Coin buying education 101-3 [new 7/31]

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by desertgem, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. Windsor4

    Windsor4 Junior Member

    It shows I'm a newbie and don't know anything about the Buffalos. I used a ANA grading book for condition and the 09 red book for value. If all 3 leggers are faintly visable as this one is, then I'll concede it is a legit 3 legger. whats the tpg say.
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  3. mark_h

    mark_h Somewhere over the rainbow

    Sorry - I did not realize you did not think its a 3 legger. Interesting.
  4. desertgem

    desertgem MODERATOR Senior Errer Collecktor Moderator



    Ok, here are the results of this coin. Genuine, code of .91 questionable color. They didn't say if the golden toning was felt too yellow or if the small patches of reddish toning was the question. The odd thing is that my records show when I purchased this in 1988, I wrote "light gold tone around right edge obv." Then I put into a Bank SD box, and a lot of things happened in my life over the next 15 yrs, and when I took it out last year to send in, it looked like this. But so is life. I will keep and maybe resubmit sometime.


    I have had excellent success of getting these raw at shows and dealers. If they are raw, either the person DISLIKES TPG so much they don'e send them off, ....or they are not sure themselves if it is genuine. Either way, if you know it is genuine, you can get a good deal.

    I showed the 2 most common diagnostics in the OP, the rough/pitted rear leg, and the line of dots ( stream of pee). But these are easier faked than a 3rd one. I will look at a coin and if the first 2 are missing, put it down immediately. If they are there, I take out my loupe and look at what I call the "hoof cap". To remove the leg, some use tooling to do so on a coin or a die ( if trying to strike the fake). See the phot below of 5 of my real 3 leggers including this coin. I circled the "hoof cap" on the orig. coin ( center), but you can see it on the others also ( some better, some less). If the top ( where the leg would connect is straight across it is a fake.


    So far this diagnostic has allowed 8/8 picked correctly ( before the chinese~ I haven't seen one of those yet).

    GRADING: Since no grade was assigned by PCGS, we can use comparisons of the same 5 as above. Now I do not feel I can accurately grade any buffalo except 3 leggers. If you go by the old school " horn grade" , you will be way low, and may miss a good deal. Look at the photo below. The original coin is on left. Which of the TPG grades is it closer to? Actually I think on this series PCGS and ICG are close "market" wise in their grading.


    I expect this coin would have come back as AU-55, or maybe even AU-58 if PCGS had not declined to issue a grade due to the "questionable color".

    CDN has XF $1100, AU @ $1200, MS-60 @ 2100. MS63@ $4500. Even with the code 91, I would feel it was well worth Granny's asking of $999.

    I realize some would consider it a "problem coin", but higher grades are scarce and hard to find.

    Welcome comments.

  5. krispy

    krispy krispy

    I agree that for the PCGS grade of Genuine that you might well fetch $999, though my guessed grade of Genuine (incorrectly environmental damage) was just a bit lower than that at $950.
  6. chip

    chip Novice collector

    Well if that was a fast ball I swung, missed, spun myself around and pulled a groin muscle, thanks for the education, I am starting to wonder how much coins change in photos compared to in hand, do they show the wear that much more?
    One of these nights perhaps my techie wife will help me to post some pictures of different coins just so I can compare in hand to on line photo.
  7. desertgem

    desertgem MODERATOR Senior Errer Collecktor Moderator

    Haa, just waiting for someone else to put up similar, and watch myself strikeout :)

    I tried to just take the photo and use the photoprogram just for cropping,combining,outlining, and no manipulation, even though it probably wouldn't matter much. I was actually surprised when I assembled all of the "horns" into one photo. I was expecting a larger deviation between ICG and the PCGS. I sent 3 to ICG because I had a free coupon for each if sent with a paying coin, so figured why not.

    Photos are nice for comparisons as you can see immediately, whereas to keep one in your head and look at another doesn't work for me very well.

  8. Breakdown

    Breakdown Member

    Well-done. I have to think it is the red coloring behind the feathers that is the problem cited by PCGS. I have seen plenty encapsulated with the dirty yellow toning (it's entertaining to see auction sites or dealers refer to the color as "golden" or better yet, "light orange". Sorry, it looks dirty yellow to me and I steer clear of them).

