What is a "Whizzed" Coin?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Cazkaboom, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. fish4uinmd

    fish4uinmd Well-Known Member

    An old post...in studying the 1937 D 3 legged Buffalo...when the leg was there, as an incuse image on the die, was that polished off creating what appears to be a "missing" leg?? So, where the leg is missing is actually raised on the surface of the minted coin?

    1937 D 3 legs AU50 rev my coin.jpg
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  3. TheFinn

    TheFinn Well-Known Member

    Pencil erasers also are used to simulate luster. It is luster, but once you see enough you learn to recognize the difference between the way it should be by flow-lines, and that created by a tool. And by tool, I don't mean the guy that did it.
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  4. Michael K

    Michael K Well-Known Member

    Took my PC in to get debugged. So I ask the kid, Do you have some kind of special tool to get the virus out?
    He says: I am the tool.
    I don't even know if he realized what a brilliant pun it was.
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  5. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    I never saw this thread until it was resurrected. When I have some time, there is more to add and some clarifications needed for those reading this in the future.
  6. IBetASilverDollar

    IBetASilverDollar Well-Known Member

    Actually had a whizzing related question pop into my head today so may as well toss it in here.

    Do TPGs generally label coins as "whizzed" specifically or do they sometimes called a whizzed coin "cleaned" on the label?

    I was looking at a cleaned (just said cleaned on label) CBH in stacks auction today and I just had a hunch it was a whizzed example as opposed to maybe just a light cleaning they deemed not market acceptable. If the latter I was a player but the risk of it being the former made me pass. If I knew they marked coins "whizzed" specifically on the label it would be nice.
  7. fish4uinmd

    fish4uinmd Well-Known Member

    In fact they do...or at least NGC does...that's what led me to revive this thread.
    a whizzed.jpg
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  8. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    Whizzing is a specific treatment. It is at or next to mechanical alterations of the highest intensity. It leaves specific characteristics on coins. If they are not present, the coin is not whizzed!

    Folks who have not been educated to the proper use of that term (around since the late 1960's I believe) throw the word around for all kinds of mechanical treatments.
    As I wrote above, I will post on this later; however, to answer your specific question: Yes, the TPGS will put "Whizzed" on a label. Unfortunately, all coins that meet the actual definition of whizzing (raised lip of metal) are not obvious. In the 1980's a process called "micro whizzing" was detected on Lincolns and Indians. These coins were slabbed as "red" and unaltered for years!!! I have not seen any of these lately but I will say this, right up to the point that a coin meets the criteria to be called "whizzed," it is considered to be "cleaned." I'm sure their is some "cross-overs" around - coins with a cleaned label that I could prove was actually whizzed.

    Don't worry, we are making a big problem out of nothing. Cleaned coins are straight graded all the time when they are "market acceptable." ;)
  9. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    raider34, posted: "Whizzing is done to simulate mint luster. It's done with some type of high speed too (like a dremel). What happens is the tool puts numerous scratches in the coin (similar to flow lines) which simulates the luster. YES Usually, whizzing is only done to the fields of the coin, NO but can be done over the devices too. A good whiz job can be hard to detect, NO! Once you learn what it looks like it can be detected from a foot away. and can fool a lot of people. Who are uninformed. The "giveaway" for a whized coin would be a build up of metal on the edge of around the raised areas of the coin (this would be where the whizzing stopped)."

    Numismat, posted: "In addition to what raider said, a really good whiz job requires high magnification to identify. Absolutely not! A 5x or 10x loupe may not be enough, but even a fairly cheap microscope has enough magnification to see the difference. In this case the difference is very fine incuse marks in consistent , usually circular, direction (on the whizzed coins). A coin which genuine cartwheeling luster, or "bloom" may have die polish lines that can sometimes be confused for whizzing. No, never. Die polish and mechanical alterations (whizzing in this case) look nothing like each other. Unfortunately, some folks have a narrow definition of die polishing that can lead to confusion among those not as knowledgeable. However, die polish lines may often be straight are nearly always straight and whizzing marks are never straight usually not.
    On coins with original surfaces there may also be a halo effect, NO, the "halo effect" is exclusive to mechanical alteration or cleaning. Toning rings, stains or color forming a halo around devices is not the same thing. from metal flow that radiates from the center to the outside or vice versa. This will not be seen on whizzed coins." NO, whizzed coins often have a "halo effect".

