Half Cent grading

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by larssten, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. larssten

    larssten Active Member

    Hi all!

    I love the early coppers and have assembled an ok selection of both large cents and half cents.

    Compared to regular classic silver coins, I find the copper denominations often a bit more tricky to grade since there are so much going on with this metal.

    Here is a selection I was hoping to get some feed back on grades. Please refer to the numbers or dates to avoid any confusion

    Thanks a lot!

    1. 1800
    2. 1806
    3. 1809
    4. 1828
    5. 1829

    Attached Files:

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  3. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately all of the pieces you have have been cleaned to one extent or another.

    1800 - Cleaned and recolored with smoothing in the fields. EF sharpness.

    1806 - Ch VF sharpness, cleaned a recolored with a possible corrosion spot lifted to the top of the reverse.

    1809 - VF-30 sharpness with a corrosion spot lifted on the top of the obverse.

    1828 - VF-30 sharpness with corrosion spot in the center. This has the best shot at a straight grade.

    1829 - VF+25 sharpness, lightly wiped on the obverse, a little heavier on the reverse

    I have been honest with you, and hope you are not discouraged. With the growth of the Early American Copppers Club (EAC), the supply of these coins dried up at the shows and local shops many years ago. Copper is the most reactive of all the classic coinage metals. It’s the reason why no problem copper coins are in short supply.
  4. messydesk

    messydesk Well-Known Member

    Agree, but I'd put the 1828 at EF details.
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  5. larssten

    larssten Active Member

    Thanks a lot for your comments. Its a bit discouraging, but not too surprising I would say.

    The 1809 was actually in a XF40 graded holder from PCGS until I cracked it out. Ref. https://www.pcgs.com/cert/33846012
    Do you think that is surprising?
  6. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random nobody...

    Not at all. If it is dated before 1840, they let a lot of problem coins through with straight grades, and early copper is notoriously overgraded.
  7. larssten

    larssten Active Member

    While we are at it - here are a few more. I am very interested to hear what you have to say about especially the 1832.

    - 1832
    - 1834

    Attached Files:

  8. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    The 1832 has been whizzed or something and then recolored. The giveaway is the mushy appearance on the obverse in the area around the face. These coins were just as sharply struck as their silver and gold counterparts and don’t have that sort of look. This one probably had EF sharpness before they worked on it. It may have had some corrosion on it, which would account for the work on the surfaces.

    The 1834 has been lightly wiped to make it look brighter. The base grade is VF-25
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  9. larssten

    larssten Active Member

    Thanks again! Appreciate your feedback. It all makes sense looking at the coins in hand. What do you think are fair prices for the different ones? Wonder how much the catalog prices are affected by the cleaning/handling etc...
  10. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I don't have any photos of circualted Classic Head half cents, but here are a couple of Mint State pieces that might help you see how sharply these coins were often made. Just imagine a litte wear and no mint luster, and you will be closer to avoiding the cleaned pieces.

    1809 HC O.jpg 1809 HC R.jpg

    For those who think that NGC over grades everything, they only gave me an MS-63, Brown for this one. I agree with the "Brown" part, but the grade is at least MS-64.

    1835HalfCentOJPG.jpg 1835HalfCentR.JPG
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  11. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Pricing problem coins has always been a problem for me. Generally you go down one grade in price for fairly minor problems that prevent a coin from getting a straight grade.
  12. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    Would it surprise you to know this early copper is at VF20 by PCGS? I own her and much enjoy her. I have a hard time justifying a VF20 for her though.
  13. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    They may been looking at the hair detail and ignoring the spots were something was lifted. I have not looked at graded early copper in great detail for a long time, but at the turn of this century it seemed to me that PCGS overlooked problems with early copper more often that NGC did. In more recent times, it looks like they are about equal in that regard.

    I prefer the EAC grading system which explains the problem, gives a sharpness grade and then a net grade. You might disagree with the net grade, but at least it gives some collectors a basis from which to estimate a value.

    Most all early copper has some issue. If you rejected every piece that had something wrong, there would not be much to collect.
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  14. larssten

    larssten Active Member

    So you are saying I shouldn’t be too concerned with acquiring some problem coins of the early copper denominations?
  15. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    What I should say is that there is better stuff out there, but a lot of it is in "strong hands" (collectors with the funds to collect good stuff and no motivation to sell it any time soon.) It's also often quite expensive.

    You should strive to look for nice certified pieces because that is the best financial bet. Problem coins have value, but it's less than pieces with no problems. AND no problem pieces have a better chance to go up in value in the future. You will also be pleased with them for a longer period of time, at least that's been my experience.

    If you get into collecting early copper coins by die variety, which will probably sometime long down the road, for some rare varieties, problem coins are sometimes all you can get.
  16. larssten

    larssten Active Member

    Thanks for all the advice!

    I have only been collecting the early coppers for a few years, bur find the area very fascinating and have been reading up on Bowers Whitman book. My main focus is the large cents, which I collect after date and major variety and realizing its hard to find good pieces. Going for all the different die varieties is too much for now. I also don’t live in the US and find it hard to get by good pieces I can see in person, so for now I have picked up what’s been available and trying to upgrade along the way. Have picked up some good items at international auctions, but find the best piece a to go very high.

    The half cents i recently paid appox the following for, and am happy with the price I guess. What do you think based on the grade and condition?

    1800 $270
    1806 $190
    1832 $50
    1834 $80
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  17. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Not buying the coin in the United States makes things harder. You have to depend upon imports. I retired as a dealer over 10 years ago, so my pricing is rusty. Back when I was a dealer, the Greysheet, coin dealer prices, were too low, but using the current version, here are my observations for it's worth.

    The 1800 has had little be too much work done it to be worth $270. It has EF sharpness, but it has a polished look in the photos, which would leave priced as a low end VF. The Greysheet number is $205 so $270 retail is not horrible. The EF number is $450 so in a sense the dealer treated you fairly.

    The 1806 is the Small 6, Stemless variety, which is the most common 1806 variety. The coin has a sharpness grade of VF-30 but it has been cleaned a re-colored a bit. The Greysheet says a VF-20 is worth $205, and a Fine is worth $125. Once more on a retail level, you can't complain that much.

    The 1832 has been whizzed or something, but the Greysheet says $60 for a VG with no spread ($2 etra dollars) for Fine and VF. These coins did not circulate very much so the low grade ones are actually scarce. That, of course, does not mean much. You can always go down in grade but not up. $50 is okay although it's not a pretty coin.

    The 1834 has a lot more wear and the wipe. It's a VF-20 with cleaning. The Greysheet numbers for Fine and VF are $62 and $64. Once more these coins didn't get a lot of use, and the lower grade ones are unsual. $80 is a bit high, but you didn't get totally taken.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
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