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Seasoned collector/dealer. Hardest series to grade and easiest

VetterVetter Posts: 789 ✭✭✭✭✭

Question for those that have been collecting or dealing for some time now. What series do you find the most difficult to grade and which one do you find the easiest? Let us know why.

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Comments

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 21, 2023 4:26AM

    I agree with @PerryHall.... Running a close third would be the Walking Liberty Half dollar... due to the intricate and complex design-obverse and reverse. One of the easiest to grade - IMO - is the Lincoln Wheat Cent. Cheers, RickO

  • ajaanajaan Posts: 17,109 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Most difficult- Buffalo Nickels

    Easiest - Lincoln Wheat Cents


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  • olympicsosolympicsos Posts: 694 ✭✭✭✭

    Distinguishing between a 69 and a 70 is something I'd assume is hard for moderns.

  • olympicsosolympicsos Posts: 694 ✭✭✭✭

    @ricko said:
    I agree with @PerryHall.... Running a close third would be the Walking Liberty Half dollar... due to the intricate and complex design-obverse and reverse. One of the easiest to grade - IMO - is the Lincoln Wheat Cent. Cheers, RickO

    Most Walkers aren't fully struck. Even if there's a full thumb, feather detail is weak. Only the 2016 gold centennial coins got that right.

  • olympicsosolympicsos Posts: 694 ✭✭✭✭

    I'd say Saints are one of the easier renaissance era coins to grade but there are so many AU coins in MS holders. Knee rub that wouldn't be tolerated in other series are tolerated with Saints.

  • DelawareDoonsDelawareDoons Posts: 3,241 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'll take Indian Quarter Eagles and Half Eagles, though they get considerably easier to grade in 64 and up.

    Walkers, as ricko mentioned, give me fits in that 64-67 range. It seems they come back what I expect about half the time. Worst I ever had was one that I thought was a shot 7, came back 64. Second time through grading went 66, third time, 66+. I called it a day at 66+ CAC.

    Buffs can be challenging and have a somewhat steep learning curve, but once you figure out how those 20's mintmarked dates typically look fresh off the dies (terrible!) you've fought half the battle.

    Other than those already mentioned by others, I'll pick early american copper. It can be tough to guess what kind of issues they'll accept versus what will result in a details grade. There's definitely a curve that favors straight grading the earlier issues more frequently, I'm guessing due to poorer production standards in the early days of the mint. But I haven't quite nailed down the curve just yet.

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  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,850 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DelawareDoons said:
    I'll take Indian Quarter Eagles and Half Eagles, though they get considerably easier to grade in 64 and up.

    Walkers, as ricko mentioned, give me fits in that 64-67 range. It seems they come back what I expect about half the time. Worst I ever had was one that I thought was a shot 7, came back 64. Second time through grading went 66, third time, 66+. I called it a day at 66+ CAC.

    Buffs can be challenging and have a somewhat steep learning curve, but once you figure out how those 20's mintmarked dates typically look fresh off the dies (terrible!) you've fought half the battle.

    Other than those already mentioned by others, I'll pick early american copper. It can be tough to guess what kind of issues they'll accept versus what will result in a details grade. There's definitely a curve that favors straight grading the earlier issues more frequently, I'm guessing due to poorer production standards in the early days of the mint. But I haven't quite nailed down the curve just yet.

    I agree. I'm surprised more people haven't mentioned the early period coins. They have a similar problem to the Buffs with poor strikes due to the more primitive presses. With the coppers, you also have a lot of leeway given for surface issues that aren't tolerated in later series.

  • coastaljerseyguycoastaljerseyguy Posts: 1,243 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Seasoned collector for limited collection, maybe, dealer not. Of the 3 I collect and have the full set, Morgans the easiest, then Peace $s and agree WLHs are the toughest with the weak strikes, chatter on Liberty's hip/leg area and eagle's front wing strike.

  • Walkerguy21DWalkerguy21D Posts: 11,146 ✭✭✭✭✭

    ** Other than those already mentioned by others, I'll pick early american copper. It can be tough to guess what kind of issues they'll accept versus what will result in a details grade. There's definitely a curve that favors straight grading the earlier issues more frequently, I'm guessing due to poorer production standards in the early days of the mint.**

    Part of the problem is that PCGS is very inconsistent in how they grade these and what they accept. They used to be looser than they are now, imo.

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  • lkeneficlkenefic Posts: 7,817 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The most difficult... I have to agree with Buffalo Nickels. The learning curve on Indian quarter eagles and half eagles was pretty steep but I've still not managed to figure out Buffalo Nickels yet. I still call many MS pieces as AU due to strike issues.

    I've found 3C Silvers to be pretty tough too. They're small, and pretty thin too so I dont think they come fully struck either.

    Lastly, Early Copper... they get easier in the Late Date series, but pre-1816 copper is a bit of a learning curve since planchets were not uniform and the striking process was more inconsistent.

    The easiest... I cut my teeth on grading Lincoln Cents, quickly followed by Indian Head Cents. So, I have the most experience grading those. I found Morgan Dollars pretty easy to grade too.

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  • 291fifth291fifth Posts: 23,936 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Buffalo Nickels and Standing Liberty Quarters among non-gold coins.

