GTG(s) a study in strike vs wear?

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by fiddlehead, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. fiddlehead

    fiddlehead Well-Known Member

    I am thinking that the variation between these two pieces, both type III double eagles from the same mint (Carson City) is interesting and perhaps a good example of how wear vs strike is so important to know when grading. Would love to hear what folks think each is graded at and why the grade is what they think it is?

    Guess the grade set.jpg
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  3. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random guy on the internet

  4. fiddlehead

    fiddlehead Well-Known Member

    Um,Yes, clearly an issue. Could you put a number to that (as meaningless as that may be?)
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  5. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Yes, but short of that, (assuming same luster), I like the question. I am probably of a different mindset than many, but I grade on DETAILS. The great jump the shark moment in US numismatics to me is when they declared wear worst than anything else. I am the opposite, I consider the maximum details the coin SHOULD have , and deduct from there. The reason could be soft strike, greased dies, worn die, wear, or dings. The reason doe not MATTER to me. It may be interesting, but not matter in terms of grade.

    I know the top coin is worn and bottom weak strike. I would say luster of course, and I would also say the reverse of coin 2 vastly superior. The bottom, even with weak strike, has more detail so not apple to apples.

    Let's say they ARE though. If both had the EXACT same amount of details, I could see a bump for luster. That is all. If numeric grading, I could see a difference due to luster of 45/50 to 53/55. However, the bottom coin should never be compared with what used to be called an AU-58, (my favorite US grade when collecting). Even a current AU-58 has better details and should be worth more.

    I know I was out of sync with others in US coins, another reason I moved to ancients. In the ancient world, DETAILS are what matter, not the WHY they are missing. We are interested of course, and do know the differences, but they do not affect the GRADE. Any dealer listing XF - Weak strike we laugh at as a US coin dealer playing with ancients.
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  6. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    I would guess the top is 45, bottom 61/62 IMHO, (not being a gold $20 collector).
  7. micbraun

    micbraun coindiccted

    The first double eagle shows obvious wear, the second coin was weakly struck. Let’s hope it didn’t get a straight MS grade, because it shouldn’t. My grades? XF40 and AU details - obv scratched. TPG grades? AU50 and MS62? Lol
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
  8. fiddlehead

    fiddlehead Well-Known Member

    I love your analysis. Since strike varies so much on double eagles, on gold generally from what I've seen, I don't completely agree but you definitely have the sense of difference grade wise between the two.

    A hint is that they both have CAC stickers so someone who knows something thinks they are spot on for their respective grades. What I find so interesting is that the strikes are so similar.
  9. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random guy on the internet

    When the details appear to be same level of clarity (or lack thereof), then you look at how much luster there is. A greater presence of luster will indicate a weak strike
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  10. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random guy on the internet

    This is exactly not how modern coins are graded.

    It is the opposite for modern coins. For the early US coin types, where varieties are extensively studied, specialists have a fascination with the “why” a particular issue was weakly struck.

    Why the pompous attitude? An UNC hoard coin that was weakly struck off the flan is still an UNC. It won’t be valued the same as a well-struck and centered example, but they have the same level of preservation. Now if the dealer was trying to get an equal price as the perfect specimen, that would be a laughing matter. Simply describing the state of preservation along with the strike quality is not.
  11. fiddlehead

    fiddlehead Well-Known Member

    That is a really interesting statement. Are you saying that a coin with a weaker strike will have more luster than a similar coin with a stronger strike - assuming same amount or lack of wear, etc?

    I might have to make a trip to my safety deposit box to check that theory out. I have seen some AU double eagles with better than average strikes combined with below average luster but I never drew a conclusion about it.

    Can you say more about that?
  12. fiddlehead

    fiddlehead Well-Known Member

    Medoraman's comment was interesting. I think he was saying that the strike figures into the grade on ancients than it does for US coins. I know absolutely nothing about ancients so I found it interesting to learn a little about it, if I am understanding correctly what he's saying. Typecoin971973, your description seems right though - strike doesn't figure much into grade for us coins but does figure into value - all other factors being equal - but then of course with the exception of extremely common coins, they never are.
  13. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random guy on the internet

    I’m referring to the difference between wear and weak strike. A lack of detail solely due to a weak strike will not have any luster breaks, regardless of how weakly it is struck. A circulated coin may have more details, but it will have broken, significantly less, Or even no luster at all.

    Some examples.

    1803 C-3 Half cent, one of the weakest-stuck varieties of the type.


    In contrast, the 1804 C-12 is one of the best-struck of the type.


    And here is another 1804 C-12. It’s level of detail is rivaling that of the 1803, but it is hardly in the same league grade-wise. There is virtually no luster left in this XF coin.


