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Split Grades. How are they graded by the tpg's?

Piano1Piano1 Posts: 233 ✭✭✭

:o Happy Sunday, everyone.

Nor'Easter coming here tomorrow to our little section of New England. What a treat. Power may go out so I'm posting today...plus, I enjoy being part of such a terrific group of collectors.

Below I am attaching photos of what is clearly a "split grade". As you can see, it is a bit "soft on the tail" side. (My wife tells me I'm soft in the head" side.) 🤣 Anyway, using online PCGS standards, this is a VG 8 obverse, AG 3 reverse ( at least in my opinion). OK. Whatever...what would the TPG's do with this? I'm not submitting it of course and I will probably list it on eBay.

When I was a young to middlin' (sort of) avid collector, in the 1980-early 2000's I always stayed away from split grades even if the TPG graded them. In the 60's 70-'s maybe even 80's, I recall seeing lots of this kind of thing in cardboard 2x2's labeled something like vg/ag. What is today's "lingo" for coins like this one; "weak strike", uneven wear, gunk in the press???

I'd love to see examples other collectors here on the board have.

Many thanks. Piano1


  • seatedlib3991seatedlib3991 Posts: 314 ✭✭✭

    I wish I had a definitive answer but I don't. It is my experience though, that they give the coin whatever is the lowest grades side. Case in point. I have an 1855-s Seated Half dollar. The obverse is a About Good 3. The reverse could easily grade a strong VG. Curious, I examined several other coins of the date given an About Good 3 and found many of them matched my coins split grade appearance. James

  • Piano1Piano1 Posts: 233 ✭✭✭

    Very helpful, James. Thanks for sharing your experience with your Seated Half. Perhaps your half and my quarter-dollar dates are "known" for weak strikes? I wonder what happens with the grade in THAT case. I guess this would be up to the pros to determine WHY both coins are "split grades". it's beyond my pay grade. 😄



  • Walkerguy21DWalkerguy21D Posts: 10,878 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Agree with what Bill said. Generally the obverse carries most of the weight. Morgan dollars seem to be especially susceptible to having gem reverses but baggy obverses. The overall grade from my experience is usually set by the obverse.
    Now on circ coins where strike is a consideration, I do think there is more averaging done. Take buffalo nickels….many branch mint coins have weak reverses, and thus partial horns. But the services now give them VF grades if the obverse is strong.

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  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I agree with @BillJones. His input reflects what I have seen in PCGS and NGC slabs when this type of issue is obvious. My preference, when acquiring coins, is to have the two sides roughly equal, though I have made the occasional exception. Cheers, RickO

  • logger7logger7 Posts: 7,770 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 13, 2023 11:55AM

    If the reverse is substantially better than the obverse, say MS62+/MS64 or so sometimes it may carry the day for a higher grade. Each side can be a limiting factor, I see the reverse as support for the first impression on what happened to the coin to bring it down in grade. Also if the front and back don't match on toning when it is "suspicious", it could well mean that it is an AT coin.

  • Piano1Piano1 Posts: 233 ✭✭✭

    As always, I post a question and I get a bunch of terrific and educational replies! I have a better grip on the "split grade" issue. As always, thanks!


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