I just got back my first PCGS submission, this 1985 P dime. I won't grumble over nor question the grade, if only because they did give me the FB designation, which I wasn't sure whether to expect or not. The split between the bottom bands doesn't go all the way to the left and right edge of the torch. It's both good to know and encuoraging to know it doesn't have to, because that's what kept a lot of my good dimes in the 'don't send for grading' category.
What I want to ask about is how the price guide works, and also the population figures. First, yes I know the price guide is just a guide, not a mandate, but I'm curious about how the prices are derived, and why the data don't appear to correlate with what PCGS says. According to the explanation on the website, "The prices listed in the PCGS Price Guide are average dealer asking prices for PCGS-graded coins." And it goes on to explain where they get the data in formulating those averages, including auctions, dealer fixed prices, website offerings, etc.. Now to be clear, I'm only offering my dime as an example of what's confusing to me, because it's the only one I have to work with, but my questions are more general.
Okay so navigating to the coin fact page for 1985 P dimes, I see that the sales histories include only the final hammer wins at AUCTIONS, not at all what I would call "dealer asking prices." Why do you think they worded the first sentence of their explanation that way, when it's clearly not the case? What about 'Buy It Now' sales? Just in this brief search I've seen several sold BIN's on Ebay, where the seller was offering a PCGS-slabbed coin LOWER than its' price guide, and that number has a line through it, with 'Best offer accepted' (who knows how much less). Don't sales like that matter?
So there's my first question. Secondly, just playing around looking at their coin facts for other dime dates, I haven't seen any sales histories more recent than January of this year. Maybe I just didn't look at enough dimes to see any up-to-date data, but it begs the question: HOW do they gather these data? Do they have some kind of software automation to shoot the figures to the charts instantaneously when an auction ends? Seems like it would be an insanely daunting task for humans, even a team of them, to do manually.
However the data are compiled, how often is the average figured for each coin grade, to determine whether the current price guide should go up or down by whatever dollar amount?
Finally, about the population figures. Why are there so few plus grades? I see tons of these 'number'+ columns with no data (meaning zero graded as such, I guess), and those that have any are usually only '1' or other low single digit. After some searching I learned that the plus has only been used since 2010, so that would account for there being lower plus populations than non-plus, but why SO low? I mean just considering god-knows how many thousands of coins received in nine years, wouldn't you expect to see more plusses than THIS?
Incidentally I spied something mysterious. --The 1927 D Mercury dime, regular strike, in grade 66+ appears to have a population of only 1. Yet right below show three auctions between Jan. 2015 and March 2016. Sooooo...does that mean the same dime was auctioned three times in fourteen months?
And LASTLY (thanks for anyone still reading), I see that the 1985 P Roosevelt grade MS66+ FB has a population of just 1. So....is that MY dime? Am I, MOI, the sole possessor of this particular date/mintmark/grade?
Quote: HOW do they gather these data? Do they have some kind of software automation to shoot the figures to the charts instantaneously when an auction ends? Seems like it would be an insanely daunting task for humans, even a team of them, to do manually.
It's a computer program. Their auction history isn't complete info as it mainly captures from Heritage, Legend, Stacks and eBay. Sometime around 2016 for whatever reason it seemed to stop capturing DL and GC auctions. Whether that was because of the auction houses, an incompatibility issue or a decision by PCGS I do not know. eBay it is generally decent at capturing the listings but it doesn't get everything which likely has to do with something with how the sellers listed it.
Quote: Why are there so few plus grades?
The + grade for PCGS is more than just missed the next grade up, they have an eye appeal requirement for it too. Basically it has to have just missed and have above average to outstanding eye appeal as well so they are rather stingy with the plus grade. It's basically saying this is an exceptional piece for the grade so it isn't given often. If everything prior to when it started was resubmitted the percentage would go up some, but it wouldn't explode.
