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Should an almost uncirculated coin have luster?

Should a AU graded coin have luster? Does the age of the coin matter?


  • SapyxSapyx Posts: 1,965 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It doesn't have to have lustre - if lustre were compulsory for AU, then it would also be compulsory for MS and attaining "MS brown" ought to be impossible. Whatever luster an AU coin does have should be "broken" by the "rub" that disqualifies it from attaining MS. But as a general rule, yes, I would expect an AU coin to show some lustre.

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  • TwoKopeikiTwoKopeiki Posts: 9,504 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes, AU should have luster.

  • neildrobertsonneildrobertson Posts: 1,172 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It is possible for an MS or AU coin to not have cartwheel luster, but not the norm. At some point coins develop a thick enough patina that cartwheel luster and all luster in general fades. In that sense, age would play a factor.

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  • ashelandasheland Posts: 22,564 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Typically yes, but I have seen some Queen Anne coins certified AU that didn't show it.

  • RexfordRexford Posts: 1,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It depends how you define luster. The fields on an About Uncirculated coin are not fully worn down, which means there is always the potential for luster, but the luster can be hidden or impaired by various surface issues.

  • coinkatcoinkat Posts: 22,671 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 19, 2023 12:50PM

    i like that you are one that uses Almost Uncirculated instead of About Uncirculated.

    Luster is not as black and white as most may think. The majority place a significant weight on the reflectivity associated with luster instead of the quality of the surfaces. Luster reflectivity is created from die flow created by the strike and dies on the planchet. However, luster is not always consistent and should not be measured solely by reflectivity. This is especially true within the AU spectrum. High end lightly circulated coins that have a layer of what accumulates over time from the environment impacts the reflectivity- Upon close examination one can often see the remaining die flow lines which is a critical component for the fields to have the look for an AU grade to be possible. An AU should still have excellent fields but they just may not be reflective enough to satisfy certain collectors. Never underestimate the importance that the quality of the field surfaces has in grading at the AU and higher state of preservation. Age and quality of the mint production can be equally problematic in terms of assigning the most appropriate and reasonable grade.

    My point is that luster if measured solely by reflectivity, may not be the most compelling basis to define what makes a coin truly special within the AU spectrum.

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  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,373 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 19, 2023 3:24AM

    Short answer YES!!

    If it doesn’t, it’s no better than EF-45.

    To expand on this, when a coin is struck, the medal flows which creates contours that reflect the light in other ways than simply “shiny.” As the surfaces are worn, those contoured areas are destroyed. The last areas left are around the devices. Once those areas are gone. The coin has no claim to “nearly Uncirculated.” It is something less depending on how much design detail is remaining.

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  • NapNap Posts: 1,698 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Are we talking about ancient or medieval coins? Years in the ground can affect the metallic surfaces of a coin even if not adding wear. It’s rare to see a coin over 1000 years old with luster.

    Occasionally a hoard coin might escape with some luster, depending on how protected it is when buried.

  • Late night drunk take... this is a dumb conversation. Deep toning can bury luster.

  • PizzamanPizzaman Posts: 212 ✭✭✭

    It will have luster, although it may be muted. Trick is to differentiate whether it's been rubbed off, which would mean, cleaned. In so doing, it's all about how it reacts to the light.

  • RSPRSP Posts: 63 ✭✭

    I would not buy an "AU" coin with no luster. Keeping it simple. RSP

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