    Numismat, posted: "Buildup of material around the finer features is a good sign of cleaning by rubbing NO, NO! or whizzing YES! in any case. Often this buildup is easier to see than marks on the surface or the luster itself. (?) Photo doctoring has become very prevalent, but this is one sign that seems to be consistent." A coin in hand is not photoshopped.

    cpm9ball, posted: "The fine hairlines from whizzing don't necessarily have to be in a circular pattern. True but they curve. A fine brush or buffing (wheel) attachment on a drill can produce hairlines that are parallel to one another. These can be distinguished from die polishing because they remove surface metal leaving incuse striations where die polishing lines would be raised on the coin. YES The whizzing process will make a coin look shiny (SHINY IS THE LUSTER!:banghead::banghead::banghead:), but it destroys the MINT luster.

    Luster is created by the (surface) flow lines of the metal when the coin is struck and the metal moves outward toward the rim. Whizzing removes the flow lines. Perfect.

    :bookworm: Lehigh96, posted: "Thought I would resurrect this thread after photographing a whizzed coin this afternoon. It is an XF/AU 1894-O Morgan Dollar that someone whizzed in an attempt to pass it off as uncirculated. They did not do a particularly good job and even at a distance, the luster looks strange. Here are some photos of the coin. Even from over a foot away, something just doesn't look right." AMEN, read this again everybody. Thank you for the images.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
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  10. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    They'll call it whizzed/damaged. Something else would be on the label to indicate more than just a cleaning took place
    IBetASilverDollar likes this.
  11. Lehigh96

    Lehigh96 Toning Enthusiast

    Since this thread keeps hanging on, figured I might share what a well done whizzing looks like.


  12. fish4uinmd

    fish4uinmd Well-Known Member

    @Lehigh96 again, it's an NGC slab...and what a shame on an AU coin! Best collecting to all.
  13. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    This article appeared in Numismatic News. I've copied it here with the permission of the author. He wrote what I tried to write above. The important points are in color so you can skip the "fluff." He made one [correction].

    Whizzing occurs in varying degrees
    By F. Michael Fazzari
    February 22, 2017

    John Wheeler, the first superintendent of the Mint at Charlotte, N.C., is quoted as saying, “A man generally talks better when he knows what he is talking about.” Allow me to steal this thought and change two words, thus, “A man generally writes better when he knows what he is writing about.” I think we can all agree on that.

    It’s one reason I enjoy reading many of the books and articles written by popular numismatic authors both living and dead. There are too many to mention here. I could fill the page, yet still forget someone. Their research and stories are a legacy to educate all of us. The best of them are popular because they knew what they were writing about. Their words have stood the test of time and provided a stepping stone for additional new information by other numismatists who followed.

    Obviously, writing is all about putting an idea or factual truth into words and then arranging those words into a certain grammatical order that makes enough sense to convey the subject to an audience. Many fields of endeavor have their own jargon. Many words have specific definitions. Therefore, the words that are used and their meanings become very important when dealing with a specialized subject such as numismatics.

    For that reason, before we can write, teach, or understand a subject we must become wordsmiths. Over a period of time, many of the words we use today as collectors have become more specifically defined. That was not always the case. For example, decades ago, whizzing was the number one form of surface alteration seen on coins. Prior to 1972, the ANA defined “whizzing” as [chemical]mechanical cleaning. Unscrupulous people were taking coins that graded Extra Fine (Note: Back then an XF coin had the details of today’s AU’s) and buffed them using a rotary wire brush to simulate the blazing luster characteristic of a BU coin. In fact, professionally whizzed coins were more attractive than their original counterparts so many collectors were taken in by their beauty.

    As a rookie authenticator in 1972, I learned to detect surface alterations made to coins such as cleaning and whizzing. It quickly became apparent to me that there was an unfortunate overlap with word usage among many professionals that became more complex when the factor of degree was considered. What was the difference between cleaning, harsh cleaning and whizzing? I’ve written many times before that most characteristics we use to describe coins can be described using terms that denote advancing stages or degrees. Thus, in many cases, writing about coins can be more complicated than it should be because one man’s hairlines are another man’s harsh cleaning.

