My first Massachusetts copper

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by lordmarcovan, Dec 4, 2022.


Bearing mind the differences in photo quality, which do you think was the better deal?

  1. PCGS VF30 ($800 ask, $725 negotiated) - professionally photographed

    7 vote(s)
  2. NGC VF30 ($550) - amateur photos shot through the plastic

    6 vote(s)
  1. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    I saw this PCGS VF30 1788 Massachusetts cent on the Northeast Numismatics website, and liked it. I also like doing business with them. So I haggled them down $75 off their ask price, and was all set to purchase it.


    Via text message, I asked three friends what they thought of it. Two were all for it. The third was my friend Michael, a dealer in North Carolina, and while he didn't say anything bad about the NEN coin above, he told me to hold off buying it, because he said he had one he could sell me for a lot less.

    Michael sent me pictures of another one in an NGC VF30 holder. So same grade, different plastic. I was initially pretty lukewarm on it, because in his quickie photos, it did not appear as eye appealing as the PCGS coin from NEN. But he swore that was because of the reflections on the slab. It was too difficult to photograph through the slab, he said, so he offered to send it to me on approval, and if I didn't like it, he'd pay the return shipping. So I said yes, I'd check it out.

    01-frame.png 05-obv.png 06-rev.png 07-slab.png

    In hand, I found the look of the NGC coin from Michael to be satisfactory. It is darker brown, but the surfaces look decent enough. Though in the same technical grade as the PCGS coin from NEN, Michael's asking price on the NGC coin was $175 less, and a full $250 less than NEN's original ask price on their coin. That made the decision pretty easy. It's not so much that NEN's coin was overpriced (I would have bought it from them), but rather that Michael offered me a really competitive price on his.

    Mind you, I still can't seem to get good photos of it myself. I'll have to send it back to NGC to get proper professional (PhotoVision) images for it, and then pay the reholdering fee as well. But that's OK; I think it's worth that added hassle. (And my Roman aureus also needs reimaging and reholdering at NGC anyway).

    What do you think? Is the NGC coin the better buy than the PCGS coin, at $175 less? (Bearing in mind that you're comparing PCGS TrueView images against my own unprofessional shot-through-the-plastic images of the NGC coin).
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  3. 1stSgt22

    1stSgt22 I'm just me! Supporter

    IMHO save the extra for another coin. It's like a 2 for 1 deal! ;)
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  4. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Ahh... one other factor just dawned on me.

    The NGC coin I bought from Michael is a 1787, while the PCGS coin is a 1788. The 1787 is a bit scarcer, I believe- as in the date, though not necessarily the variety. (About 93K max mintage for the 1787 versus 209K max mintage for the 1788, it looks like, if I interpreted the data below correctly.)

    So that's good. The NGC coin was not just cheaper, but scarcer, too?

    According to this site (

  5. BuffaloHunter

    BuffaloHunter Short of a full herd Supporter

    I would have done the same thing you did, Rob. Very nice pick up!
  6. tommyc03

    tommyc03 Senior Member

    @lordmarcovan I think the one you ended up picking up is just fine and a very important piece of history you are now holding. The other was a bit more eye appealing but the one you have has a much clearer date. Northeast does have some nice items but they are higher than many other places when I've compared price. Be very proud of this new addition.
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  7. mrweaseluv

    mrweaseluv Supporter! Supporter

    the top coin is admitedly a beauty.. but the second is damn near as nice and the price difference says it all...
    Great Pickup LordM!!!!
    Here's my poor example :D
    20210116_221824 (2).png 20210116_221901 (2).png
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  8. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    I think when the one I bought has comparable professional photographs done of it, the eye appeal will be a good bit closer to that of the PCGS coin.
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  9. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    While I'm not a slab fan in general, the NGC coin looks to have the same amount of detail and equally good surfaces as the first coin, and the difference in toning wouldn't make up for the $175 price differential (in my opinion), so you made the right call. Here's my own well-worn but not bad-looking example:
  10. Vertigo

    Vertigo Did someone say bust?

    I like the ngc look better except the ngc slab lol. But the coin is nice. I just got my first one. It is a lot lower grade at fr02 but mine ended up being an r6 variety. And I paid less than either dealer knocked off the price of the one they sold you. But a little over its price guide. It has the obverse rim ding but it is what it is i guess. I really like the dark look.
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  11. green18

    green18 Unknown member Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    Send it on to me and Mrs. Green and we'll do a bang up job of photoging it for you.
    Then we'll send it (coin) back to you and LadyM via express carrier pigeon. devil.gif

    You were wise to go with the NGC piece.
  12. l.cutler

    l.cutler Member

    With the state coinages the value is all about the rarity of the particular variety. If it was a Connecticut or New Jersey I could surely give you the variety. OK, got my books out and I think I have the varieties. The 1787 is a 3-G which is a rarity 3, the 1788 is a 3-A rarity 4. The 1788 is a rarer variety so there would be a premium for that. Either one is a beautiful coin though, and if buying a type coin there probably would be no point in paying extra for a rarer variety.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2022
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  13. BuffaloHunter

    BuffaloHunter Short of a full herd Supporter

    Green, you are a true gentleman! Bravo!
  14. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

    I personally like the color and look of the PCGS coin better IF that is what the coin actually looks like.

    I could definitely like the look of the NGC example with a better price, just depends on what one is looking for to add to a collection.

    I actually had NGC take some images of a few of mine; this is one of the 1787 half cents in my collection actually liberated from the NGC holder (image courtesy NGC):

  15. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    I definitely like the look of the 1st one better, but the price difference would be tough for me to justify.
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  16. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Going by the photos, the NGC graded coin looks dark and rough. I would not want it.

    The PCGS coin looks much better, but that based upon a Trueview photo, which can make a coin look better than it is.

    Remember that the Massachusetts copper coins are the best made of all copper coins from this era.
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  17. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    I do like the look of the PCGS coin better but with the price difference I would have chosen the NGC coin.
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  18. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Going by the photos.

    This is why I made the notes about photo quality above.

    The NGC coin is indeed darker brown, but does not have especially rough surfaces.

    Obviously I haven’t seen the PCGS coin in person. I agree that in these photos, there’s no contest, and the PCGS coin does look better.

    I’ll try to remember to update this thread later, when NGC Photovision images are taken of the one I bought.
    Jack D. Young likes this.
  19. ksparrow

    ksparrow Coin Hoarder Supporter

    Yes, please keep us updated, as from the photos I like the PCGS example more.
    Jack D. Young and lordmarcovan like this.
  20. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Me too, based on the photos, but the NGC coin was worth a go at the lower price, I think.

    Even after there are professional photos made of it, it still might not quite stack up against the PCGS coin in terms of eye appeal (at least compared with the latter's TrueView image), but I liked it enough upon seeing it that I was willing to give it a go.
  21. Eduard

    Eduard Supporter**

    Based on the pics alone, the PCGS coin also gets my vote - nicer color and (in my opinion) a smoother planchet. However, it MAY look different in-hand.

    I hope you like the NGC coin when you have it in hand. That, plus the price difference compared to the PCGS coin would then definitely make it the better deal for you.
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