Case Study: 1938-S PCGS MS68+ "FB" Dime $364,250 - Everything that is Wrong with Our Hobby

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by EyeAppealingCoins, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. EyeAppealingCoins

    EyeAppealingCoins Well-Known Member

    @ddddd This is everything that is wrong with the hobby in one auction (grade inflation, inconsistency in grading, crack outs, blindly buying labels/stickers, and greed). It is what you missed from the deleted thread from the CU Forums. I started a new thread instead of hijacking the old one.

    First take a look at those beautiful "full bands" (zooming out doesn't help):


    Also zoom in on the True View in Coin Facts to see the acne "pock marks" on Miss Liberty's cheek.

    Here are the links for the 38-S "FB":

    NGC 67* FB, Great Collections, 2/18/18, $768.12:

    PCGS 67+ FB CAC, Legend, 11/15/2018, $3,055.00:

    PCGS 68+ FB CAC, Legend, 6/27/2019, $364,250.00:
    Inspector43 likes this.
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  3. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

  4. Inspector43

    Inspector43 70 Year Collector

    A fool and his money...
    EyeAppealingCoins likes this.
  5. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    That one is particularly bad (probably worse than the 67+ Franklin as at least the color on that one looked more attractive than on this dime).

    Wasn’t CAC supposed to protect the collector against something like this?

    Wasn’t Laura/Legend on a crusade against the crackout artists and on a mission to help the hobby?

    And what about all the people who say NGC overgrades and go PCGS only?
  6. Kasia

    Kasia Got my learning hat on

  7. buckeye73

    buckeye73 Active Member

    Shenanigans! Believe only half of what you see...and none of...
    Cheech9712 and Inspector43 like this.
  8. wxcoin

    wxcoin Getting no respect for 64 years

    It doesn't bother me when I see someone spend that kind of money on a coin like that. I'm sure they won't waste their money on the lower graded example witg superior eye appeal that I want.
  9. buckeye73

    buckeye73 Active Member

    Possibly the poorest excuse for full bands ever in a TPG holder. This is the sort of happening that makes for confusion among those of us who thought that we were capable graders, but apparently have no clue.
  10. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    What people spend doesn’t bother me either. I might wonder about the thought process that led to a certain bid or think that the price was too high, but I’m fine with others spending their own money how they want to.

    What bothers me is the inconsistency with the TPGs and even CAC. Small grade swings are to be expected, but when a coin goes from a common 67 to a 68+ top pop, that makes one wonder. Multiple graders looked at the coin one day and saw it as a 67 but a short time later saw it as a 67+ and then saw it again and thought top pop 68+? It’s true that it was likely different graders each time, but were the finalizers different (at least at PCGS) or were the internal standards different (shouldn’t all graders at one TPG grade to the same company standards)?
    And on top of that CAC found it to be solid for the grade as both a 67 and a 68?
  11. Inspector43

    Inspector43 70 Year Collector

    The people buying these are first rate armatures. They are not coin collectors. Since I can't tell the difference between a 66, 67, 68, etc. I only collect based upon Date, Mint and Eye Appeal. It is my collection and I am not trying to win a contest, real or perceived. I don't even put grades on my stock. I will note if it came out of a mint roll, mint set, proof, etc. I have found many of my coins in circulation back in the 40's and 50's. Those that I have bought I bounced them off the posted grade, the posted price, my perceived grade or appeal and the Red Book. If I was comfy I got it.
    Terrifrompa likes this.
  12. -jeffB

    -jeffB Greshams LEO Supporter

    Yep, there was certainly a greater fool this time around. Will there be another, though? Do I hear 69?
  13. Lehigh96

    Lehigh96 Toning Enthusiast

    I’m gonna take issue with your assertion that this coin was ever a common 67. The fact that NGC have it a star designation makes it uncommon, and we both have personal experience to know how hard it is to get a star grade. My real problem is that this coin is a no brainer star coin, but NGC very rarely issues both a * & + to the same coin. I have only one such coin in my entire collection. What I’m saying is that this coin very well could have been high end for the MS67 grade in the eyes of the NGC graders yet the only gave it a * to recongnize it’s obvious eye appeal and dropped the ball by not issuing a + as well.

