Featured Moruzzi´s new detailled grading system

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Julius Germanicus, Aug 28, 2019.

  1. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    This may be old news for many of you, but I just discovered a new grading system used by Italian dealer Moruzzi which incorporates not only "grade" (with a maximum of 70), but also rarity, metal and patina, style, "coinage", and provenance (with a maxium of 100 each)

    Here is, for example, a Sestertius of Marcus Aurelius from their inventory:

    Bildschirmfoto 2019-08-28 um 14.28.30.png

    And here is the coin:
    Bildschirmfoto 2019-08-28 um 14.29.56.png

    That one literally jumped at me because i have one from the same obverse die:

    Bildschirmfoto 2019-08-28 um 15.11.18.png

    The "grade" of 45/70 is translated as "good very fine" by the seller.
    Mine is only "very fine" (reverse "good fine"), so would that be a 35 or 40/100?

    The "rarity" of 30/100 can only be in terms of ancient coins (if it were a modern american coin, it would certainly be extermely rare, but with Banti listing 10 specimens of RIC 795 and 65 of similar types, it is not hard to find for a Sestertius, so I can agree with that).

    The "metal and patina" seems to correspond to NGC´s "surface" criterium. A grade of 75/100 would mean that, while this coin is above most of the rest, there must be something missing here.
    While the graded coin has a neat obverse, there is a (die?) flaw running over the reverse. Or can the absence of a dark patina be a minus (Moruzzi sometimes gives 80% for a dark patina and 90% for a light green patina)?

    The style of 90/100 corresponds with David Sear grading this as an "elegant portrait".

    But what on earth does a "coinage" of 90/100 mean in this context? Maybe the same thing that is called "strike" by NGC?

    Lastly, there is no provenance given but still a provenance grade of 60/100 listed. Coins that have a 21st century auction listing receive a 70/100. What would a coin need to receive 100% here? A century-old pedigree? Mine is from the Stöcklin collection, so maybe that would do for an 80/100 :).

    What do you think about this grading system, as compared to NGC, for example?
    Sulla80, randygeki, Paul M. and 7 others like this.
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  3. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

  4. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    I dunno. Here is my grading system:

    I like it but too expensive: Less than good
    I like it, price is right: Fine
  5. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Haven't seen the grading system, thanks for the message. it seems a bit difficult though? I don't know if it will help clarify a grading process...!

    In general i don't get gradings. Maybe its just me being to simple. I mean, i 'get' the terms and definitions used, but it seems everyone has different standards when applying those definitions and term. When i see a coin listed as 'mint state', i sometimes really don't see the difference between a mint state one, and a XF one.Most important for me is the same as Bing; do i like the coin, and can i afford it.
  6. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    I pay no mind to grades, but rather look at the picture of the coin. It saddens me that ancient coin collecting seems to be heading towards something like the US grading system. Just buy a coin because you like it...not because you like the grade.
  7. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I could buy no coins from that dealer. He considers that rough reverse better than most while I find it marginally collectible. I prefer the JG coin. We all have our opinions.
    I would be much more likely to buy a coin from someone with an attitude like VC. Too bad right now I am avoiding late Roman because I have too many already and am selling coins I would keep if they were Severan.
  8. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Perhaps one would be so kind to explain something to me about grading. I found this coin and the seller qualifies it as a 'qFDC', which, as i understand it, stands for almost fleur de coin, right? In my personal opinion, i don't think its that good? I mean, spots on both sides (or bad pictures?), weak lettering, the reverse isn't that sharp. So, am i missing something? It's a very nice coin, thats not my point.


    Then there is this coin. A seller grades this one as 'good, very fine'. I think this one is better looking.


    I just don't understand the grading process.

    (I wont mentioned the sellers, and no link to the sites. This is just for illustration purposes).
  9. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    NAILED it! :)

    @Victor_Clark is dead-on, also.

    I could care less about grading. In-hand or good pics. I like, or I don’t like.

    octavius and Ryro like this.
  10. Pishpash

    Pishpash Supporter! Supporter

    Any rarity value based on RIC is way, way out of date. I rarely agree with NGC surface/strike valuations although I am looking at photos rather than the coins. On the whole I agree with @Bing, do I like it, can I afford it?
  11. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    I agree with you completely concerning grading. However, while I would agree that most RIC volumes are out of date regarding rarity, I have found that RIC II Part 1 (2007) is fairly accurate. There are exceptions of course but overall it is quite good.
  12. Aleph

    Aleph Well-Known Member

    Grading this way is pointless. The only reason to aggregate individual descriptors this way is to justify desirability/asking price, but few folks will be convinced to purchase a coin they would have otherwise passed on.
    Orfew likes this.
  13. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    This Moruzzi system sounds like a lot of complicated BS to me with superfluous information added to it. I'll stick with NGC ;).
    Theodosius, dougsmit and Orfew like this.
  14. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    When one starts assigning grades to provenances one is complicating it far more than need be.
  15. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Every ancient coin has two sides, and often they are not in the same condition. Even the OP coin is better on the obverse than the reverse. It seems to me that any grading system that does not have separate numbers for the separate sides is fundamentally flawed. (Not to mention I agree with the posters above who don't like grades at all.) Maybe US coins tend to the in the same condition on both sides, but the two sides of very many ancients differ in die quality, quality of strike, centering, and corrosion (even if they don't differ in wear).

