Trade dollars with chop marks-uncirculated?

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Medussa, Jun 9, 2012.

  1. Medussa

    Medussa Silver

    I have seen all the grading services grade some chopmarked trade dollars as mint state (uncirculated). Without a chopmark, there is ambiguity as to whether the coin was circulated (for a very short time), but appears that it wasn't, so it can be graded mint state. With a chopmark, it is definatively proven that the coin has circulated (afterall, it was circulated in China to get the chop). For the life of me, I cannot understand how any chopmarked trade dollar can get a grade higher than AU-58. Does anyone else follow this logic?
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  3. Lon Chaney

    Lon Chaney New Member

    AU-58 you mean?

    It does seem strange, but I suppose it could have been chopmarked, but never given out in change. Maybe.
  4. desertgem

    desertgem MODERATOR Senior Errer Collecktor Moderator

    Probably the logic is similar to the large amount of US gold pieces minted and transported in bulk to foreign banks for normal currency exchange. Such coins were brought back to the US and acquired by dealers who considered them uncirculated as they did not enter the public exchange stream. They mostly grade unc by TPG.

    Trade dollars were designed for similar reasons. They were sent in large amounts by merchants to foreign countries for trade goods, and did little but circulate from one large bulk to another. They did not generally enter into public exchange. Chinese merchants did chop mark each coin that passed through them, but generally , they weren't passed out one by one, just sacked up and moved to another merchant, so they can be basically uncirculated. Like if I were to take a roll of new cents, and put my initial on each, they would still be uncirculated. Damaged, but uncirculated.

    Jim
  5. Detecto

    Detecto VICTORIA DEI GRA BRITT REGINA FID DEF

    MS-58 is not a grade. Your thinking of AU-58. Mint state starts out at 60.

    Grading is about wear. If the coin is uncirculated, even if it was cut in half, beaten with a hammer, and painted, it's still an uncirculated coin. There has to be actual wear on the coin itself from circulation.

    Even if it's been "spent" a few times, as long as there isn't enough wear on the coin's details, it will still be a uncirculated coin.

    So in theory, if the trade dollar was taken out of a mint bag, used a couple times, and marked, as long as the details of the coin have not worn down enough, it's still an AU coin.

    NGC does not give a numerical grade to damaged coins. NGC considers chopmarks a form of damage, even though it's history. It will say "unc details".
  6. Lon Chaney

    Lon Chaney New Member

    Bet those would be body-bagged...
    But I get what you're saying.
    There's special circumstances, where "damaged" coins can be graded.
  7. medoraman

    medoraman Well-Known Member Supporter

    I agree with the OP its atrocious. How can intentional, demonstrable damage simply be ignored? I am saying this knowing if its true I probably benefit since I have some chopmarked Trade dollars, but I bought them since I thought they were interesting and for their history. I never paid more than PMD coin prices for them.

    If true, this is a real jump the shark decision on the TPG part. Its one thing if no trade dollars existed unchopped, then I could see them slabbing them so.

    Unfreaking believable.
  8. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    No more 'body bags'. Gotta give the public its' moneys worth........
  9. desertgem

    desertgem MODERATOR Senior Errer Collecktor Moderator

    I think it was rare for any TD going to China to not end up chop marked as they often thought of our coins as we now think of theirs :) cheats. Most of the Un-chopped TD probably came at the end when the US Treasury was phasing them out and sold them under par for silver content. Stories of "CFO"s in those days buying them at discount and putting them into pay envelopes rather than US regular silver dollars.
  10. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Some will probably think this is a rare occasion, (that I agree with the TPGs), it isn't, but some will think it is. I agree wholeheartedly with the coins being designated as damaged part. But I also agree with the TPG thinking that a coin with chops can be designated as MS Details. Here's why.

    It's the very same reason that we can go to the grocery store, get a coin in change from the cashier - in other words a coin that was obviously in actual circulation - then turn around and submit that coin to a TPG and have that coin graded, and graded correctly, as MS.

    As already stated, any coin even those found in actual circulation, that has no signs of wear can be correctly graded as MS. So a Trade dollar, even though it has chop marks which proves beyond a doubt that it was in actual circulation, can be correctly slabbed as MS Details - as long as there is no wear on the coin.
  11. LindeDad

    LindeDad His Walker.

    I agree with the OP. But the TPG agreed with the dealers and MS graded coins sell for more. So they went with market grading of them even with the damage the fact that they were also counterfeited made the grading of them a money venture that is totally double standard-ed. By this I mean that even if you don't agree with the grading you should still buy the certified coins for the fact the are authenticated by the grading.

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