Has coin grading gotten sloppy or more defined?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by pasasap2, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. pasasap2

    pasasap2 New Member

    I took an interest in coins many years ago. I remember being at a coin shop in the mall in Grand Forks, and looking at the many coins I wanted to buy and settling on the AG 1865 Indian Cent that filled the hole in my new Indian Cent folder. Yes, it was at the very beginning of collecting for me before I knew much about anything and I was barely old enough to buy the coin on my own. Well, back then I remember there was an ongoing discussion about what coins graded MS-65. The rules were that copper coins could not be toned, but silver coins could have some form of toning. The owner of the shop and a client were having a discussion about toning on MS-65 coins. The owner of the shop was charging a premium for blast white silver coins graded MS-65 or better. The argument was that he believed the toned silver coins were actually damaged and eventually would be considered a lower grade. The argument was because copper coins that are toned cannot be MS-65, then neither should silver coins. Toning was a form of oxidation or rust, and thus damage to the surface of the coin in his opinion. The client disagreed because he was collecting rainbow toning and thought toned silver should have a higher premium. At the time, copper coins had to be without toning to qualify as MS-65, else they had o be graded as MS-64. These days, I notice that even copper coins can be graded MS-65 with toning. So, the client won out in the end. You can buy a brown MS-65 penny if you want although mint red copper commands a higher premium. However, I wonder if grading has gotten a bit sloppy. Most MS-65 Red Lincoln Cents are spot free, and in the past, they had to be spot-free, but I am seeing a lot of MS-66 Red Lincoln Wheat Cents graded by PCGS with spots these days. Some of the spots are very distracting and make the coin ugly. I have even seen fingerprints on MS-65 coins, which is the past would have degraded a coin down to MS-63 or less. For toning, you really get a few different stages. White streeks are the most common early stages found on silver coins, and then comes more colors. Copper coins tend to start to brown and sometimes form bright rainbow toning quicker than silver coins. The next stages are unsightly damage, such as really black coloration or black carbon spots. If a person has touched a coin, it sometimes forms a permanent black fingerprint. The last group of toning types are ugly and, in the past, would have meant that a coin could not be graded above MS-63. Today, I see MS-65 coins with fingerprints and black carbon spots. So, is it the definitions of grading that have changed or has grading gotten sloppy?
     
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  3. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    The TPG's will do whatever is necessary in order to obtain business. As grading become sloppy? I don't know. As grading become more relaxed? With the standards for grading a coin less now than they were 10 years ago? 20 years ago? I'm sure they have in order to obtain business. And each TPG can have separate standards but they are very close in nature.
     
    Inspector43 likes this.
  4. tommyc03

    tommyc03 Senior Member

    @pasasap2 Everything changes over time and with all hobbies. Our world of coins seemed much easier for us old timers before the Sheldon system of grading came into being. It is the same for comic books and stamps and lunchboxes. A problem with slabbed coins is that they may have been graded properly at the time they were submitted but afterwards were subjected to poor storage conditions. Spots on coins can appear long after they are slabbed, especially cents and more so zinc based cents. Humidity can be a factor for this. All plastic that coins are in are permeable and subject to the conditions in which they are stored. I fear, that 20 years down the road, many people will wake up to some pretty ugly coins in plastic that they failed to safeguard by storing improperly.
     
  5. physics-fan3.14

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

    Grading is like a slinky. Sometimes it stretches, sometimes it springs back, sometimes it gets twisted into a knot. And it all varies.
     
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