Quote: Incidentally I spied something mysterious. --The 1927 D Mercury dime, regular strike, in grade 66+ appears to have a population of only 1. Yet right below show three auctions between Jan. 2015 and March 2016. Sooooo...does that mean the same dime was auctioned three times in fourteen months?
Yes it's the same 66+ CAC dime for all three Heritage appearances.
Quote: I see that the 1985 P Roosevelt grade MS66+ FB has a population of just 1. So....is that MY dime? Am I, MOI, the sole possessor of this particular date/mintmark/grade?
Occasionally it takes a couple days for the pops to update, but if you have had the submission back for a bit then yes yours is the only one. If you have only had it back a day or two, you most likely are but you will know for sure in a couple days
Thanks for the answers--yall are so kind to do so. This slab cost me $32 through my local shop, including the PCGS handling and shipping; my shop doesn't charge anything over what they pay. I was hoping to get a higher number and I'm not sure what points were taken off for. --These photos were the best I could do with a very outdated phone (Galaxy S3!) and through slab plastic, then transmitted from phone to laptop to Picasa to Coin Community, but it's a really beautiful dime. I don't want to get into grade fairness for this coin though; I am too new and too unclear on PCGS criteria to raise beef, other than to say I think it's generally unreasonable that they don't share anything resembling a rubric with the public. Then again, the other TPG's don't either, so there's an opportunity for one of them (or a new one) to literally set the standard for standardization. As it stands there are not so subtle musky notes of good ol boy, and I say that not from my own single experience as much as things other people say. If people could know exactly how the number was figured it would eliminate a lot of people's view of unfairness, and especially make buying and selling decisions easier. All the arguments over which TPG is too strict or lenient based on anecdotes would all but disappear, as would any speculation about withholding of a next higher grade whether it deserves it or not, just to keep the population in check. If they really do that, that's like bell curve student grading, and as a teacher I would have been fired for that, and I always had to provide detailed rubrics for all subjective work assignments (BEFORE-hand, not just with the grade, so they could know exactly what to do for the grades they wanted).
Anyway, I'm also too new to say whether I agree or disagree about the + thing. I'm glad to receive one sure, but as noted it probably won't make this dime worth more than a solid MS67, and Spruett makes a good point about how it just conflates things. The fact that there's no firm consensus on its' meaning speaks for itself. The article I read (written just before implementation) said that it was a simultaneous move by PCGS and NGC, and that they were only making official a system that dealers had already been using for years. It said the designation would be given to the top 30% of a grade, and I have not seen anyone else cite that figure in any discussions. I have seen the 'eye appeal' explanation and something along the lines of 'grade.5' as in '66 and a half,' thereby theoretically doubling the number of grades over 60 or whatever number it starts being used (I can't remember). Pair that with the fact that we don't get much to understand grading specifics besides photos of single coins representing the difference between 66 and 67 (etc.), with toning making it all the more confusing, and........well. Yeah conflation is putting it nicely.
So maybe by now yall have deduced what brought on this whole line of questioning. Even though, like I said, I was only offering my dime as an example, what I do see is a discrepancy between PCGS's price guide and actual final sales prices. Of course I wouldn't be able to see any sales of MS66+ FB dimes if mine is the only one, but I do recall seeing at least a couple 67's sell for way less than the price guide. This is what made me go down the rabbit hole of where PCGS gets those figures, and the many tunnels that rabbit hole turned out to branch into. I'm not familiar with NumisMedia. Is it a more reliable source? Whatever the best source is, I sure could use it to make decisions about which coins to send or not send, especially if the potential price is anywhere near the cost of grading.
First, the PCGS Price Guide or any other guide (such as the Red Book or the NGC site) is just a guide. They are generally known for exaggerating the prices. The scale within them can be useful if you knock the actual numbers down a bit over the grades. So, they have a use, but are in no way gospel.
Quote: I think it's generally unreasonable that they don't share anything resembling a rubric with the public.