    More dramatic examples can be seen in the buffalo nickel series. The 1926 D is notorious as one of the worst-struck of the series. Some examples have nearly all minor details missing. (Both of these are UNC)

    FB716312-09BD-4FE1-A7C5-CE759B8AC744.jpeg C71949EF-460F-479E-80F2-91616ABD6096.jpeg

    By contrast, the 1937 is one of the best-struck.


    This VF-20 rivals the detail of the second MS-62 1926 D above, but to say they Should be equivalent based on detail alone is a ludicrous statement.
  14. fiddlehead

    fiddlehead Well-Known Member

    Ah, yes. Thank you, that makes total sense and I understand. Excellent explanation with examples and all. I love it.
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  15. fiddlehead

    fiddlehead Well-Known Member

    So the top coin is obviously more worn the the coin on the bottom. The top coin is graded VF35 and has zero luster. The lower coin is graded AU50 and has a ton of luster. Both have CAC stickers. One thing that I find unusual/interesting about the top coin is the lack of wear on the reverse wings. The weak strike in the center of the obverse isn't unusual but the strong strike on the eagle's wings is less common - and it seems like most VF and XF double eagles have a lot of wear on the wings. So it is like typecoin971793 says, luster, luster, luster - but it is nice to see a VF35 with so much intact detail despite circulation wear. I tend to like 35's to 50's in double eagles because they are less expensive and have a favorable metal content to collector value ratio - some of my aesthetic favorites, especially in gold coins, are in the 35/40 range. With original surfaces and honest wear there's something special about them.
    TypeCoin971793 likes this.
  16. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Why is it ludicrous? What do coin collectors collect? Coins. They don't want blank pieces of metal, and they most covet the perfect coin.

    Let me ask you this, would you prefer the second MS62 above or a sharply struck 58? Why is a sharply struck 58, with just a touch of wear but MUCH better details on the coin graded lower than a mushy coin?

    That is the original sin of US grading, to say a slight wear makes a coin lower grade than a weakly struck, worn die, bag marked up POS that technically has not circulated. Would any collector, except for the grade on the slab, really prefer the latter?

    I actually support TPGs and their gradeflation of AU coins. They are trying to fix this historical error by raising the grades of AU coins. Too bad they cannot demote weak strikes and worn die coins.

    Btw, you mentioned EAC collectors being interest why. Ancient do to, (EAC collectors are probably the closest to ancient ones). We discuss it all of the time and study ancient minting techniques. I am just saying for grading we do not give a coin a break because of it. If the details are missing, they are missing, and we grade accordingly.
  17. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random guy on the internet

    That is irrelevant to the question of a coin’s grade. None of @fiddlehead ’s questions were about desirability. His questions were about distinguishing between weak strike and wear for the sake of being better able to evaluate a coin’s state of preservation.

    “Grading” is not at fault. It’s the market’s fault for perpetuating the belief that higher grade number = More desirable = higher value. Again, your point is irrelevant to the questions posed.

    There are lots of discussions regarding TPG market grading, where they call a premium 58 a 62 because it should be worth more than an ugly 60. This is a bad solution to the problem, but whatever.

    I should read ahead before quoting.

    Why should they? They don’t need to except in extreme cases (like the second 1926 D above). People are hesitant to pay more than “book value” for a coin of a particular grade (eg 58), but they are happy to pay less when it has less-desirable characteristics (as-struck weakness). The market adjusts coins downward accordingly.

    How is calling a mint-state coin UNC “giving it a break?” I went to school with some of the dumbest of the dumb, but I won’t call them anything less than human because that would be inaccurate. Giving a coin a break would be saying “But it is UNC, so it is worth what this perfectly-struck UNC is worth.” To continue the analogy, that would be equivalent of giving one of the classroom fools a neurosurgeon job.

    See how silly your points sound now?
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  18. fiddlehead

    fiddlehead Well-Known Member

    Well, I don't know folks, but I have always assumed that the grade had to do with the condition of wear - at least for circulated coins - and that the original strike was irrelevant to the grade - again, for circulated coins. But while I seldom look at MS graded coins and rarely find them attractive, I guess I always assumed that strike - and/or other original mintage flaws would be a factor in MS grades - e.g., could a coin with a poor strike ever be an ms70?
  19. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random guy on the internet

    Unless excessively weak, the strike strength generally does not matter until you get above MS-66. There should be no strike weakness at MS-70.

    Planchet flaws and the like also count against the grade as you near MS-65. There shouldn’t be any major flaws above 65. There should be no flaws at all at 67 and above.

    But a mint flaw does not an AU coin make
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  20. fiddlehead

    fiddlehead Well-Known Member

    uh, yep. Makes sense.
  21. micbraun

    micbraun coindiccted

    I think you got it all wrong. Instead of saying AU58 coins have a “lower grade” than MS61s, I’d argue AU58 is the highest grade any circulated coin should get. This doesn’t imply an MS61 is a better coin. Sadly the TPGs now grade exceptionally nice AU coins as high as MS62/63, but that’s a different story.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
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