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PCGS Grading question: Haymarking/flecking

I have a question in connection with flecking/haymarking which is seen on British coins from the reign of James II through George I. What are your experiences with grades? I seriously doubt that PCGS or NGC would BB these as the issue resulted from production/handling. How significant does the grade get effected in the eyes of TPG?

While I have my share of coins from this era, this remains a very challenging question which seems appropriate to discuss. Any thoughts or experiences?

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Comments

  • ajaanajaan Posts: 17,030 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I had a coin with haymarking BBed by PCGS. I was pissed.

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    Don
  • coinkatcoinkat Posts: 22,671 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Ajaan:

    Details please...

    I have a W&M 1/2 Crown and a Anne Crown that have flecking. Both are very decent coins. I think they should easily be slabbed, however, I just wonder what others have experienced

    Experience the World through Numismatics...it's more than you can imagine.

  • ajaanajaan Posts: 17,030 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I had a nice 17th C 6p, don't remember the date now, that had haymarking and the coin was return BBed for 'Altered Surfaces' which, I believe, stands for 'we have no idea'.

    DPOTD-3
    'Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery'

    CU #3245 B.N.A. #428


    Don
  • JCMhoustonJCMhouston Posts: 5,306 ✭✭✭
    I've got a couple of shillings with light haymarking slabbed with no problems, I think it has to do with how bad it looks to them. My Will. III is a good example with very light haymarking, and it looks to me they downgraded it by a point or two, it made 62 when I was expecting a 63-64 based on other examples I have seen. I think NGC probably accepts more haymarking, although in some of last seasons auctions I saw some PCGS Geo. I examples with considerable haymarking that graded 63 and 64.
  • bidaskbidask Posts: 13,818 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 4, 2023 11:23AM

    I understand haymarking is a result of the alloy (like tin) .

    This an important question especially related to raw coins that should or shouldn’t be submitted for grading because of haymarking /flecking .

    Any updates on this question….as have PCGS or NGC changed there grading views on this topic at all since 2008?

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  • John ConduittJohn Conduitt Posts: 346 ✭✭✭
    edited March 4, 2023 12:50PM

    To reduce the grade or not even grade a coin because of haymarking shows either the TPGs are worrying ignorant (surely not), or by trying to cover everything a grade means nothing.

  • robp2robp2 Posts: 141 ✭✭✭✭

    I can't see a reason for rejecting any coin on account of haymarking as it is due to metal mixing, or in this case, not. It's a natural result of the minting process.

    Silver melts at 961C, Gold at 1064 and Copper at 1085. When your pot is full of molten silver from say ore mined silver as opposed to hallmarked plate, then some copper needs to be added to reduce the fineness of the silver cake which would typically be over 99% pure. Unless the temperature of the pot is over the melting point of copper, the latter will remain in solid form. Assuming the copper was divided into small shavings or dust to provide the greatest surface area and speed up the melting process, it then becomes a question of operating temperature and the time allowed for the copper to melt. Too hasty and either of these would result in flecks of pure copper suspended within the silver, which would then subsequently oxidise to produce the black marks from copper oxide seen. Pressure to increase the rate of production would likely lead to corners being cut and a rule of thumb - 'that'll do', applied.

    It was clearly a regular occurrence as flans were treated with arsenic to eliminate any visible copper as part of the normal minting procedure. In fact I have a perfectly legitimate Civil War halfcrown from Bristol with silver surfaces, but within the edge flaws is clearly mostly copper and presumably came from the bottom of the pot, as a certain weight of silver would need to produce a fixed number (or value) of coins.

    It is rare for gold to be haymarked, and this I would ascribe to the small difference in melting points of the two metals. With the pot likely to be above the melting point of copper, at that point it boils down to the amount of time allowed for the copper to melt.

    If TPGs are going to reject haymarked coins, then in the interest of consistency, they must also reject all off-centre, out of collar, blocked dies or clipped flan errors, as they are also examples of where the minting process wasn't perfect.

  • John ConduittJohn Conduitt Posts: 346 ✭✭✭

    Their websites give a clue as to whether they grade haymarked coins or not https://www.pcgs.com/valueview/anne-1702-1714/1708-shil-s-3610-3rd-bust/4148?sn=616058&h=pop

  • ClioClio Posts: 480 ✭✭✭✭✭

    PCGS regularly grades coins with haymarkings with no problems. I suspect if a coin came back details with haymarking it wasn't the haymarking, it was another issue with the piece. I have had previously graded examples as well as self submitted pieces with it in holders.

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  • MrEurekaMrEureka Posts: 23,833 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @John Conduitt said:
    To reduce the grade or not even grade a coin because of haymarking shows either the TPGs are worrying ignorant (surely not), or by trying to cover everything a grade means nothing.

    To a large extent, they really are "trying to cover everything", and that's not necessarily a bad thing. True, if a TPG knocks the grade down a bit for haymarking or any other sort of "negative eye appeal" issues, the grade alone won't directly tell you what the TPG thinks of the coin's state of preservation, but it will tell you overall how "nice" they think the coin is. As long as you understand how the system works, you can deal with it.

    FWIW, I don't have a problem with this approach to grading. However, if the graders don't know how typical haymarking (or some other flaw) is for a given issue, which happens sometimes, they are more likely to overcompensate, and that can be a problem.

    Andy Lustig

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  • coinkatcoinkat Posts: 22,671 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This graded within the last year- this is a reasonable example

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