Has Grading Gone to Far?

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Long Beard, May 10, 2020.

  1. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    All three of these half cents came back in body bags for "artificial toning" when I submitted them for grading. What do you think?

    1797, "1 over 1" die cutting error

    1797HalfCentO.JPG 1797HalfCentRJPG.jpg

    1800 Half Cent

    1800 Half Cent O.jpg 1800 Half Cent R.jpg

    1802 over O Half Cent, ex Garrett Collection. This one was plated in a number of Dave Bowers books at the time.

    1802HalfCentO.JPG 1802HalfCentR.JPG
     
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  3. CoinCorgi

    CoinCorgi Derp, derp, derp!

    No regrading necessary. Just publish an equivalency chart.
    Better math would be a better friend. Just divide your current grade by 0.7

    Use 3 significant digits.

    MS70= MS100
    ...
    AU58= AU82.9
    ...
    G4= G5.71
     
    thomas mozzillo and Kentucky like this.
  4. Lehigh96

    Lehigh96 Toning Enthusiast

    You seem to want to blame this scenario on gradeflation, but your very first sentence undermines your own point. If you have an MS64 coin, but you think it should grade higher, that means you think you have a coin that is either undergraded or is straddling the line. How many times have you looked at a coin and had difficulty deciding whether a coin is an MS64 or MS65? It happens all the time, right? Do you think that professional graders are immune to this problem?

    If you look at grading incrementally, then a solid MS64 would actually grade MS64.5. When anyone with any grading skill at all views that coin, it is easy for them to reach a consensus grade of MS64 because if you asked them to grade it incrementally, the range might be MS64.3 to MS64.6, and every grade in that range is still an MS64.

    But when you have a coin that grades MS64.9 to MS65.1, how do you grade that coin? Maybe upon initial submission, one grader gave it MS64, another MS65, and the finalizer erred on the side of caution and assigned the grade MS64. Here comes the tricky part, this PQ MS64 which you "think should be higher" will only get resubmitted if the price jump from MS64 to MS65 is high enough for you to cover your expenses and risk in cracking the coin out and resubmitting it. But if it is, and you finally resubmit the coin, now both graders view the coin as an MS65.1 and the finalizer agrees that it is a low end MS65 and you get your upgrade.

    So did the coin upgrade because the TPG changed their standard or is the gradeflation simply a natural side effect of the combination of the subjectivity of grading and the opportunity to make a profit?
     
    baseball21 likes this.
  5. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random nobody who doesn’t know anything...

    What riles me up is that it is the same coin. Nothing about the coin has changed, except for the slab. Yet the coin’s value is greatly changed.

    The coins don’t hold their own merit anymore. In 90% of cases, the coin’s value is 100% predicated by the grade on the holder.
     
    Pickin and Grinin and Insider like this.
  6. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random nobody who doesn’t know anything...

    The better question is how do you value it? The MS-64.9 in a 64 holder is worth $100 (for example), and the MS-65.1 in a 65 holder is worth $200. There is no continuum.
     
    Insider likes this.
  7. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random nobody who doesn’t know anything...

    The obverse looks brushed

    What are the parallel lines on the reverse?

    I see no problem with this one.

    I don’t know what they were on when they called those “artificially toned”
     
    Magnus87 likes this.
  8. Lehigh96

    Lehigh96 Toning Enthusiast

    That was the whole idea behind "+" grading. If a coin was on the line, the TPG had the option of assigning a premium quality MS64+ grade with a price guide value of $140.
     
    Morgandude11 likes this.
  9. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member


    That holds for a while, but grade-flation is really like a dog chasing its tail. You get a higher grade, but that increases the population of coins that have that grade. On the other side, collects see that they get less of coin for the grade so they pay less for the coin.

    I learned this years ago when I had a want list for a 1916-D Mercury Dime in something better than AG-3, which most of them seem to be. The collector and I looked at the Gray Sheet and decided that he could afford a VF.

    The trouble was, what the TPGs called "VF" was a VG in the old days. Hence the price was lower than you would have expected for a VF relative to a VG. To get all of the perpendicular ax lines, you had to buy an EF. I eventually found an EF graded coin for him.

    The dirty little secret about TPG grading is that they watered down the standards for the circulated grades on key date coins from the get-go. You could find a few properly graded key date coins in the circ grades, but they were few and far between.
     