    I am surprised that NGC does not evaluate the two sides of ancient coins separately.
  16. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    I generally employ a very simple system. I either like the coin or I don't. Once in a while I will look at the grade more to see what the dealer or slabbing service thinks it is. However this will happen after i have made up my own mind on the merits of owning the coin. When I was in Chicago for the ANA I saw what I thought was a very nice coin with a surface grade of 3. I thought the grade was unwarranted and while trying to research the coin for provenance discovered that someone else thought so as well and purchased it.
    Julius Germanicus likes this.
  17. Damian Chapa

    Damian Chapa New Member

    Hi guys I hope I’m not bothering anybody with my nickel question I’m new at this I have a nickel 1984D that has a zero growing out of the top of the eight is that interesting for anyone
  18. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your thoughts!

    This is what Moruzzi sais about the parameters for their grading:

    For example:

    Grade: "We use the European system of grading for our coins, ranging from VG (Very Good) to BU (Brilliant Uncirculated)"

    The OP coin´s grade, "very fine" is described as "Moderate wear with about 75% of detail visible" (F would be 50 %, EF 95%)
    The 45 out of 70 grade translates to roughly 65%. This doesn´t make much sense to me. Shouldn´t a "good VF" be closer to EF than to F? Or is this common practice with modern coins?

    Rarity: "...spanning from a low percentage for very common or common coins (C) to 100% for extremely rare ones, uniques or known in few specimens (RRRRR)".

    I would call the OP coin either "not common" (for a Sestertius, that is), if we only look at at the subtype RIC 795 , or "common", if we include the other CONCORD varieties (there must be a couple of hundred specimens around).
    If the OP coin´s 30 out of 100 rarity grade corresponds with either of those, I wonder what the rating for a R, RR, RRR, or RRRR coin would be and if this would be measured differently for modern coins.

    Here is yet another Sestertius from the same obverse die (but a third reverse):

    Metal and Patina:
    "... coins with a metal without particular issues will receive a really high rating in the histogram".
    "The original old patinas, like the green or riverine ones on the Roman bronze coins, attract the collectors. (...). If an original patina is presented on a coin, we’ll report it in the data sheet resulting in a high rating in the histogram too."

    Neither the metal flaw on the reverse of the OP coin, nor the (riverine or cleaned?) surfaces are mentioned, so we cannot understand just how these attributes led to a rating of 75 out of 100.

    "Coins with a coarse style will receive a low rating in the histogram. Otherwise coins with a fine style will receive an higher evaluation up to the maximum for the most artistic ones."

    90 out of 100 makes sense for an elegant portrait, which this probably is if Sear and Moruzzi agree on that (100 may be reserved for the works of those rare "master engravers").

    "... exemplars with damaged flan, not centered and with low reliefs will receive a lower rating."

    Ah, this is indeed what is called "strike" by NGC. While NGC has five gradations, Moruzzi´s 5%-steps gives a possible array of no less than 20!
    The OP coin´s obverse is struck as perfect as it gets for ancient coins as I would say, but the (metal) flaw on the reverse and a few letters being partly off the flan may explain the 90 out of 100 rating here.

    "A coin with an old provenance, sold in prestigious auctions (...) or displayed in important collections (...), will receive an higher percentage in the histogram than another one with a more recent or less prestrigious pedigree.
    Naturally, it’s not always possible to report the provenance of a coin due to the Privacy Laws, but we remark that all the coins offered by Moruzzi Numismatica have an absolutely legal provenance registered in the Italian authorities’ lists."

    All of Moruzzi´s coins have a minimum provenance of 60 out of 100, just like the OP coin that comes with no pedigree. It may have a legal provenance that the seller knows about, but what help is that to the buyer/collector ?????? It looks like they claim that just by being sold by Moruzzi alone a coin has a substantial bonus in value.

    What sense does a system of 20 possible (but nevertheless often subjective) gradations in six categories make, for ancients and in general? Could this succeed and eventually have an effect on NGC´s system?
    Bing likes this.
  19. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Congrats on the matched die pair, I had not noticed the rating system before.

    As others have commented, I tend to ignore rating systems and look for coins that I like. I find ratings misapplied (through my eyes) more often than I find them useful. That said, NGC is OK - anything more complicated seems unnecessary to me - I wish there were a way to see the date a coin was registered with NGC. (Note: having a prestigious Moruzzi provenance is surely worth triple price ;))

    Whatever the system - I would give your earlier coin a much higher rating on my personal scale than the Moruzzi coin (+grade, +surface/metal/patina, +provenance, ...).
    Julius Germanicus likes this.
  20. iPen

    iPen Well-Known Member

    I wish the physical grade was out of 100. Something like this I made:


    Along with a color analysis spectrum graph, instead of a subjective number for eye appeal, something like this e.g. a rainbow toned coin's color profile. The color spectrum and a black and white are both used to objectively determine the coin's "added" color relative to the original Mint made color.

    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
  21. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    Very nice!

    But how could this be applied to ancient bronze coins? What would the maximum grade achievable by any existing specimen be?

    Would a Sestertius have to retain it´s original lustre (like the outstanding Titus shown below) have a chance to qualify as "mint state"?
    And how would the finest known patinated ancient bronzes (like the Caligula Sestertius below) rate in your scale?
    Bing and Alegandron like this.
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