    Under that premise, the coin would have essentially just crossed to PCGS with a very similar grade, both viewing the coin as high end MS67. I have always made the contention that the subjectivity of grading results in a range of correct grades rather than one specific grade. So while a group of graders could look at this coin and think it is high end MS67, it would be easy for another grader who puts more emphasis on luster & eye appeal to view this coin as a low end MS68.

    So the remaining question is “how did this high end MS67/ low end MS68 end up in an MS68+ holder?” I firmly believe that they look at coins like this and just say, this is the nicest 38-S Mercury Dime we’ve ever seen and then rank the coin in comparison to other coins they have seen. I think they did the same thing with that Franklin, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the finalizer is the one responsible for the assigned grade.
  14. -jeffB

    -jeffB Greshams LEO Supporter

    As an unreconstructed technical-grading fan, I can't say that I like the idea of this, but it does seem more plausible than the other ideas we've been kicking around.
    Kasia, Paul M. and Lehigh96 like this.
  15. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    It was common in terms of the 67 grade (meaning there are plenty of 67 Mercury Dimes compared to the uncommon sight of a 68+). The star makes it less common, but we have all also seen plenty of stars that are baffling (very small amount of color for instance). I’ve even seen plus star combos that were ok at best.

    Also if they look at coins and just rank them, why does it take until at least the third attempt to rank it as the highest example? Does each grader/finalizer have their own standard for ranking (if so, how does that mesh with the PCGS or NGC company standard)? And what happens if a better example comes up? Does it deserve a 69 or even a 70? When we get to 70, does that mean no coin can ever outrank the 70, even if it is superior?

    The other aspect is CAC. Their standard has been to sticker coins that are solid (A or B) for the grade. If this coin was “high end MS67/ low end MS68“ then why was it stickered as both a 67+ and a 68+ (and maybe not even stickered as an NGC 67 star-although that part would be speculation as we cannot confirm it)?
    Is CAC also ranking coins? If so, doesn’t that conflict with their established standards?

    Another question: if the standard is as you say with the ranking system, why don’t the TPGs publish that info?
  16. wxcoin

    wxcoin Getting no respect for 64 years

    Probably the person with deep pockets only wanted the coin because it was top pop along with max points for his/her registry set. I think the holder and the TPG grade is more important than the coin.
    Terrifrompa, Kasia and Paul M. like this.
  17. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    That is likely true and brings up another question: do the TPGs need to keep upgrading coins (or creating new top pops) in order to satisfy the purchasing whims of registry players?
  18. wxcoin

    wxcoin Getting no respect for 64 years

    That thought has crossed my mind several times recently. Two people fighting to have the #1 set run out of options other than to have one of their coins regraded with the intent of going up a grade. I don't want to start making unsubstantiated accusations but one can't be blind to the prospect of someone with deep pockets getting someone at one of the big two to accommodate them. This happens elsewhere in the real world.
  19. Paul M.

    Paul M. Well-Known Member

    My sentiments exactly. I would certainly own this coin if it was offered to me at somewhere around 0.1% of what this person paid for it (i.e. somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 -- maybe higher due to toning, but nowhere near $364k). I just went on PCGS and found multiple 67 FB of this date that had excellent eye appeal in the $500 range (granted, mostly without toning) that I would also own.

    Exactly. 67FB is common enough that anyone with a few hundred bucks who wants one can probably have one. Maybe not a toned one, but definitely one with excellent eye appeal.

    Stars don't equal color, exactly. They equal "superior eye appeal." Granted, I've never seen an NGC star coin without at least some color, but, that's technically what they say about the designation.
    Terrifrompa likes this.
  20. Santinidollar

    Santinidollar Supporter! Supporter

    You suppose these six-figure prices on such coins as this one are being paid by those who have been convinced that coins are a “good investment?”
  21. I am sure an MS-69 will be found shortly and that MS-68 will lose more than half its value. Sometimes I think the TPG graders do it on purpose.
    Terrifrompa likes this.
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