  10. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    Unfortunately, this thread is going to take more time to unravel than I thought!

    I'll add my OPINIONS as fast as I can. Take 'em or leave 'em. My opinions are based on the ORIGINAL, "true" Technical Grading system that I personally devised for the internal records of the ANA's authentication service in Washington, DC ONLY for the purpose to identify coins. It was later used at the FIRST TP GRADING & AUTHENTICATION SERVICE - INSAB.


    Publius2, posted: "The existing system and all proposed systems are completely arbitrary. [100% CORRECT] You might just as well call them "Tutti Frutti" (in honor of James Brown) or 5 x 10^6 so I see no value to me and most of the collecting community in abandoning the existing Sheldon system and disrupting everything. [I agree.]

    Two points:

    1. All technical grading is partially subjective. [ABSOLUTE NONSENSE. This statement indicates ignorance of the Technical Grading System THAT NOBODY HAS PRACTICED FOR DECADES no matter what they call their system!!! When the ANA began grading coins in CO they did not use the original Technical Grading that was practiced in their DC office because no one that knew the system moved to CO. :(]

    2. All aesthetic judgements of a coin's desirability are completely subjective. [100% CORRECT]

    On technical grading: The TPGs were supposed to give us a consistent (insofar as possible) technical grade. [Actually only ANACS in CO tried to use what they CALLED "Technical" Grading. PCGS and later NGC practiced COMMERCIAL grading right from the start. They were established by dealers because ANACS (So-called TG) & INSAB (True Technical Grading) were too strict! In the beginning. PCGS was strict. Soon it all went out the window until we have the mess we have today when MS means nothing in the lower grades.] They have been partially successful at that, compared to the so-called standards that prevailed in an earlier age. [LOL, Ok you said "partially"] They have failed in two areas: 1) They have failed to maintain consistency of those standards over time, [AMEN and such a shame!];
    2) They have allowed aesthetic judgements of a coin's desirability to creep into their grading. [Yes. They had to because pretty coins are worth more than ugly coins no matter what they are graded or their actual "technical (true) condition.]

    Of course, any system where money and passion combine is going to result in gamesmanship and all manner of shenanigans. [You think?] :jawdrop::D


    physics-fan3.14, posted: "Couple of points that I have to clear up here, Publius.

    The TPGS do not, have not, and will not ever practice technical grading. This is a common misconception. The TPGs have always practiced Market Grading. The Market Grade of a coin is an attempt to "value" the coin - its a ranking system where "this coin is more valuable than this other coin, and so it will get a higher number." This value may be based on technical aspects, such as strike and contact marks, but it is also heavily influenced by the subjective aspects such as eye appeal (toning, etc.). In reality, this is inherited from the fundamental basis of the Sheldon scale - a coin worth 70x the base price must be an MS-70! The idea of value as a means of rank/grade has been the basis for the grading system since before many of us were born.

    The TPGs MARKET grade coins, they don't TECHNICAL grade them.

    Very well stated!

    A technical grading system is something like the EAC grading scale. I'm not sure if you've ever looked into that, but the EAC scale is a true technical grading scale.

    Oh my, we just went off the tracks. The EAC grading system is the biggest bunch of stinky stuff imaginable! Technical grading assigns a grade by a coin's condition of preservation. It does not call an XF coin VF due to a problem!

    Eye appeal is not a factor - surface preservation, marks, corrosion, etc are. Technical grading actually reduces the subjectivity in grading a considerable amount [BINGO! That's what my original system did. Precise, repeatable grading without change due to time or market condition as long as the coin remained unchanged when seen again. The true technical system]: Is there corrosion present? Deduct 5 points. Is there a mark on the cheek? Deduct 5 points. [EXACTLY why EAC grading is wacky, subjective, stupid, folly because folks regard anything they see on a coin subjectively. The mark on the cheek - deduct 2 points, Corrosion? Deduct 10 points. :D] Its a set formula based on technical factors - not a wishy washy scale based on how much I like the flash of the luster or the color on the coin. (the interpretation may vary slightly between graders, but it is far more consistent than market grading)

    This distinction is very important, and commonly misunderstood.

    *A TPG is NOT "grading" a coin. They ARE assigning it a Value.*

    Additionally, an EAC member is NOT "grading" a coin. They are assigning a value. I prefer the commercial graders at the TPGS. At least they call an EF coin EF and not VF due to problems.

