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Do we need a new name for coins with no wear ... or no name at all, just a number?

291fifth291fifth Posts: 23,942 ✭✭✭✭✭

The term Uncirculated was used for many years before the advent of Mint State. Unfortunately, neither term really seems to have any real meaning anymore.

Uncirculated was never an accurate term since it implies that the coin never saw any actual use. In fact, they were released into the circulation stream but may have never actually seen any use (think bags and rolls).

Mint State was supposed to designate coins with no wear ... but usage has evolved to allow wear on many pieces with Mint State grades.

Should the grade names be dropped entirely in favor of pure numerical definitions? The definitions would include statements regarding allowable wear.

Or ...

Would you like to suggest a new designation ?

Or ...

Just leave things as they are?

All glory is fleeting.

Comments

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    crazyhounddogcrazyhounddog Posts: 13,815 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My mint state coins or MS have zero wear. Not exactly sure what you mean.
    I think the term BU is a joke anymore.

    The bitterness of "Poor Quality" is remembered long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.
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    MrEurekaMrEureka Posts: 23,945 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think we should let things be until machine grading comes to town. Then we introduce the new terminology and scale and hit the reset button. Give it 10-15 years.

    Andy Lustig

    Doggedly collecting coins of the Central American Republic.

    Visit the Society of US Pattern Collectors at USPatterns.com.
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    BAJJERFANBAJJERFAN Posts: 30,988 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @crazyhounddog said:
    My mint state coins or MS have zero wear. Not exactly sure what you mean.
    I think the term BU is a joke anymore.

    BU is Brilliant Unworn!

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    Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,452 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Keep Mint State. No need to change it as many coins graded MS in a particular series are actually MS. On one hand, Morgan dollars. On the other hand, a majority of coins that are graded MS in some series or some alloys ARE NOT!

    The proposal of using AU-65 as a grade is starting to make a lot of sense to me. Then we can all grade the coin for what it is and price it for what it is worth. I'll guarantee if you put a gun up to the head of the five top graders in the country they will all know the difference between a truly MS coin and one that is just "commercially" graded that way! :)

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    koynekwestkoynekwest Posts: 10,048 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think a simple number would suffice. Most collectors would understand the meaning of 04, 15, 25, 45, 62 etc.

    I do agree with insider2 about Mint state stuff. There's no excuse for a professional grader to call a coin with any wear whatsoever "Mint state." I've seen too many 61 and 62 graded coins that had more than just a little wear on them.

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    Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,452 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @koynekwest said: "I do agree with insider2 about Mint state stuff. There's no excuse for a professional grader to call a coin with any wear whatsoever "Mint state." I've seen too many 61 and 62 graded coins that had more than just a little wear on them."

    You, me, and most here know it is all about "market grading" and we all either accept it as is or live with it! Problem with commercial grading - it is too subjective and changes.

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    JimnightJimnight Posts: 10,818 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2, 2017 5:10PM

    .

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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MrEureka said:
    I think we should let things be until machine grading comes to town. Then we introduce the new terminology and scale and hit the reset button. Give it 10-15 years.

    A reset won't make any difference unless and until collectors stop tolerating shifts in standards and amorphous grading standards. A standardless standard isn't really a standard at all. Computer grading will not alleviate the problem as some pieces will always be "special." Only those at the top that submit thousands of coins a month and can keep up with the latest grading "trends" will benefit as will the grading services. All of the collectors and investors end up with crumbs, and many of the latter were told that coins were a good investment with rigid, consistent standards.

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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Insider2 said:
    Keep Mint State. No need to change it as many coins graded MS in a particular series are actually MS. On one hand, Morgan dollars. On the other hand, a majority of coins that are graded MS in some series or some alloys ARE NOT!

