How do fingerprints effect grade?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by rooman9, Jun 21, 2015.

  1. rooman9

    rooman9 Lovin Shiny Things

    I'm talking about mint coins here, not proofs. Lets say you have a nice merc or walking liberty that would grade around MS-63-64. But it has a fingerprint on it. Do the graders take that into account and mark it down? Or do they just focus mostly on the details and striking? I've always been curious about that. I know that nice toning sometimes bumps up a coin so does it work vice-versa?
    swamp yankee likes this.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    There is another condition that can affect the grade, and that is eye appeal. So, it would probably depend on how severe the fingerprint may be. Also, it is my understanding that the oils from the skin can eat into the metal which would seem to me to be harmful to the coin.

  4. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

    everything effect the value, not necessarily the grade.

    An unc is an unc
  5. kanga

    kanga 65 Year Collector Supporter

    Yep, a fingerprint can etch a coin.
    Generally you can't see them when they happen.
    BUT once they become evident give the coin an acetone bath ASAP.
    swamp yankee and tommyc03 like this.
  6. desertgem

    desertgem Senior Errer Collecktor Supporter

    Just for accuracy, it is the sweat glands of the fingertips that causes the majority of any metal damage due to the large number of different acids and salt water they secrete as well as they are most prominent on the top of the finger'print' ridges and the sebum ( oil) glands are more in the depressions. :)
    swamp yankee likes this.
  7. Paul M.

    Paul M. Well-Known Member

    +1 to what @cpm9ball said. A fingerprint can be a huge negative eye appeal factor and can lower the grade by up to half a point if it's large and already set. If the print is light and restricted to the very edges of the coin, it won't detract much by itself, but I'd definitely conserve such a coin with an acetone bath.
    swamp yankee and green18 like this.
  8. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    Have you ever seen an Unc that became an Aunt?

    swamp yankee and mikenoodle like this.
  9. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    I wonder if deodorant would do any good?

    swamp yankee likes this.
  10. green18

    green18 Unknown member Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    Only on reality TV.........
  11. mikenoodle

    mikenoodle The Village Idiot

    I once owned a 1909 VDB in MS-65 in an NGC holder that had a prominent fingerprint on the reverse.

    My point is to say that if it doesn't preclude a coin from 65, it's not the end of the world.
    swamp yankee likes this.
  12. Paul M.

    Paul M. Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but without the fingerprint, would it have been a 65+ or 66? Who knows? BTW, was this coin in your personal collection or your dealer inventory?
  13. H8_modern

    H8_modern Attracted to small round-ish art

    I think everything Mike has is in his personal collection. What you should be asking is, Isn't a 1909 a bit old for him?
    mikenoodle likes this.
  14. mikenoodle

    mikenoodle The Village Idiot

    as so eloquently put by H8, I am not a dealer
  15. mikenoodle

    mikenoodle The Village Idiot

    oh and FWIW, the coin graded MS-65 Red
    swamp yankee likes this.
  16. statequarterguy

    statequarterguy Love Pucks

    Another area I disagree with the graders. I consider a finger print to be damage. I wouldn't knowingly buy a coin with a fingerprint. Well, ok, maybe an 1804 Dollar, but not a coin that is readily available/affordable without a fingerprint.
    JCro57 and Paul M. like this.
  17. green18

    green18 Unknown member Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    Grimy 'paw' marks can detract from a coins' 'eye appeal' but sometimes they're hardly noticed........
  18. Paul M.

    Paul M. Well-Known Member

    I've considered coins with what looked like light, partial fingerprints near the edges, but I've never bought one. I'm also very careful to only handle coins with freshly washed hands, to minimize the possibility of creating one.
  19. sambyrd44

    sambyrd44 Well-Known Member

    I can say (in my opinion) I have seen a point lower for fingerprints that were not too ugly. The older the coin the less it seems to matter though. Market acceptable like toning is a factor ugly and/or unattractive prints matter to the graders the most I think.

    The coin below has this area , old fingerprint :


    mint set toner and the NGC grade is MS64 it could 65 without the print.
    I like it as a 64 and even don't mind the print it has a cool look I like.


    FBL and decent color though that is subjective of course.

    swamp yankee likes this.
  20. Paul M.

    Paul M. Well-Known Member

    This is definitely the type of coin I'd consider, even with the fingerprint.
  21. Dj Shift

    Dj Shift Active Member

    I think toned coins with fingerprints look awesome. The ones where the coin is rainbow toned but where the finger print is, it's still clean.
    sambyrd44 likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page