    News flash folks: Modern day "detail" grading as practiced by the major TPGS's is actually the best example of the original Technical Grading System!


    In a market grading scheme, "aesthetic judgements of a coin's desirability" (i.e., eye appeal) are central to the scheme. They haven't "crept" into the grading - its central to their mandate. [100% Correct]

    to be continued...:yack::yack::yack::yack::yack:
     
  11. Coinman since 1957

    Coinman since 1957 New Member

     
  12. Coinman since 1957

    Coinman since 1957 New Member

    It's all about ways to make money for nothing,i.e., GREED! Q. David Bowers was the epitome of numismatists and honesty. He showed me as a young boy that an uncirculated coin could be accurately described as typical, choice or gem. Gems were were very scarce and commanded a large premium, depending on which series it was. Also, circ. coins only needed to be say fine or choice fine, etc. Coins I have in holders from Bowers or Bowers & Ruddy are worth more just because his name can be attributed to that coin. Certified? A joke on most. Bought sight unseen for years, I bought ONE and had to return an ms68 merc with purple splotches! Reputation of Bowers far outweighs all grading services; many have been resubmitted numerous times and rarely come back with the same grade. One final note: pcgs, NGC, anacs, ICG, all have employees just like you or me! Get a brain and grade for yourself!
     
  13. CoinCorgi

    CoinCorgi Derp, derp, derp!

    Replace choice with sweet! and gem with dude!
    [​IMG]
     
  14. wxcoin

    wxcoin Getting no respect for 64 years

    What's going to happen to CAC when JA isn't around? Will the new finalizer be a JA clone and have the same subjective opinions? Yes, everything isn't subjective but enough is. Look at the CAC or not to CAC thread in CT. There's a pretty wide spread of opinions on the coins evaluated. I propose a "No Respect" bean.
     
    Pickin and Grinin likes this.
  15. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    Just occurred to me, you have a Rembrandt pen and ink drawing that you love. If you tried to sell it without authentication (and perhaps "grading") you would get one price whereas if you have an expert to authenticate it and attest to its excellence, you would get much more.
     
    wxcoin and Insider like this.
  16. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    The OP, Long Beard, posted: "Way back in 1949, William Sheldon devised a grading system for large cents which expanded to all series. Known as the Sheldon Scale, the original consisted of 12 grades. Ranging from circulated through extra-fine (8), one simply defined as uncirculated and three mint states of 60, 65 and 70. Coin collectors now had a standardized method of determining a coins condition. With this now acceptable, and rightfully so, the previous prices changed dramatically dependent upon this new system. Of note, third party grading had not existed until 1972 with ANACS becoming the first to encapsulate coins.

    This is not correct. ANA started an AUTHENTICATION ONLY service. They did not actually encapsulate coins. Coins were returned in a plastic flip with a photographic paper image attesting that the coin was authentic. AFAIK, Accugrade was the first service to "encapsulate" coins in a plastic "slab" as is done now.

    Then, in 1986, coin grading would have another name attached [David Hall et al?] with the founding of PCGS through co-founder John Albanese. Dissatisfied with the company's direction, he founded his own, NGC, the following year. Although Sheldon's namesake remains on the scales still used today, 1987 was a pivotal year which turned the coin market on it's head. A new revised scale grew to 30 grades within the same three categories of circulated, uncirculated and mint state. So essentially, had you bought a mint state 60 in 1985 for say, twenty dollars, and it now graded mint state 63, the price jumped $40. Or it might have gone the other way. What ever the case maybe, prices shifted dependent upon this new scale. And by large percentages. Despite the visions of one man [??], collectors themselves gave rise to third party grading as we know it. On the flip side though, with PCGS and NGC, investors were the true winners. This was also a time when coins were traded sight unseen based on the grade of a coin. However, it does not seem to apply as today.

