File marks on the fields of a graded lincoln cent.

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by RandyK, Feb 18, 2020.

  1. RandyK

    RandyK Member

    What do fine file marks in the fields of a coin do to the grade rating? I am referring to marks left by dressing the die by the mint employee. Just wondering.
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  3. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    File adjustment marks are not uncommon on 18th century coins (so for US coins, that means the very earliest).

    But Indian cents are a bit late for that. And I thought that sort of weight adjustment was only done on precious-metal coins (mostly silver).

    If the lines were polishing done on the die, then they should be faintly raised on the coin, I believe.

    If they were marks on the planchet, then they'd be incuse (indented).
  4. RandyK

    RandyK Member

    I should have waited to get home and post photos. This 1945 S is ANACS slabbed MS 65 RED. To the eye it is a very good looking coin but under magnification the file marks are there. Not on the devices, just the fields, so that tells me it is from die work. I got it on the cheap because it is my birth year and for my 75th birthday I want to build myself a slabbed set of 1945's in MS coins. Is it possible to find when this cent was slabbed? Just curious because it may be an RPM that is not noted on the slab. I will now post some photos, there not the best but it is all I can do. The dark spots on the obverse are not actually on the cent.

    Tue Feb 18 07-06-57.jpg Tue Feb 18 07-07-31.jpg Tue Feb 18 07-08-22.jpg Tue Feb 18 07-13-26.jpg Tue Feb 18 07-14-42.jpg
  5. Pickin and Grinin

    Pickin and Grinin Well-Known Member


    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    They are not file marks, they are die polish lines and or die scratches. The ones basically parallel to each other are die polish lines, the ones at approx a 45 deg angle below and to the left of the date/mm are die scratches.
    BadThad, Kentucky, Chuck_A and 2 others like this.
  7. RandyK

    RandyK Member

    I stand corrected on my terminology. Do the polish lines and die scratches affect the grading process? May I add to the question; is this also a DDO? If it is, should it be cracked from the ANACS slab and resubmitted for that attribution?

  8. Pickin and Grinin

    Pickin and Grinin Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Die polish lines on coins are flaws, you are not supposed to ever be able to see die polish lines. And when dies are polished correctly you can't see any. So when you CAN see them, you know that somebody screwed up and did not polish the die correctly. So yes, they should impact the grade in a negative manner.

    Same kinda thing with die scratches, they are not supposed to be there and thus they are flaws on the coin. So they impact the grade in a negative manner as well.

    Anything that is not supposed to be there on the coin is a flaw by definition, just like contact marks, hairlines, scratches, etc etc - they are all flaws on the coin and they all impact the grade in a negative manner. Same kind of thing is true of die cracks, die breaks, any kind of error - they are all flaws because none of them are supposed to be there.

    The way ya gotta look at is this. If you have 2 coins, and both are equal in all respects when it comes to the various grading criteria like quality of strike, quality of luster, contact marks, hairlines, etc - but one of the coins has die polish lines and or die scratches, then can the coin with the die polish lines/scratches (or any other flaws) grade as high as the other coin that does not have them ?

    The obvious and only answer is no it cannot and should not grade as high as the other.
    paddyman98 likes this.
  10. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    Counterpoint: die polish is a genuine artifact of the minting process, created by mint workers while making the coin.

    It has absolutely no impact on the grade, nor should it. The TPGs do not punish or deduct a grade for die polish lines.

    Die polish is in a completely different fundamental category than post-strike issues like contact marks or hairlines.

    While Doug has preached his dogma about die polish lines for decades, the fact is you'll find numerous examples in 66 or 67 with plenty of die polish. A coin with die polish and one without, but absolutely equal in every other way, can and should grade exactly the same.
    Mainebill and BadThad like this.
  11. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    I don't deny for a second that the TPGs don't take it into account when grading. But that has absolutely nothing to do with the original question about it, or what I said. It is undeniably a flaw by definition, and all flaws are supposed to be taken into account when grading a coin.

    And just because a coin is "as struck", that doesn't mean it aint screwed up and thus lesser than one that is not - as long as both are equal in all other respects.
  12. Jaelus

    Jaelus The Hungarian Antiquarian Supporter

    I also agree with the above statements.

    A coin that is "as struck" that is also not an error coin is by definition not flawed, and it does not and should not impact the grade.

    What happens when these type of minting process artifacts show up on a coin from the dies is that it creates a different variety. Varieties are simply different from each other. No variety is "lesser than" another variety. They simply are.