    Although I did flunk another round, I at least raised the possibility of the questionable red color. I need another chance! How about a Walker next?
  9. ksparrow

    ksparrow Coin Hoarder

    That was fun, and educational as well. I like the photo array, the grading tips, and the diagnostics of the real 3-legger. Well done!
  10. snaz

    snaz Registry fever

    Thanks for the educational thread Jim! I am looking forward to the next one!
    Although, I would have said it was an altered coin. I don't see the pee line.
  11. the_man12

    the_man12 Amateur Photographer

    Without reading the rest of the thread, I'd say 45 but I'm not really sure.
  12. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Questionable color ? :eek:

    That's worse than misgrading the thing :rolleyes:
  13. Windsor4

    Windsor4 Junior Member

    I didn't strike out or get sent back to the minors, I think I earned a bus ticket back home and told to take up knitting. LOL Anyone got a good pic of a fake one around the hoof cap?

    Thanks for the lesson! Jim
  14. desertgem

    desertgem MODERATOR Senior Errer Collecktor Moderator

    If I could ever find a fake one and convince the person it was and to sell it at a "fake" price, I would have one to show. Two times I tried to point out the problem and they had good money in it and weren't about to sell it as a damaged buffalo. There have been a couple here that looked like a dremel tool had de-legged them, and was an easy decision.

    Windsor, education for many of us has been very expensive. There was little reference material, no internet forums, few special collecting groups, even the photos in expensive coin auction catalogs were usually less than the ebay type, etc. You have the chance to get a good education inexpensively if you read the older threads here, and even on other sites.

    Doug, a coin like this, a person doesn't mess with, it is better to either resubmit or wait a few years until they get AT/NT figured out. Since it is staying with the family, I will wait.

  15. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Jim I wasn't trying to advocate messing with it at all. It is a rare, and you know how I use the word rare, occasion that I would ever recommend dipping a coin. I was merely trying to express that I think PCGS was completely off the wall with this coin.
  16. CrustyCoins

    CrustyCoins Twilight Photographer

    To be fair I don't think anyone could accurately grade that as genuine with questionable color from photos. That is a call that has to be made with the coin in hand. I can take a dozen photos of one coins and have the surfaces look different in every photo.
  17. desertgem

    desertgem MODERATOR Senior Errer Collecktor Moderator

    Thanks Doug, I understood, just didn't apply correctly to the answer. Yes,I feel it was misjudged, but I can understand why the TPGs would be hesitant. As I have looked through the PCGS "shared submissions" from several years ago compared to lately, I notice far more questionable color returns now. Cleaning is about the same proportion. Of course it was just a random sampling. Take care. I have great respect for your viewpoint.

  18. rzage

    rzage What Goes Around Comes Around .

    Late for another great thread as usual . Great learning experience Jim I hope you have more , I would of thought that it would grade as the color doesn't look bad to me . Unless inhand it looks different . A genuine 3 legged Buffalo with dentrils , now that would really be rare .
  19. GoldCoinLover

    GoldCoinLover Senior Member

    What do you mean by this?
    "If the top ( where the leg would connect is straight across it is a fake."
    Do you mean if the leg connects to the hoof cap?

    Here's what I found out on key diagnoses on geniune examples from bill fivaz book I got my ANA counterfeit detection/grading/conservation seminiar:
    Brian said, "If the buffalo's pi**ing, they legs missing." referring to the stream of 'pee'
    1. The leg is missing (due to it being polished off) but the roof is still visible.
    2. There is a longer appendage (stream of 'pee') from the bison's belly, with a long, raised arc of "bumps" leading down to the ground
    3. There is a "moth-eaten" (as you referenced earlier) appearance to the bison's hide, especially on the rear leg.
    4. The E PLURIBUS UNUM over the bison's back is thinner and further away from the back.

    When I used to go to the scottsdale show in elks lodge, I remember hearing about a shady dealer who was selling a counterfeit/altered 3 legged buffalo. Luckily, some experts spotted it as a fake but he continued to sell it, people were real stirred up about it.
  20. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    No, look at the pics in post 23. See how thew top of the hoof is irregular and dips down on the right side - not a straight line. If it is a straight line - then it is a fake. All of the genuine examples are like those pics.
  21. GoldCoinLover

    GoldCoinLover Senior Member

    Ah so the roof slopes down to the right? Interesting, didn't know that.
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