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Luster, Gray Toning And Dipping: How Do They Relate And Does 1870 Matter?

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 Posted 10/08/2018  4:06 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Sharkman to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I sort of think about dipping like steroids in baseball circa 2000: it's cheating but everybody does it to level the playing field. Unless it's done wrong, dipping appears more likely to enhance value (at least in decades past) than to diminish it.
Speaking of high grade (A.U. - M.S.) 19th century silver coins, in my relatively brief experience, most before 1870 seem to tone to a battleship gray color, usually with some, but not much luster. Although I have several high grade gray Morgans, most are bright and shiny, often with impressive luster. I also have a lustrous 1875s twenty cent piece (ms63), a lustrous 1877s Trade dollar (ms63) , and a lustrous 1891 Seated quarter (ms63). I have looked at pictures of hundreds of other coins, and this seems to be the general rule, although I did find one dark toned, low luster type one Standing Liberty quarter with an ms66fh grade.
Am I seeing something that isn't there? If I am not, can someone explain why there seems to be an increase in untoned coins beginning in about 1870? I suspect it has something to do with dipping, which seems a little analogous to paint stripping. Dip a little, the toning comes off but much of the luster remains. Dip too much, and both the toning and the luster are completely stripped away.
So was there some change in dipping practices that has led to the gray/shiny dichotomy I have described? Are my later 19th century shiny coins (except for Morgans that spent 80 years in vaults unreleased) likely dipped?
What about later coins? Are bright shiny mint state Barber coins likely to be dipped, and as we move forward in time do we ever reach a point (Mercury Dime, Washington quarter?) where coins probably are not dipped? It probably doesn't make any difference in the market (no one would dip if people didn't like shiny coins) and ultimately maybe not in my buying decisions, as I only buy coins I find attractive and enjoy looking at, but I am curious.
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 Posted 10/08/2018  4:24 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Dorado to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
to the Forum.
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 Posted 10/08/2018  4:57 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jst1dreamr to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
to CCF. Now those are observations worthy of scratching your head about.
IMO people will always do to coins what ever most people find attractive. I am like you in that I buy coins based a lot on eye appeal if they are coins I want to keep. When I sell I also adjust the asking price some what based on eye appeal. I don't see any slow down of dipping as I have also noticed an increased acceptance among buyers of all levels of expertise in numismatics. There are also many more people with a new intrest in coins with the roll out of so many "treasure hunter" type shows on television and the internet feeding people so many false get rich quick stories. Every person by nature needs a dream to follow.
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 Posted 10/08/2018  5:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SilverDollar2017 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
You are correct. In the 60s and after, dealers dipped older coins like Seated dollars and CBHs so they could "compete" with the bright lustrous Morgan dollars from the treasury vaults. Therefore, most Seated dollars are cleaned, some have cleaned and toned over, and few still have original surfaces.

Every coin series will have dipped/polished/altered coins. Just that it's easier to find original Morgan/Peace/Walking liberty/mercury dimes, unlike series such as all Seated coinage/capped bust/draped bust/etc., which are difficult to find with crusty original surfaces.
Collector of all classic US coinage.

How to identify cleaned coins:
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