    Then you have planchet adjustment marks as well that show up on many issues. There are certainly types that I have never seen a non-adjusted example of. These are not varieties but are accepted artifacts of the minting process as well.

    Keep in mind that for many older issues there were no examples produced that had a "perfect" die state. The argument that this would cap the maximum grade of a freshly "as struck" coin for all issues doesn't seem reasonable.

    Case in point, take the Bashlow CSA cent restrikes. Those were produced from defaced dies, and yet these defaced dies can produce a perfect MS70 example, as struck.

    After a very quick search I found an MS69 example at Heritage.:

  13. messydesk

    messydesk Well-Known Member

    Die polishing lines and other defects in the die (not the coin) do not affect the grade except in extreme cases where they are so severe on otherwise very high grade coins that the luster and eye appeal are negatively affected. In those cases, variety collectors come into play and may actually prefer the coin over one without die polishing lines.
    Oldhoopster and Jaelus like this.
  14. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    By your argument, then, any RPM or DDO must also have a reduced grade. Are they not flaws in a die? How about an E/A Bust Half? Or a repunched date?

    Not a single soul alive would claim that these should reduce the grade - but by your proclaimed criteria, that is exactly what should happen.

    How about a die crack? Would you reduce the grade of a coin if it has a die break or a cud? I don't think most people would even consider it.

    Why then would die polish, which is effectively the exact same, be treated any different?
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
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  15. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    I appreciate what you're trying to argue - but the Bashlow restrikes are private issues minted a hundred years after the original. It's a terrible example. It's like arguing a chinese reproduction should be graded 69. Instead, find an original, US mint issued coin with a die clash/crack/polish/cud/RPM/DDO/etc that is graded extremely high. Shouldn't be hard to do.
  16. Jaelus

    Jaelus The Hungarian Antiquarian Supporter

    I disagree. It's one of the best examples of "flawed" dies producing perfect coins that you can find in US numismatics. That they are private issued restrikes is irrelevant. The Bashlow restrikes are well respected and are even in the Red Book.

    The point is that they are not only flawed dies, but intentionally damaged dies, and yet they still were able to produce perfect coins. If that doesn't prove the point, then nothing does.
  17. TheFinn

    TheFinn Well-Known Member

    Adjustment marks on a planchet may affect grade, but not die prep. The coin is being graded, not the die. Weak strike will be treated like planchet flaws.
  18. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    I not only would, I do.

    But you have to understand something. Just because has flaws, that does not mean that it cannot be worthy of a high grade. Coins can have a small patch or a few scattered hairlines, or a significant contact mark and a few scattered small ones, and still be properly graded as a 65. The same kind of thing applies to flaws like die polish lines, die cracks, etc.

    This is the important part - when all other things are equal, they cannot be graded as high as the coin that does not have those flaws !

    To try and say that things like die polish lines, die scratches, die cracks, cuds, die breaks, strikethroughs - anything of the kind - are not flaws is beyond ridiculous. They are absolutely flaws, by definition - because they are not supposed to be there ! And all flaws, regardless of cause or nature, are supposed to be taken into account when grading a coin.

    And the fact that the TPGs ignore these flaws and treat them as if they were not even there, that's nothing more than the TPGs giving their customers what they want. It's not different than the TPGs saying a coin with wear can be graded as high as MS67. That too is ridiculous, but yet they do it, because that's what their customers want !
  19. Jaelus

    Jaelus The Hungarian Antiquarian Supporter

    Nope, they aren't flaws at all. That's where you're getting it wrong. They are just differences. Calling them flaws is entirely subjective.

    Let's take an overdate for example. The mint wants to save money by reusing an 1873 die for 1878 and they repunch the 3 as an 8. It is intended to be done. They press the dies into heavy use. The die shatters and they still keep striking the coins with it intentionally. The coins produced in these scenarios are not flawed. They are as struck. Realize that your preference for the coin in an earlier die state before the die cracks and cuds are present is just that, your preference. It does not inherently make the earlier die state better or the later die state "lesser than". Both die states can produce an MS70 example, as struck.
  20. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    Doug, I'm not going to lie. I've disagreed with you many, many times. Your posts in this thread, however, are absolutely the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard you say.

    I'm done here. I see no point in attempting to continue this discussion. To everyone reading this thread: please understand that Doug is completely wrong.
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