    One of the first things we did at the ANA’s Certification Service was to define whizzing based on what we could see using a stereo microscope. From then on, the term whizzed only applied to coins having the characteristic thin, pushed-up lip of metal at the edge of its relief design. This built-up deposit (Figure 1) is caused as the wheel’s wire bristles left the surface of the coin. It is seen as the thin bright, line inside the right loop of the “U.”

    Even whizzing occurs in degrees! Figure 2 shows a harsher, mid-range whizzed surface which is rarely encountered as by this stage the coin is totally ruined and unattractive. The primary whizzing lip shows on the digits and a secondary lip is into the surrounding field. Believe it or not, there is another stage of whizzing worse than this.

    Anything similar we saw on coins without the characteristic lip became a form of mechanical abrasion in all its different degrees. Unfortunately, some of those authors and teachers who know what they are talking about may have failed to pass down our set-in-stone definition to the new generation of collectors that eschews books and numismatic seminars in favor of Internet chat rooms. Thus, coins with a few random hairlines visible in an Internet photo are called harshly cleaned and even whizzed by many uninformed collectors.

    On occasion, it seems to me that there are not enough members who know what they are writing about to correct the misuse of terms or educate posters about the existence of degrees with most things they see.

    When does a small scratch become a gouge? When does a hit become a scrape? At the beginning of the seminars I teach, students view slides and I go over the definitions and degree of most of the characteristics they’ll see on coins so they’ll have a common understanding of the terms we’ll use in class.

    It may be time to do some of that here [Numismatic News column] in the future. Obviously, I hope my efforts writing these columns will stand the test of time so that one day, some as yet born professional numismatist will be able to say about me, “He knew what he was writing about.”

    PS I missed this :facepalm: from cpm9ball in my post above: "[Mint] Luster is created by the (surface) flow lines of the metal when the coin is struck and the metal moves outward toward the rim. Whizzing removes the flow lines." Now, it's Perfect. ;)
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  14. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Couldn't agree more !

    There are a whole lot coins, including some in slabs, that have been labeled as whizzed - that have not been whizzed !
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  15. Lehigh96

    Lehigh96 Toning Enthusiast

    I purchased the coin raw and thought it was lightly cleaned based on the sellers photos, when I got the coin in hand, I determined that it had been whizzed. I sent it to NGC for certification because I thought it would increase the liquidity of the coin. I sold it for basically what I paid and my loss was limited to transaction fees. Here is a photo of it raw.

    I would also like to add that having seen this coin in hand, I can say without hesitation that this coin would fool many collectors into thinking it was an gem uncirculated coin. It had an alluring quality that is tough to explain in words.

    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
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  16. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    I agree w/Lehigh's post and add this: "I would also like to add that having seen this coin in hand, I can say without hesitation that this coin would fool [very] many collectors into thinking it was an gem uncirculated coin. It had an alluring quality that is tough to explain in words. Here's one: "Mesmerizing."
  17. PassthePuck

    PassthePuck Well-Known Member

    Okay, so how do you tell whether or not, a coin has been Whizzed if it has toning? Couldn't someone whiz a coin and then use special chemicals to tone the coin to help hide the Whizzing?
  18. ksparrow

    ksparrow Coin Hoarder Supporter

    Thanks for bringing this thread back. It really deserves to be read again. I guess that whizzed & toned coins exist, but I think the main purpose of whizzing was to simulate "blast white" lustrous unc. coins. However, the pseudo-luster doesn't cartwheel like genuine luster, and should be discernible beneath the AT. This is not to say that some folks wouldn't be fooled.
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  19. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    You cannot hide true whizzing as the relief of the coin is changed by the movement of metal.
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  20. ksparrow

    ksparrow Coin Hoarder Supporter

    came across a whizzed Trade Dollar (marked as such by our friends at ICG) on eBay. thought I would post the pics here:
    whizzed trade dollar obv.jpg whizzed trade dollar rev..jpg
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  21. Sting 60

    Sting 60 Well-Known Member

    Hello, can someone please tell me if they think this mercury has been whizzed? Thanks.

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