    The proposal of using AU-65 as a grade is starting to make a lot of sense to me. Then we can all grade the coin for what it is and price it for what it is worth. I'll guarantee if you put a gun up to the head of the five top graders in the country they will all know the difference between a truly MS coin and one that is just "commercially" graded that way! :)

    This sounds confusing to me. Which is worth more: an AU65 or a MS65? Will we start having XF50, XF53, XF55, and XF58 grades too?

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    lkeigwinlkeigwin Posts: 16,887 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What percentage of the newer Mint coins in your pocket change...stuff circulating daily...would grade uncirculated?
    Lance.

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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @lkeigwin said:
    What percentage of the newer Mint coins in your pocket change...stuff circulating daily...would grade uncirculated?
    Lance.

    How many of the "MS" graded ones in your hypothetical would have high point wear?

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    lkeigwinlkeigwin Posts: 16,887 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @lkeigwin said:
    Few.
    Lance.

    You're making the same argument that TDN has made, and I think you both miss the point. Coin graders do not (with rare exceptions) know a coin's history, and they can only rely on the coin itself. Put another way, as in every field where data is quantified, coin graders are forced to rely on operational rather than theoretical definitions.

    Using the operational definition for a MS/UNC coin, the coins in your hypothetical would grade mint state as long as there was no wear or friction and the luster was unimpaired even if briefly "circulated." It does not follow logically that a coin with obvious wear or friction should grade mint state as those fall within the operational definition of an about uncirculated coin. This is the same regardless of whether the wear/friction is from rubbing against another coin or in the drawer of a collector's cabinet. The end result is the same, and there is no meaningful way to consistently identify and distinguish as to the putative source of wear/friction.

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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 30, 2017 9:55PM

    Modern grading standards in many cases have been relegated to a relative ranking of pieces rather than being graded on the basis of any meaningful criteria. This is problematic because the grades lose all meaning, and are subject to change based on the introduction of newly discovered pieces or changing market views. (At one time, dipped blast white coins were preferred. In some segments, dipped coins now trade for a discount. Will market attitudes about cabinet friction reverse?). The net result is confusion and chaos in the market, not unlike what we've seen since 2008.

    If the argument is that some AU58 coins are more eye appealing and desirable than low MS pieces, I completely agree. The coins can and many should sell for premiums, but there are plenty of coins in various grades with eye appeal that all transcend their numerical grades. Eye appeal is an important part of grading, but as the most subjective component of grading, it shouldn't be allowed to completely swallow the other components. If there needs to be a new scale to try to quantify eye appeal, then so be it. There should be no such thing as an AU65. Even if you buy into the market grading concept and accept wear for low MS grades, how does a coin with rub or wear end up with true gem unc coins?

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    BaleyBaley Posts: 22,658 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 30, 2017 10:06PM

    Just drop the words and their two letter abbreviations and simply assign a number from 1 to 70 for the overall details and surface preservation and eye appeal.

    That way an otherwise gorgeous coin with a hint of highpoint wear can grade higher than the same coin with absolutely no wear but loads of bag marks and ugly toning, wihout running afoul of the outdated "Uncirculated - Mint state" cutoff.

    I'm speaking of old, rare coins here, not common, modern coins readily available in ultra high grades.

    Liberty: Parent of Science & Industry

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    RexfordRexford Posts: 1,140 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Personally I think that all TPG grading should be based only on technical grade. Much of it seems to be based on other factors like eye appeal, luster, scarcity, etc. These other aspects can be taken into account by buyers and sellers, but should not have any effect on the numerical grade. This is the only way machine grading could work as well.

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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Baley said:
    Just drop the words and their two letter abbreviations and simply assign a number from 1 to 70 for the overall details and surface preservation and eye appeal.

    That way an otherwise gorgeous coin with a hint of highpoint wear can grade higher than the same coin with absolutely no wear but loads of bag marks and ugly toning, wihout running afoul of the outdated "Uncirculated - Mint state" cutoff.

    I'm speaking of old, rare coins here, not common, modern coins readily available in ultra high grades.

