Featured Learning to grade

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by GDJMSP, Feb 25, 2014.


    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    There is one issue with your comments regarding weakly struck coins that must be recognized. It's not that the luster on the coin is unbroken, it's that there never was any luster there in the weakly struck area to begin with. There cannot be luster in an area that is not struck up.

    That said, yes you can tell the difference between a weak strike and wear. But you can't do it based on luster because if there is wear, there is no luster; and if there is a weak strike in a given area, there is no luster in that given area either. Weak strike and wear have that in common which is why so many get confused by the two different things. And it is also why many, even the TPGs at times, interpret what is really wear as a weak strike and thus over-grade the coin.

    The way you differentiate weak strike from wear is by looking very closely at the area in question. The surface of a weakly struck area will be kind of rough, bumpy even. While the surface of an area with wear will be flat and smooth. And on coins with little toning, or no toning if the coin has been dipped, there is a slight color difference between a weak strike and wear. Both will be a shade of grey. But wear will be a darker shade of grey than a weak strike will be. You have to get used to that, experience it, see it numerous times, to be able to recognize it when you do see it. It's tough to recognize the color difference, but the difference is there.
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  3. statequarterguy

    statequarterguy Love Pucks

    Good point, many say, including myself, "The luster is not broke", but there is less luster in the weak area, just not the smoothness and grayness of wear.
  4. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Just clarifying, this is only an issue regarding US grading practices. Ancient grading does not raise a grade simply because it was a bad strike or worn die, a grade is a grade regardless of reason. Yes, some US dealers are trying to play this "weak strike" game, but experienced ancient collectors don't fall for it.
  5. statequarterguy

    statequarterguy Love Pucks

    Definitely, it’s usually wear being passed off as weak strike. Some issues, weak strikes are the best there is, so they sell as uncirculated. If weak strikes aren’t common for the issue, I down grade them.
  6. CamaroDMD

    CamaroDMD [Insert Clever Title]

    Great info here Doug...even a few little bits I didn't know. Thanks for sharing!!!
  7. kaosleeroy108

    kaosleeroy108 The Mahayana Tea Shop & hobby center

    awesome thread guys
  8. josh's coins

    josh's coins Well-Known Member

    The technology of the future has solved this problem. I'm referring to featured threads of course.
  9. Kirkuleez

    Kirkuleez 80 proof

    I've always found it good practice to grade all of my pocket change before tossing it into the change jar. I think that we all concentrate on what the grade of early coins are, but miss a golden opportunity for practice. This was something that my grandfather taught me to do thirty years ago, and it has served me well over the years.
  10. TheFinn

    TheFinn Well-Known Member

    If you have a coin with low details, but full luster, it isn't/can't be weakly struck as GDJMSP said because it isn't fully struck. Such a coin would have been struck with worn dies. A fully struck coin will have full luster. A weakly struck coin will have luster on the parts that actually touched the die. If the planchet did not strike part of the die, it isn't fully struck enough to move the metal, so the surface you see is what was on the raw planchet. After working in a mint, this is a very common occurrence and easy to see. The Canadians call coins that do not have luster on the high points "Die Burn". You see it on a lot of George VI dollars and halves on his cheek bone. That is why they lowered the relief of QEII when they changed designs in 1953.
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