This is why I need to stop buying raw coins...

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by cj415, Feb 20, 2024.

  1. cj415

    cj415 Member

    Well, in a moment of weakness a few months ago, I bought a set of Lincoln Cents on eBay. The photos weren't great. And it was $200. I do this from time to time when I've had a dry spell and haven't made a good purchase... I take a leap on a random eBay lot.

    The 1909S-VDB wasn't there, but most everything else was there. Sort of. I figured with an 09S, 14D, 22D-Weak, and a 31S, that I'd be in ok shape.

    ANACS had a grading deal going on, and they do a good job with problematic (details) coins, so I thought I'd go for it.

    Ugh. What a disaster. This is why I should stop buying raw coins. Some people are good at identifying good raw coins from eBay. Clearly I'm not! :bored:

    09-S was a modified 19-D. What???? Ad the 31-S wasn't even able to make any details grade. And everything else was rougher than I thought!. Oh well.

    Last edited: Feb 20, 2024
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  3. 3BStuff

    3BStuff Cogitare Et Prolatantem

    Ouch Man.
    MIGuy likes this.
  4. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    You can't buy sets like this from pictures of multiple coins sitting albums. You need close-up pictures of the key coins and even then it's carp shoot.

    This set looks very nice on the surface, and for what I wanted when I formed it almost 40 years ago, it is. BUT if you think there a hidden Mint State coins in there, you would be wrong. Most of them are not worth the grading fees unless a grading service has "a special."

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    MIGuy, wxcoin, -jeffB and 1 other person like this.
  5. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    You should read up and study a bit before spending that kind of money on open lots and grading fees.
    Kevin Mader likes this.
  6. cj415

    cj415 Member

    Ha! That's the frustrating part... I've been doing this for a while and should have known better. It was $200 for the set and $100 for the grading, so I'll be ok in the end. Someone will want the '22 Weak D coins and the corroded 14-D as fillers or starters.

    It's the hope of getting something good in a poorly photographed lot that keeps drawing me in...
    MIGuy, eddiespin and -jeffB like this.
  7. rte

    rte Well-Known Member

    I bought a lot of cents, one of the 2x2's was marked 14-D
    The seller had 14-D in his description but not in the title.
    I took a shot at $65.
    The 14-D 2x2 was a 14 no mintmark.
    I sent the lot back.
    It's was worth the gamble.
  8. green18

    green18 Unknown member Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    That's just too scary. Mom was from MO. so ya gotta show me. And you bundled the lot off to a TPG'er? More money in the gutter. Sorry, I'm crass and harsh, but your money should not be used for such speculative adventures.....but it is your money after all.
  9. -jeffB

    -jeffB Greshams LEO Supporter

    It's much harder to resist once you land one or two poorly photographed lots that do contain treasures. If I hadn't hit insurmountable time-management issues, I'd probably still be cruising eBay for them myself.
    cj415 likes this.
  10. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Ouch, indeed! But it seems you learned from it. I'm sure we've all got stories of when we "paid our tuition". Sure, yours there was pretty brutal, but I've heard worse horror stories from people who've said, "I should have known better".
  11. wxcoin

    wxcoin Getting no respect since I was a baby

    I have always walked away from buying any raw "sets".
  12. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    The only time I ever bought a slew of raw coins from anyone, and these were just cents, and completely sight-unseen, was from "Budgood." Anybody recall those bags? He peppered them with extra goodies for us, too. I bought one, then later, another. True to his word, I don't recall anybody buying these who weren't thrilled with them. Think he sold maybe 50 to us, maybe more. Just recalling...
    wxcoin likes this.
  13. Vess1

    Vess1 CT SP VIP

    If you go through life with the concept that most raw coins are raw for a reason, you can never go wrong. I've picked some out over the years and had successes but also failures. That was being extemely picky.

    Almost everything raw that's valuable has been messed with. If it was worth sending in to a TPG to ensure value or more value, somebody, (collector or dealer) would have done it over the years. The more time that passes, the more this will ring true. It's not an absolute of course, but a safe general rule that'll never fail you.
  14. -jeffB

    -jeffB Greshams LEO Supporter

    Maybe, if you massage the definition of "valuable" enough. But there are still lots of jars, cans, and old Whitman folders out there that were stocked and then forgotten for decades, completely missing The Rise of the TPGs. Not all of the coins in them have been abused.