    Are there enough numerical intervals to accommodate your approach? Your approach might work if you limited wear/rub to being acceptable in lower mint state grades, but in another thread, it was suggested that there be a grade of AU65. I have seen AU66 thrown around for a common date bust half. At those levels true mint state pieces won't be heavily bag marked or have ugly detracting toning so what do we call true gem unc pieces? Do we call them all MS68-MS69 and call it a day? There is a decent range of quality in true gem coinage and it would seem too much to cram into 2-3 intervals. At the gem level, I would consider loss of metal to be problematic.

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    BryceMBryceM Posts: 11,733 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Whatever. The coins are what they are. How we describe them doesn't change them.

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    ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,893 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Under market grading, MS can mean something like Market Select or Market Superior :)

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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Zoins said:
    Under market grading, MS can mean something like Market Select or Market Superior :)

    We could also just substitute the "M" for a "B." >:)o:)

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    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I see frequent mention of 'standards' in this thread. There are NO standards in coin grading. There are opinions. Yes, there is also consensus of opinions....based on general (not necessarily 100%) agreement. Until we have REAL standards, this debate will continue...and words or labels will never solve the root issue. True standards are the only way bring legitimacy to grading. Notice I did not say to coin collecting....that is because the real debate is over what value a grade will bring.... Coin collecting still goes on... many collectors still buy what they like with little regard to grade or slab. Buying grades or 'the best you can afford' relates to subsequent sales of coins..... If one is not concerned about that, then the grades are meaningless. Some say, 'well don't you want to get your money back?'.....Well, don't you want your money back after enjoying a movie or a concert??? Probably not... Think about it, this is a hobby for many of us... a business for others. The business portion has sucked much of the hobby into the grading game....It doesn't really matter. Cheers, RickO

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    Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,452 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 1, 2017 11:28AM

    @cameonut2011 replied to this: "The proposal of using AU-65 as a grade is starting to make a lot of sense to me. Then we can all grade the coin for what it is and price it for what it is worth."

    He said: "This sounds confusing to me. Which is worth more: an AU65 or a MS65? Will we start having XF50, XF53, XF55, and XF58 grades too?"

    LOL, say it is not so.... Obviously, you and I want very strict grading. Therefore, in a "new" system an AU-65 is worth less than an MS-65.

    That's because the MS-65 it a true, original, coin in the same Mint State degree of preservation as when it left the coin press!

    As for XF-50, 53, 55, that would be the same. A technical XF coin (40-45+) priced as an AU. Look around, it is already being done only the nomenclature you suggest is not used. :)

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    BaleyBaley Posts: 22,658 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 1, 2017 4:13PM

    If a purpose of "Grading" the condition of a coin is to assist with valuation in terms of finding the grade in a price chart in order to help facilitate a transaction for said coin, (or at least begin negotiating) it would really help if the number on the 1-70 numberline corresponded to to the relative value of the coin in question, in comparison to the known population of the coin in all grades.

    Of course, the points deducted from 70 for tiny marks and their placement, particularly in grade-sensitve locations, versus small scratches and rim bumps, versus highpoint rub, versus very very mild wipes, versus the vagaries of toning, etc etc, vary among opinions, such that grading is an art more than a science.

    Personally i think those obsessed with the "Line" between MS and "not" are usually being a bit too literal about it.

    Liberty: Parent of Science & Industry

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    Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,452 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Baley said:
    If a purpose of "Grading" the condition of a coin is to assist with valuation in terms of finding the grade in a price chart in order to help facilitate a transaction for said coin, (or at least begin negotiating) it would really help if the number on the 1-70 numberline corresponded to to the relative value of the coin in question, in comparison to the known population of the coin in all grades.

    Of course, the points deducted from 70 for tiny marks and their placement, particularly in grade-sensitve locations, versus small scratches and rim bumps, versus highpoint rub, versus very very mild wipes, versus the vagaries of toning, etc etc, vary among opinions, such that grading is an art more than a science.

    Personally i think those obsessed with the "Line" between MS and "not" are usually being a bit too literal about it.

