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Just how much does a late die state affect a PCGS grade?

Or does it affect the grade at all? Suppose the coin is in some degree of MS, but has a number of die cracks. Would that bring the grade down? And if so, how many die cracks equal one point down?

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    PlacidPlacid Posts: 11,301 ✭✭✭
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    coppercoinscoppercoins Posts: 6,084 ✭✭✭
    Home Run Hall says:

    A die crack is not an error...it is actully a die state.

    Correction - "die state" refers to the age of a die at the time a particular coin was struck - has nothing to do with die cracks.

    A "stage marker" can be something such as a die crack, gouge, CUD, or other "fingerprint" the die receives while it is minting coins. Stages change with the markers. Hypothetical case:

    An imaginary die and it's "stages and states"

    stage A - EDS (early die state)
    stage B - small die chip - EMDS (early mid-die state)
    stage C - chip grows to small die crack - MDS (mid-die state)
    stage D - N-S die polish lines on obverse - MDS (mid-die state)
    stage E - die crack grows to cover rim to rim - LMDS (late mid-die state)
    stage F - reverse die changed - LDS (late die state)
    stage G - retained CUD - LDS (late die state)
    stage H - CUD - VLDS (very late die state)

    Die state naturally progresses with the stages, but only note the age of the die, not the particular markers. Notice how the die progresses through stages while remaining in the same die state. Although this is a hypothetical case from an imaginary die to illustrate a point, many actual dies progress in much the same manner.
    C. D. Daughtrey, NLG
    The Lincoln cent store:
    http://www.lincolncent.com

    My numismatic art work:
    http://www.cdaughtrey.com
    USAF veteran, 1986-1996 :: support our troops - the American way.
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    coppercoinscoppercoins Posts: 6,084 ✭✭✭
    Now to answer the question asked in this thread...

    Die state, the age of the die, can have an impact on grade, because in order to have lofty superlative GEM grades the details on the coin have to be complete. This is often not possible with coins that were struck with dies that make it to very late die state. Often the finer details on the die will wear to a point that they are no longer discernible, thus will render the coin technically MS64 and no higher. It works the same way as a soft strike.

    For die variety hunters and other micronumismatists die state is a VERY important part of collecting. I guarantee you that a true die variety hound would pay multiples of premium value to get examples of some dies in earlier die state simply because the details of the attributes that make the coin an anomaly wear off (or wear out) as the die ages, and the cleanest, crispest appearing die varieties through a loupe or scope are always the earliest die states possible.

    Delma K. Romines, grandfather of die varieties, conducted a study a number of years ago and published a short number of four volume photo pamphlets of his study. I have one of the fewer than three dozen copies of this study. He goes through how to identify the different die states in his study, then explains the approximate number of coins that could be minted from each different die state for each of the different denominations. The numbers differ because of metal struck and size of the design, but the percentages remain roughly the same throughout. He says that fewer than 1% of all coins minted are VEDS (very early die state), while over 60% are VLDS (very late die state) with all of EDS, EMDS, MDS, LMDS, and LDS being in between the two.

    Since I am a Lincoln cent student I paid close attention to the numbers for the zinc Lincoln die life expectancy and die state changes. From his inference through percentages and the number of expected coins per die, fewer than 5,000 coins minted with each die have a chance of being VEDS, while over 1,200,000 would fall in the VLDS category given the die lasted throughout its expected life cycle. That's a HUGE difference.

    If PCGS or any other slabbing company catches wind of the importance of such a thing, it could well make it onto their slabs, creating another level deep in the general coin market as a whole. Die state often has to do with whether there are full steps on a Jefferson, full split bands on a Mercury, or a full head on a SLQ just as much as the pressure of the strike, and should be taken into account when valuating the coins.

    And you can say you heard it first here.
    C. D. Daughtrey, NLG
    The Lincoln cent store:
    http://www.lincolncent.com

    My numismatic art work:
    http://www.cdaughtrey.com
    USAF veteran, 1986-1996 :: support our troops - the American way.
    image
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    coppercoinscoppercoins Posts: 6,084 ✭✭✭
    Hmm....I figured there would at least be some mild dialogue on this subject.
    C. D. Daughtrey, NLG
    The Lincoln cent store:
    http://www.lincolncent.com

    My numismatic art work:
    http://www.cdaughtrey.com
    USAF veteran, 1986-1996 :: support our troops - the American way.
    image
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    BarryBarry Posts: 10,100 ✭✭✭
    If they started grading die states, they would have to look at the coin for more than 8 seconds. Then you'll never get your coins back!
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    coppercoinscoppercoins Posts: 6,084 ✭✭✭
    Actually they would be able to afford to hire another entire team of graders if the idea took off. If the CDN split into die states and most of the bigger coin guides did as well, PCGS would have a monumental flood of reholders and regrades on their doorstep along with checks totalling into the millions of dollars. Six of one, half dozen of the other.
    C. D. Daughtrey, NLG
    The Lincoln cent store:
    http://www.lincolncent.com

    My numismatic art work:
    http://www.cdaughtrey.com
    USAF veteran, 1986-1996 :: support our troops - the American way.
    image
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    Thank you copper coins your explanation helped me learn so much about die stages exactly what i was looking for today!!!

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    jmski52jmski52 Posts: 22,380 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I was schooled a little bit by Tom Reynolds about die state with Large Cents, and ever since then, there are times when I just can't bring myself to buy a coin that doesn't have good detail or a mushy strike, even tho' it might be technically high grade. On the other hand, some dates all seem to have the same late die state flow lines which renders the selection process to be more and more subjective.

    I don't know if the same variables apply to Lincolns because they are a much, much more a high volume production process than Large Cents.

    Die state also comes into play with cameo proofs, in which the cameo starts to disappear as the die wears out. I don't know that the grade is affected by die state in that case.

    With just these variables, I think that incorporating die state into the grading process would become a never-ending debate about which attributes should contribute more heavily to the final grade. This, in my opinion, is where good eyeballs and some experience become most important to a collector who wants to assemble a nice set.

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