Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by physics-fan3.14, Feb 15, 2020.
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Look at the high points and see how the color is darker and the surface is duller. That is generally the tell for high point wear.
The difference between circulation wear and coin-on-coin friction wear is that the former will have a dull, flat appearance, while the latter will have a scuffy appearance that will have a sparkle to it. This is generally visible in hand, but not in pics. Hence the importance of looking for luster disturbances in the field from rub to determine AU from MS in pictures. This will look like a patch of very short hairlines pointing in all directions and positioned in the middle of the fields away from all devices. This coin has no such rub in the fields.
At least I believe that there is no wear, although I'm not an expert in the series. Could this year have weakness in the strike? Could I be grading this to harshly?
I gave up trying to find a properly-graded AU-58 double eagle because they are all overgraded by 3-5 points nowadays, so here’s a Morgan instead. Notice how the disturbances in the fields are manifested as patches of hairlines and very slight dulling. This coin was graded AU-58+
Both of these coins are TrueViews from CoinFacts.
It isn’t circulation wear
The real question is does the wear/luster breaks that Doug are seeing constitute an AU55 grade? As someone who is typically conservative with regards to the line between AU & MS, even you think this coin is MS because of the lack of disturbance in the fields. This breaks it down into two questions. Are the luster breaks the result of circulation wear or coin to coin contact? And if they are from circulation, is the degree of the wear significant enough to warrant an AU55 grade?
My personal opinion is that there does seem to be friction in the fields but that the overall friction on the obverse is limited to high point wear and that the resultant detail and remaining luster is consistent with an AU58 grade. My evaluation of the reverse is that it is near gem grade with absolutely no wear at all. As a result, I assigned a net grade of MS62.
Obviously Doug disagrees with me and thinks that the wear on the obverse rises to the level of an AU55 coin. I have not heard him discuss the reverse and knowing his grading style, I don’t expect to hear him take it into consideration. He believes that in a split grade coin that the lower graded side becomes a grade limiter. So if the obverse is AU55, the entire coin is AU55 no matter the grade of the reverse.
When I see no circulation disturbances in the fields, I am more hesitant to say (from photos) that the high point luster disturbances are from circulation. The call really needs to be in hand.
What I look for is significant color change and dulling. On the OP coin, there is a color change due to a change in the reflectivity and quality if the surface, but I don’t see the dulling I would expect if it was circulation wear. There is one questionable area, but it isn’t sufficiently lit to make a determination. Since the rest of the disturbances appear to result from coin-on-coin contact, I think it is safe to assume it is as well.
The AU coin posted above clearly has the dulling present, and the color change is far more significant. It actually looks worn.
I see bag scuffing, but I don’t see the patches of hairlines/breakdown of luster I would expect if the coin was circulated.
To address the first issue - I see absolutely no wear on this coin. There are some marks on the high points due to coin-to-coin contact, but no wear (as described well by @TypeCoin971793 ). Wear would appear as dullness and flatness, and would also be evident in the fields. The fields appear bright and uninterrupted. Especially as low as AU-55, as some said they'd guess, there should be wide areas where the luster in the fields is completely worn out. The high points on this coin, however, appear as shiny spots. These are due to contact, not friction.
A couple of people mentioned the minor copper spots on the obverse as a significant detractor. While I agree that they would be undesirable on a gem-level coin, this example is clearly not there. In the 62-64 range, minor copper spotting is completely acceptable from a grade perspective (although you may choose not to purchase one for yourself).
Finally, the point which is throwing a lot of people off is the disparity between the obverse and reverse. That reverse is beautiful (you really think the reverse is going to look like that for AU-55?) I personally would grade the reverse a 65 on its own. The obverse clearly has quite a bit more chatter, including on the cheek. However, there are no major marks, and the fields are actually not bad compared to many other lower grade coins. Look in the Heritage archives at some 61 and 62 fields, and you start to get the impression that this might actually be a high end 62 obverse.
In summary, this looks to be a premium 62 obverse and a 65 reverse. If you're going to put a single grade on this coin, this is an example where the reverse helps pull up the overall score, but can only do so much. All this to say, in my opinion, 63 is the right grade for this coin.
This is sure to be controversial, so let's discuss.
These marks do not look like marks from being in a bag, otherwise they would be on both sides of the coin. These marks remind me of stacking marks. Tipping the coins, falling into a tube or a paper roll. (old timers) These marks should not IMO be on a MS coin, even a low MS coin. And are clear evidence of mishandling and should take this coin out MS state.
Yes, exactly this. Everything you said is correct for this coin.
This is where I get in trouble trying to grade these. In the image, I see dullness on the high points and the right field looks interrupted in a major way. To me these same areas look darker and like breaks in the luster. The color of the surface is different. I guess I'm wrong in seeing coin to coin contact, rub and wear as being the same thing.
So you're saying the obverse wavy hair locks...the black spotting throughout....that's wear and not different colored gold, spotting, etc.?
When you get a chance (no rush), could you post a picture that easily shows this "short hairlines" tell on a Liberty or better yet a Saint ?
Thanks a bunch !!
NOTE: If you already did this, ignore the request. I see a bunch of detailed posts with pics but I'm behind and hadn't read them when I typed this.
Let's, I'm learning alot. Great thread, PF.
Down the line, do one of these for Saints !
And while it's POSSIBLE that if we had the coin in hand and could angle it towards a light source that we'd be able to tell more clearly on the luster issue, the fact that we have veteran CT graders here not able to determine if the obverse is circulation or bag mark wear shows why folks like me sometimes throw up our hands and say "Just let the TPGs decide."
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