    Perhaps, I'm just a little dense. I think that is something Dr. Sheldon tried. Would you be so kind as to give us a modern example or two of coins graded using your idea?

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    BaleyBaley Posts: 22,658 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's already the way it's done, to the angst of many who complain about coins with clear rub slabbed as 60 and higher. Drop the letters, drop the dissonance for a lot of folks.

    Liberty: Parent of Science & Industry

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    TurboSnailTurboSnail Posts: 1,668 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 1, 2017 5:58PM

    ok...

    Name Modanna
    Reason : song lyric

    I was beat
    Incomplete
    I'd been had, I was sad and blue
    But you made me feel
    Yeah, you made me feel
    Shiny and new

    Hoo, Like a virgin~
    Touched for the very first time~

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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Baley said:
    If a purpose of "Grading" the condition of a coin is to assist with valuation in terms of finding the grade in a price chart in order to help facilitate a transaction for said coin, (or at least begin negotiating) it would really help if the number on the 1-70 numberline corresponded to to the relative value of the coin in question, in comparison to the known population of the coin in all grades.

    Of course, the points deducted from 70 for tiny marks and their placement, particularly in grade-sensitve locations, versus small scratches and rim bumps, versus highpoint rub, versus very very mild wipes, versus the vagaries of toning, etc etc, vary among opinions, such that grading is an art more than a science.

    Personally i think those obsessed with the "Line" between MS and "not" are usually being a bit too literal about it.

    Pricing is incredibly subjective and even more so than technical grading. One man's $500 Morgan toner is another man's $5k toner. One man's Barber quarter with dip residue, an ugly scratch in a prime focal area, and a huge reed mark that is worth UNC details may be another man's solid or PQ MS63 worth $700-$800 (see recent thread about ugly CACed Barber 25c). Who is right? The fact that someone is a numismatist and expert coin grader, does not necessarily mean that he is an expert appraiser either. Grading is an art, not a science to be sure; however, two knowledgeable individuals should be able to come to a consensus within at least an interval or two. Three, four, or more interval grade swings under your market grading approach are not as uncommon as you probably think.

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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    P.S. What do we do when a market's pricing structure changes for a series? For instance, when dipped white coins were "in," but now trade for a discount in some series. That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

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    Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,452 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Baley said: "...it would really help if the number on the 1-70 number line corresponded to the relative value of the coin in question, in comparison to the known population of the coin in all grades."

    Then @Baley said: "it's already the way it's done..."

    May I have an example? And who exactly knows the population of a coin in all grades? The TPGS? HA, HA, HA!

    I'll need a little over $1800 for four tires. I'm halfway there (fifty cents at a time) as I'm doing my part to help to keep the pop reports more accurate. Not everyone cares about the accuracy of the reports. Get my drift?

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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I know I probably come off as nutty and dense to some of you, but I am 100% serious. The critical assumption in your model is that relative market pricing is reducible to a few classes, generalizable, and consistent over time. In my opinion that assumption is flawed.

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    Cougar1978Cougar1978 Posts: 7,637 ✭✭✭✭✭

    No

    So Cali Area - Coins & Currency
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    RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭

    RE: "Mint State was supposed to designate coins with no wear ... but usage has evolved to allow wear on many pieces with Mint State grades."

    The same thing will happen with any "new" term. Clear, stable standards, uniformly applied will avoid future problems and can restore the intended meaning to "mint state," etc.

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    Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,452 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Technical standard for Mint State: No Trace of Wear. That includes soft GOLD alloy. Stacking or roll rub is NOT the same as Friction Wear. These coins are still MS.

    System will still not work as fewer and fewer folks living today learned to grade with strict standards and even fewer understand what true technical grading actually is and how to apply it. We can never go back UNLESS the ANA, and major TPGS decide to have a complete reset with no penalties for coins previously graded.

    Actually, most of effected coins in a more strict system will be in the AU and MS range - right where the "money" is.

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