Help me understand what makes this morgan "tooled"

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by JP1021, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. JP1021

    JP1021 Member

    Hello again. I just received an 1889-CC morgan back from PCGS which returned 98 or tooled. Included I have put together a photo album with high resolution images to help you guys see all the features of the coin. To me this coin looks like a high AU. I would have never known it was tooled other than when I got the results back. So, what makes this coin tooled?


    1889CC-ObvSm.jpg 1889CC-RevSm.jpg

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  3. coleguy

    coleguy Coin Collector

    It looks as though the leaves on the wreath on reverse may have been enhanced, especially when you see the overall amount of wear to the rest of the detail. They shouldn't be quite so sharp. The tips of the wheat stalks on obverse look the same way. Seems these shouldn't be so sharp on a coin that would otherwise grade VF.
  4. tonedcoins

    tonedcoins New Member

    I would actually think the hair on the obvere is what's tooled. Compare to the ware on the rest of the coin, the har shouldn't (IMO) be so accented as it shows.
  5. vdbpenny1995

    vdbpenny1995 Well-Known Member

    I see the hair being tooled more than the reverse imo.
  6. Lon Chaney

    Lon Chaney Well-Known Member

    Hm. That's interesting. I see a lot of wear. What exactly is "tooling?" I assume it's re-engraving parts of the coin. Like with Bust coins, and the re-engraved clasps.
    But what good would that do with having the wear that it does?
  7. mcrow24

    mcrow24 New Member

    Probably need a closer picture or to have it in hand with a magnifying glass to see exactly what it is.
  8. m60gpmg

    m60gpmg Member

    That's to bad :(
  9. mill rat41

    mill rat41 Member

    The darker area behind her head makes me wonder if something wasn't smoothed out.
  10. dannic113

    dannic113 Member

    IMO the obverse was tooled way more than the reverse. Tooling is the use of tools to strengthen details of coins or to change/add/delete mint marks and dates. It can also be what they call whizzing where a buffing or polishing tool of some sort was applied. The hair looks like it had some work done to the detail and it looks like a lot of bag/scratch marks were buffed out of the cheek. The reverse the only signs that could point to tooling would be maybe some corrosion or something else that was cleaned/buffed away in the U of united, between the ED of united, the IC of america, the D of dollar and the OL of dollar. Definate finish discolorations around those areas.
  11. dannic113

    dannic113 Member

    the sad thing is the dark area is also to the left of the eagle on the reverse and is actually from my perception where the original luster is trying to show thru.
  12. Morgandude11

    Morgandude11 As long as it's Silver, I'm listening

    Definitely the hair has been tooled, probably with dental equipment to make it sharper. The wreath on the reverse has been worked on as well, in my opinion.
  13. JP1021

    JP1021 Member

    Yeah, it's sad, but these two came with it. So it lightened the blow a little with losing out on that 1889-CC

    Thanks again everyone. I'm slowly learning this. It's fascinating.

    1879-CC-Capped-Die-PCGS-MS62.jpg 1890-CC-Tailbar-PCGS-MS63+.jpg
  14. desertgem

    desertgem MODERATOR Senior Errer Collecktor Moderator

    I think it is the lower curls and the hair right above the ear. Before you sent it in, did you notice any difference in reflection as you tilted the coin? usually the lines that are tooled leave s more reflective "cut" edge rather than the normal "Pressed" edge from striking. Regular engravers can do well in the hands of a trained individual, but now days laser tooling is more popular, as done correctly can eliminate most sharp edges on the tooled areas, but this is a modern technique and leaves the damaged area different texture/coloring , especially on silver or copper coins.

    It is hard to see ,even on high resolution photos, as much depends on moving the coin and observing the surface. Once it is is plastic, it is harder to dor this IMO.
  15. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    And that should have been your first clue that something was wrong. For it if was an AU coin then it should have a good deal of luster - and it doesn't.

    Tooling is one of those things that you will see at a glance once you gain enough experience because tooled coins tend to have a very distinctive look. But then that's why tooling is done because there are far more people who do not have the experience and they are easily fooled into thinking a tooled coin is a higher grade and thus paying more money for it.
  16. JP1021

    JP1021 Member

    Well my handheld digital microscope came in the mail today. Here are a few pictures of what I thought may be signs of tooling.
    Thu Jun 14 21-05-09.jpg Thu Jun 14 21-06-46.jpg Thu Jun 14 21-06-57.jpg Thu Jun 14 21-07-25.jpg

    Attached Files:

  17. geekpryde

    geekpryde Husband and Father

    And this is why I buy only NGC/PCGS coins. I just dont think I will ever get good enough to see things like "tooling". To me, it just looks like a normal Morgan. Shows you how much I know (or dont). :eek:
  18. Atarian

    Atarian Active Member

  19. ldhair

    ldhair Clean Supporter

    The reverse images look as if the coin was brushed around "In God We Trust".
    Just the use of a brush is enough to get the 98 code.
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