    Once more, coin grading has been revised with Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC) entering the market in 2007. Again, founder John Albanese, has broken down each grade through what's known as green and gold beans. Now, while some believe these to be a good thing, it should be clear that it is nothing more than a perception of the fact. While the advent of the internet may be largely to blame for the demise of buying sight unseen, CAC stickered slabs tend to sell [for more!] irregardless. Perhaps this is nothing short of the latest craze. But what's interesting about CAC is that the same individual who played a founding role in both major grading firms only certifies from those two companies. Is that simply coincidence? [NO, it is the old boys club. Why let the world know that other TPGS have great coins also] Hardly when a coin grading one grade on the slab becomes higher in value than that of the next. Which contradicts a star at NGC and a plus at PCGS when they are defined as the same.

    So, what am I saying here? With absolute certainty value is set by the market. But which market? With only two choices it is apparent that the collector is in some ways pushed from the market. As if we, the collectors, become irrelevant to profit. Not to be misunderstood, in no way am I complaining as to how things are at the moment. In truth, I see this as a good thing considering non-CAC coins are holding steading or in some cases dropping in price as more and more swarm towards the beans. Pick any auction site and you'll see this. What does concern me, in fact it becomes disheartening, is how grading companies conduct themselves and thereby drive off the average collector. Especially the newcomers.

    The value of a coin is set by many factors including labels and beans. IMO, the average collector is helped by the grading services because the majority of them would have their eyes picked out and their bones left to decompose by coin dealers. It is your money. The folks who purchase coins MAKE 1/2 OF THE MARKET.

    To finish, I ask one simple question. Why can we not get back to what Dr. Sheldon created?"

    Easy answer, Sheldon's system has been obsolete for over four decades when it ceased to be followed at all!!! Sheldon's EF-40 is TODAY's AU-58!!! :jawdrop::facepalm:
     
  17. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    Coinman since 1957, posted: "It's all about ways to make money for nothing,i.e., GREED! Q. David Bowers was the epitome of numismatists and honesty. He showed me as a young boy that an uncirculated coin could be accurately described as typical, choice or gem. Gems were were very scarce and commanded a large premium, depending on which series it was. Also, circ. coins only needed to be say fine or choice fine, etc. Coins I have in holders from Bowers or Bowers & Ruddy are worth more just because his name can be attributed to that coin. Certified? A joke on most. Bought sight unseen for years, I bought ONE and had to return an ms68 merc with purple splotches! Reputation of Bowers far outweighs all grading services; many have been resubmitted numerous times and rarely come back with the same grade. One final note: pcgs, NGC, anacs, ICG, all have employees just like you or me! Get a brain and grade for yourself!"

    I don't choose to comment on any of this. Thanks for posting. Greed is certainly one of the things that drives the coin market.
     
    longshot and Kentucky like this.
  18. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    The whole upgrading thing is over blown. Most coins especially MS coins you can make an argument for more than one grade on them. Strong 64s could be argued as low en 65s and vice versa. A bunch of things would downgrade or lose their PL etc too if tried again now.

    That said as far as who gains the most on the upgrade, the submitter does. The TPG gets a small fee and increased liability with the higher grade while the submitter would be the benefactor of the higher sale price which presumably is more than the grading fee or it wouldn't have been sent back in
     
    wxcoin, Insider and John Skelton like this.
  19. John Skelton

    John Skelton Morgan man!

    No, I wasn't blaming grade inflation, although it bears a little of the blame. I was stating a hypothetical to say that I think TPGs stand to benefit from coins being resubmitted in hopes of getting a better grade. I think they could be playing on our desire to improve what we have, and the need to have someone else validate our coins.

    As has been said, buy the coin, not the slab. Although I haven't done so myself yet, I prefer learning how to grade myself, rather than depend on someone else's opinion. I might get it wrong, but apparently the TPGs sometimes do, too, as we have seen.
     
  20. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    For the most part they aren't really. For that to happen they would have to be tracking every single coin, the millions of dime a dozen Morgans they see couldn't care less about as an example.

    PCGS and NGC are big international businesses with offices on multiple continents, they don't need to waste time manipulating things for a few bucks here and there. There's plenty of ungraded coins, plenty of moderns, plenty of world coins, plenty of people that still crack stuff for albums, plenty of crossovers, plenty of people that will hunt for what they think could upgrade etc.

    The biggest benefactor of an upgrade is essentially always the submitter
     
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  21. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    Is this true? I was told that a famous numismatist and founder of a major grading service once said something to this effect to a group: "Any coin worth sending in for grading once is worth sending again."

    If this is true, who said it, where and when? What were his exact words? Was anyone there to hear it personally?
     
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