problem. Some dates jump significantly above XF. I would rather have an AU Morgan 1896 - O or 84 - S with a small issue then a VF which are not priced much differently then any circulated Morgan widget.

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    lilolmelilolme Posts: 2,462 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I am wondering how much differently people think when thinking of a 'lightly cleaned' classic (in the OP case Bust) coin. I am guessing the thinking could vary from a mostly white coin with a few whispy lines to a coin without the lines but a little lighter colored to a coin with nice toning but perhaps the center is a little light (but not white) for a 200 year old coin. Or something different from these. I would need to see the coin as I believe many bust halves have been 'lightly cleaned' or dipped in the past but look good now. Others have that lightly cleaned look.

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=2YNufnS_kf4 - Mama I'm coming home ...................................................................................................................................................................... RLJ 1958 - 2023

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    johnny9434johnny9434 Posts: 27,512 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Vf grade, I'm really not into coins with problems, fwiw

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    coinbufcoinbuf Posts: 10,768 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Most likely the VF, but it will depend on the extent of the damage/cleaning and how rare the coin is. In my case this is not really a factor as Lincoln cents are not difficult to find in high grade,

    My Lincoln Registry
    My Collection of Old Holders

    Never a slave to one plastic brand will I ever be.
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    LeeBoneLeeBone Posts: 4,316 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 6, 2023 3:06PM

    Original is best IMO, take the lower grade

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    WhitWhit Posts: 316 ✭✭✭

    Keeping market values out of the assessment, my enjoyment is always higher with original, defect free coins even if they bear more wear.

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    oldabeintxoldabeintx Posts: 1,636 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've always drawn the line when it comes to Details coins - I don't buy coins that have been intentionally messed with. And, I only buy Details coins from the 18th century or earlier. So, original VF for me or save my money for a higher grade. I would add that Details AU coins often strike me as overpriced.

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    NickelMikeNickelMike Posts: 190 ✭✭✭

    Cleaned or details coins are a firm pass for me. It would have to be something pretty special for an exception.

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    OmegaraptorOmegaraptor Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Depends, but in most cases the original VF is the winner

    "You can't get just one gun." "You can't get just one tattoo." "You can't get just one 1796 Draped Bust Large Cent."

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    BryceMBryceM Posts: 11,733 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I don’t collect problem coins (at least not on purpose), so I’d go with the VF every time.

    Honestly though, it’s clear that AU is your target grade range. Maybe save up for a while and buy a coin you truly love? If that’s in-reach, it might be the best answer.

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    I’d take a vf over a cleaned coin for certain

    Just knowing a coin has been cleaned makes me crawl in my skin a little, followed by complete disregard of said coin

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    FrazFraz Posts: 1,856 ✭✭✭✭✭

    VF for me - I have enough of the clean sets now.

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    davewesendavewesen Posts: 5,853 ✭✭✭✭✭

    for me it would depend on rarity of issue

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    manlye1manlye1 Posts: 200 ✭✭✭

    I would say for the ultra rarities in the bust quarters I would choose AU with problems vs VF. Some as you know are not even known in AU with or without problems. For R4 and below orig VF all day. After completing the Draped Bust series in VF with a few F (1804 B2) (1806 B8) I'm trying to upgrade to XF-AU which might be a lifetime goal, or until one member decides to sell. In the interim high grade rarities with small problems are still very attractive and ultra rare. IMO when people state they only collect non problem coins they have not ventured into the early rarities of copper or draped bust, as some are not known straight graded, but as always collect what you like and share your passion with others..

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    No HeadlightsNo Headlights Posts: 2,039 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Original. My experience problem coins remain problem coins.

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    SPalladinoSPalladino Posts: 832 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My frame of reference on this subject is Carson City trade dollars and seated liberty dollars. I have a VF30 coin in my collection that I love, and I have an AU details cleaned coin that I love. It was a matter of what appealed to me with the coin. My 1873-CC Trade dollar is an AU details cleaned FS-301 MPD...one that I am happy to have in my collection.

