Hobbyist Incused Gold Question.... Warning, May Qualify For Dumb

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Randy Abercrombie, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    I am a hobbyist. I know my way around the coin world, but readily admit I am not an educated numismatist. So this may very well qualify as a dumb question. My apologies if it does.

    Ever since I been financially able, I could never pass up an old $2.50 or $5.00 Indian with the incused design. They just intrigue me and I own... Well, I own a tribe anyways. None are graded and that suits me just fine.

    Just was looking a a video by @asheland showing a high end Indian. The fields almost appear polished to me. Hence my question. When these cross a graders desk, what are the criteria? Is an incused Indians grade based on the wear of the fields? In effect based on how nicked and banged up the field is?
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
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  3. asheland

    asheland The Silver Lion

    Indeed the fields are checked for luster, marks, wear, etc. It all factors in to the grade. Many say these are difficult to grade and I won't argue with them! :D
    I hope this helps.
  4. V. Kurt Bellman

    V. Kurt Bellman Yes, I'm blunt! Get over your "feeeeelings".

    Yes, I do believe you have nailed the art of it. That said, many otherwise sage and experienced graders have had their self-confidence destroyed at their first attempt to grade quarter and half Eagle Indians. I will someday re-take the ANA grading course material and spend an inordinate amount of time on exactly these series.
  5. asheland

    asheland The Silver Lion

    I've certainly gained a whole lot of respect and admiration for the incuse Indians. I only buy certified examples though.
  6. BuffaloHunter

    BuffaloHunter Short of a full herd

    This is one that's on my wish list and I too will purchase a certified example. I love the look of them.
  7. NLL

    NLL Well-Known Member

    I also love the design and hope to get a quarter eagle next year of this series.
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  8. ksparrow

    ksparrow Coin Hoarder

    Very tough to differentiate higher AU from UNC examples and almost impossible from photos alone. High quality fakes abound. Marks in the fields are very important in grading MS examples, as there are no protective rims. But, the design and execution make them very interesting and attractive.

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    When it comes to grading they are, or at least should be, graded the same way any other coin is. What I'm trying to say is it doesn't matter whether a detractor (wear, contact marks, hairlines, scratches etc etc) is in the fields or on the devices - it counts against the grade. Yes, sometimes the location can make it count more than another location, but that is true of any other coin as well.

    I think a part of the reason that some don't really understand how to grade these is because they think that wear always occurs on the high points of a coin first. But this is not the case at all. Wear can and often does first appear on the low points of a coin - in the fields. In other words, even with conventional coins it is not uncommon to find wear in the fields and none at all on the high points. So with incuse Indians the opposite can also easily happen - any detractor may well appear on the devices first, the lower points of the coin.

    A lot of folks also don't realize that the high point of the devices on the incuse coins is only the tiniest fraction lower than the fields, so wear or contact marks etc can easily appear there first.

    But what you're saying Randy is as a general rule true. Because the fields on these coins are higher than the devices it is more common to find detractors in the fields. But that doesn't mean the coins are graded by that criteria alone.
  10. WashQuartJesse

    WashQuartJesse Member Supporter

    I focus attention to the uppermost part of the eagle's wing on the reverse. It seems the rest of the coin's wear/appearance may not necessarily correlate with what appears to be wear here. In general, is this a good spot to pay attention to or will year by year strike influence its importance?
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  11. jwitten

    jwitten Well-Known Member

    The $2 1/2 Indian is my favorite coin, and my main area of collecting. I've been putting a toned set together...
    Toned Gold Indian Head Coin Collection Obverse updated 20181030.jpg
    Toned Gold Indian Head Coin Collection Reverse updated 20181108.jpg
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