    Over time, yeah, people will find them, and some of those people will send the good stuff to TPGs. Over enough time, maybe most of them will get sent to TPGs, and the remainder will get abused. Of course, over enough time, the Sun will expand to engulf them all, and it won't matter.
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  15. Pickin and Grinin

    Pickin and Grinin Well-Known Member

    Ran across a 93CC raw the other day. VAM 2A
    In MS no doubt. The problem is that the dealer knows it's value. No bargains to be had. While I was in there an old lady brought in 3000 in walker halves mixed dates and plenty of them were in MS condition. Not all the good cherry picking coins are gone.
    -jeffB likes this.
  16. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    The vast vast bulk of my collection is ungraded, some nearly 99.99%. How do you explain that, I've been collecting junk for some 60 years? I explain it by I learned how to grade and don't need ready-made grades like most younger collectors who never learned how to grade do these days. And then what do you think happens as these ungraded collections are inherited? Most of them hit the market where they circulate, eventually, and we find them. And none of them were "messed with," because we knew how to collect coins, then, unlike, now, when most of us still don't know how to grade them, but rather, how to collect ready-made third-party grades. And the hobby loses a component for it, appreciation, because how can one appreciate a coin's grade when one can't even grade them, oneself? All one can appreciate is a number. So, I disagree with you. Just my opinion.
    -jeffB likes this.
  17. wxcoin

    wxcoin Getting no respect since I was a baby

    I know that there are still exceptions. A few years back my LCS purchased a raw collection that was put together by a collector who passed away in 1948 and kept by his son and then grandson. The collection included many proof seated dimes and quarters in MS and proof. I purchased an 1882 proof quarter for $850 and sent it to PCGS who graded it PR64DCAM. I subsequently sold it in a GC auction where it sold fo well over $2K. I've purchased raw coins from a number of online auctions and my guess is that less than 50% straight grade. I've learned to be very cautious about red or red-brown copper cents as sellers photos can be very deceiving. That said, I once bought a 1914-S Lincoln cent from an online auction where it was listed as AU. The auction house was one who didn't typically sell coins so I took a chance. I sent the coin to PCGS where it graded out at MS63BN. I sold it for 10 times the $60 I spent to get it.
    So the point of my dribble is to be cautious; especially from auction houses that primarily deal with coins. Raw coins are more likely than not to be details coins unless they are lower valued coins in which the grading costs wouldn't be worth the seller sending them in to be graded. Check with your LCS to see if they have recently purchased collections and are willing to sell you ones that they may be thinking about sending in to be graded.
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  18. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I still remember an 1836 $5 gold, raw, that I saw over someone’s shoulder at a show. It looked really nice. When he set it down, I had a look. Yes, the obverse and reverse were nice, but the rim had been filed to remove an edge ding. If you had missed that, you would be a loser.
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  19. Vess1

    Vess1 CT SP VIP

    When I started collecting I was pretty forgiving of any raw coin that looked nice. Not the case any more. Once you learn what to look for you can find problems on almost any raw coin offered for sale that's not a modern. Especially coppers. I can't say the vast majority are fine. The vast majority are not with a few exceptions. I have nabbed a few off ebay over the years and got them straight graded with moderate success. Most pics on ebay give you no chance to tell what you're actually getting.
    Of course there are many sub $100 coins that are common, low grade and simply not worth sending in. Millions of them. In that instance the risk is low enough to where it's not really worth worrying about. I wont deny that. This discussion is moot at that point. The risk of loss is much smaller.

    I'm talking about you have two of the same trade dollar. One is straight graded and one is raw next to it and they're both $2,000. Which one are you going to buy? There's too much risk to pass on one that's already been evaluated and encapsulated. Maybe a shop has five of them all ungraded. Why? There's a good chance they were crack outs.
    Not every coin I buy is perfect. I've bought some tougher coins and ended up with details grades but am still happy with them. I bought a 1859 IHC that looks practically low MS for $100. Because it has small initials engraved in the back. I knew when I bought it. It still looks way better than all of the AU examples I've looked at that sellers wanted 2 to $300+ for so i haven't upgraded it. So far I would not trade it even up for the straight graded AU examples I've seen, despite being a details grade. It all depends on what it is. Some coins are tougher than others and a lot of money can be saved if you can live with the problems. Others are common enough where there's no point in settling for a details example really.

    The 1818 CBH in the other thread is another good example. The OP wanted a grade and assumed it would straight grade. It would not. The purchase price on it raw is probably higher than it would be in the details slab because they're going to hope somebody comes along not paying attention. It's old after all. BUT if you were selling it you can guarantee it'll be under a microscope and somebody may or may not give you an offer on it. If they do, it'll be lowball. You can buy all you want, not care, and even claim moral superiority because of it. Turning around and grading, trading or selling is when most will get a full education.

    At shows I've witnessed people bringing everything in under the sun to sell and I have heard every used car salesman excuse on what's wrong with people's stuff, even slabbed, and why the dealer can't buy it or will offer a lowball offer. Usually the table is set with, "I can't sell those, these are common, or I already have a bunch. Or, it's been cleaned. Or I don't sell ASEs/moderns/ ancients/ foreigns,etc.. you name it."
    It's fine buying cleaned raw coins, the key is to not over pay to begin with because this is what you'll deal with if you ever want to flip it. If it's just going to be your opinion vs the buyer's opinion, good luck with that nowadays.
  20. Vess1

    Vess1 CT SP VIP

    Yeah, details are extremely important in this business.
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