    Steve Palladino
    - Ike Group member
    - DIVa (Designated Ike Varieties) Project co-lead and attributor
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    BarberianBarberian Posts: 3,045 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Original VF.
    That said, collecting and cherrying die varieties leads one to make compromises with problem coins. This "AU-details, scratched" 1855 looks a bit more attractive as an AU-details, scratched 1855/854 overdate.

    3 rim nicks away from Good
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    jesbrokenjesbroken Posts: 9,303 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That's a question that I could only answer with seeing the coins in question. I have seen many coins that would not grade but look good and some graded I wouldn't buy. Give photos as I couldn't give a straight answer to live with.

    When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest....Abraham Lincoln

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.....Mark Twain
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    BustDMsBustDMs Posts: 1,573 ✭✭✭✭✭

    While there is a place for compromised coins I would choose the problem free coin first.

    The problem coins in my collection are usually not available in undamaged condition within my budget.

    Q: When does a collector become a numismatist?

    A: The year they spend more on their library than their coin collection.

    A numismatist is judged more on the content of their library than the content of their cabinet.
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    dsessomdsessom Posts: 2,212 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Steely gray VF/XF and circ-cameo look has always caught my eye, especially with bust halves.

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    WalkerfanWalkerfan Posts: 8,974 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 8, 2023 2:15PM

    Assuming that they both straight graded; I would take the AU.

    If it was a Details/genuine AU Coin, then I would take the VF.

    “I may not believe in myself but I believe in what I’m doing” ~Jimmy Page~

    My Full Walker Registry Set (1916-1947)


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    braddickbraddick Posts: 23,115 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Classic coinage in even (slight) problem AU has about all the detail.
    I'd generally choose that over issue free VF.
    The reason also is many "problem-free" VF coins do have old cleanings or light scratches
    that have since worn to present a coin that most would call- including PCGS- VF (in a problem-free slab).


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    Walkerguy21DWalkerguy21D Posts: 11,150 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @SPalladino said:
    My frame of reference on this subject is Carson City trade dollars and seated liberty dollars. I have a VF30 coin in my collection that I love, and I have an AU details cleaned coin that I love. It was a matter of what appealed to me with the coin. My 1873-CC Trade dollar is an AU details cleaned FS-301 MPD...one that I am happy to have in my collection.

    Funny that you mention Trade dollars.
    I saw a couple of lightly hairlined high AU examples at FUN that I thought long on, that might have been nice upgrades to my Dansco album type set. But I eventually passed on both. Without magnification they looked pretty good, and perhaps only slightly “worse” than many you see in straight grade holders.

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    FlatwoodsFlatwoods Posts: 4,122 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I prefer VF over most any grade so thats my pick.

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    I want to thank all of you for the commentary . I really enjoyed the different opinions. For me I usually would take the Au just because there's faint die breaks on some varieties that are not visible on vf coins
    Thanks. Dave

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    NeophyteNumismatistNeophyteNumismatist Posts: 888 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would prefer a nice VF over a problem AU every time.

    I am a newer collector (started April 2020), and I primarily focus on U.S. Half Cents and Type Coins. Early copper is my favorite.

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    keyman64keyman64 Posts: 15,456 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Problem free whatever. I try not to deal with problems. I have enough problems in my life.

    Have you ever tried to sell a coin? Oh, it's not in a PCGS holder, Oh, there's no sticker, oh it's only a green sticker, oh, since it isn't a PCGS holder it has to be a black slab. Does it have monster toning? Collectors want EVERYTHING! They want every box checked! If you show a PCGS CAC coin, people will still pick the darn thing apart. It happens on the forums almost every day.

    Now, you are considering intentionally introducing a problem coin into your life? Ummm, just say no! Say no and run away. Quality over quantity.

    "If it's not fun, it's not worth it." - KeyMan64
    Looking for Top Pop Mercury Dime Varieties & High Grade Mercury Dime Toners. :smile:
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    DisneyFanDisneyFan Posts: 1,709 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There has been some discussion of grey areas in grading. If it has a CAC, that's all I need to know.

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