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  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,479 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The hardest to grade for me are Standing Liberty Quarters. I consistently under grade them.

    Buffalo nickels are hard because of the horn. I think that too much emphasis is placed upon it because sometimes it's not well struck. If the rest of the coin has the surfaces of a VF, but the horn point is not there, it's still a VF in my opinion.

    I can't see where the $2.50 and $5 Indian gold coins are that tough to grade. The hard part is finding a $5 coin that really is Mint State. A lot of the pieces that get grades of MS-63 and especially below are sliders.

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  • DollarAfterDollarDollarAfterDollar Posts: 3,214 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Easiest, Lincolns, Franklins, Mercury Dimes, toughest, Walkers, Buffalo's, Indian Cents.

    If you do what you always did, you get what you always got.
  • dsessomdsessom Posts: 2,212 ✭✭✭✭✭

    For me personally, the easiest are Barber coins; V nickels, Barber dimes, quarters and halves.

    Far and away the most difficult; Buffalo nickels. Strike quality is all over the place, and varies from year and mint mark.

  • coinbufcoinbuf Posts: 10,755 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I find Washington quarters in the middle MS grades MS63 to MS65 the hardest, Morgan dollars are the easiest by far.

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  • rec78rec78 Posts: 5,685 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have a very hard time grading walking liberty half dollars in circulated grades especially the early dates 1916-1933. vg or vf? Peace dollars are a close second.
    Morgans dollars and Wheat cents are the easiest.

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  • fathomfathom Posts: 1,513 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Agree with above list.

    Also would add Classic Head LC.
    Poor planchets, striking, some terrible looking coins are mid grade.

  • gumby1234gumby1234 Posts: 5,425 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Buffalo nickels tough
    Morgans easy

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  • nencoinnencoin Posts: 1,222 ✭✭✭✭

    @MFeld said:
    I'll go with Buffalo nickels.


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  • WalkerloverWalkerlover Posts: 697 ✭✭✭✭

    @olympicsos said:
    I'd say Saints are one of the easier renaissance era coins to grade but there are so many AU coins in MS holders. Knee rub that wouldn't be tolerated in other series are tolerated with Saints.

    @olympicsos said:
    I'd say Saints are one of the easier renaissance era coins to grade but there are so many AU coins in MS holders. Knee rub that wouldn't be tolerated in other series are tolerated with Saints.

    Is that due to stacking marks or actual wear from circulation or mishandling? I would think stacking marks up to say about MS 66 would be expected and accepted as to the nature of the heaviness of the coins hitting other coins in the rolls or bags.

  • jesbrokenjesbroken Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would imagine the most respected graders here would be the dealer/collectors who have held thousands of coins inhand, graded and raw, and not from pics.
    Buffs are hard and a couple of years ago would have been my selection, but I now think the early cents to be the hardest, especially from photos, which makes up the majority of my grading tries.
    Jim


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  • BryceMBryceM Posts: 11,729 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Morgan and Peace dollars are relatively easy. Buffs are tough, but early copper is really tough for me when it comes to grade/no-grade calls.

  • cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Early federal coinage with weak strikes are the hardest for me. I think Morgan Dollars are probably the easiest.

  • BarberianBarberian Posts: 3,039 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 22, 2023 7:03PM

    Newfoundland halves as most difficult. I don't collect nickels anymore.

    Lincoln cents and Barber halves have been the easiest to grade for me.

    3 rim nicks away from Good
  • lermishlermish Posts: 1,922 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 22, 2023 8:23PM

    .

  • BarberianBarberian Posts: 3,039 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Okee dokee. I'll delete the post.

    3 rim nicks away from Good
  • lermishlermish Posts: 1,922 ✭✭✭✭✭

    .

  • GoldFinger1969GoldFinger1969 Posts: 1,293 ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 22, 2023 10:59PM

    @olympicsos said:
    I'd say Saints are one of the easier renaissance era coins to grade but there are so many AU coins in MS holders. Knee rub that wouldn't be tolerated in other series are tolerated with Saints.

    You would think that someone would maybe recreate reproductions or modern gold coins...put 250 of them in a cavas bag.....and see what a 250-count bag moving around does to a bunch of pristine coins in terms of bag marks and rub.

    Would be a real interesting experiement that would shed light on what actually happens instead of guessing.

  • olympicsosolympicsos Posts: 694 ✭✭✭✭

    @GoldFinger1969 said:

    @olympicsos said:
    I'd say Saints are one of the easier renaissance era coins to grade but there are so many AU coins in MS holders. Knee rub that wouldn't be tolerated in other series are tolerated with Saints.

    You would think that someone would maybe recreate reproductions or modern gold coins...put 250 of them in a cavas bag.....and see what a 250-count bag moving around does to a bunch of pristine coins in terms of bag marks and rub.

    Would be a real interesting experiement that would shed light on what actually happens instead of guessing.

    Its more than that. Its when they fall off of the press. Clad coins are most resistant, that's why you still have 1960s era clad still circulating.

  • olympicsosolympicsos Posts: 694 ✭✭✭✭

    @BryceM said:
    Morgan and Peace dollars are relatively easy. Buffs are tough, but early copper is really tough for me when it comes to grade/no-grade calls.

    Some of them barely exist in MS condition.

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