The "rubric" is heavily based upon the Sheldon scale:
It has been changed, for sure, but that's the basis.
Quote: All the arguments over which TPG is too strict or lenient based on anecdotes would all but disappear
I disagree. The strictness or leniency of a specific TPG will always be the talk of the town. It's a human process, and should remain as such. There will always be differing opinions, and I welcome that.
Quote: Whatever the best source is, I sure could use it to make decisions about which coins to send or not send, especially if the potential price is anywhere near the cost of grading.
That's where experience/knowledge comes in handy. I have considered sending coins in to be graded, but I have yet to do so. I'm not in a rush. You must rely on your knowledge of the market itself for that coin and the costs of the grading services available. There's no guide for that. Take your time.
Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum. -Lucretius
"Just because you're paranoid don't mean they're not after you." -Kurdt Kobain
The reason I said in the initial post, "First, yes I know the price guide is just a guide," was because I expected someone would say that, but I didnt' expect it after I acknowledged it. But okay thanks. That scale is more specific than anything I've seen yet. I don't know why PCGS doesn't have it on their 'Standards' link, just the photos of singular (anecdotal) graded coins.
Quote: As it stands there are not so subtle musky notes of good ol boy, and I say that not from my own single experience as much as things other people say.
And those people should be ignored. What you will learn if you get personal experience with submitting is that A LOT of what you read online about the top TPGs is false. There are so many nonsense rumors about good old boy grading, grades being held back, etc and it's all nonsense. Most people can't grade as well as they think they can, some of the people saying it are bitter their coins didn't grade better, others are dealers who the TPGs have made it harder for them to upsell their coins, some is people with no clue, and then the unfortunate people that mean well but read bad information and believe it.
As soon as someone starts going on about preferable grades based off submitter for a first tier TPG just stop reading, it's a waste of your time.
Quote: Wait, I just reread what you said. Are you advising me on experience and knowledge, and saying you have never sent a coin for grading? Or did you just mean certain coins?
I have never sent any coin in for grading/encapsulation. The reason is that any of the potential coins were worth less than the grading fees. Do I need to lose money on a submission to prove something? This was actually the most important part of what I wrote:
Quote: You must rely on your knowledge of the market itself for that coin and the costs of the grading services available. There's no guide for that.
Knowledge alone is good. Knowledge plus experience is great. Experience without knowledge is useless.
Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum. -Lucretius
"Just because you're paranoid don't mean they're not after you." -Kurdt Kobain
In my experience, sometimes you get the grade you expect, sometimes it's higher, sometimes it is lower. It al evens out in the end. I deal with PCGS exclusively as a collector.
I realize I am somewhat different than a lot of collectors but I often slab coins that aren't worth more than the grading fees. I pick coins with amazing eye appeal (to me) and send them in because I like them, to be protected permanently. Then I put them into my collection and they never leave. So imho if you like the coin, (and it is a nice looker!) put it into your collection and appreciate it whenever you want to and I wouldn't worry about the grade or fee again. Maybe the next one will come back a grade or two higher than expected :)
I'm no "expert" and I've considered grading some coins for a long time, but I like to know everything and understand it before I do anything from my understanding of it:
The "+" after the grade for PCGS just means the coin is in the top 30% of what they have seen for that particular grade with exceptional eye appeal compared to other coins under that PCGS population number. It doesn't mean it just missed MS67, the "+" is about how the coin looks compared to others of the same grade in their opinion.
"So....is that MY dime? Am I, MOI, the sole possessor of this particular date/mintmark/grade? " Yes, it meant yours is the only MS66+FB. You can see it here on certificate verification https://www.PCGS.com/cert/37736145
Values go up and down due to what collectors are willing to spend at the time one goes for sale, and how many others there are also. Catalog prices and " RedBook" aren't ever right. Just the way it goes. it depends on a bunch of variables on any given day you try to sell something. A dealer will give you like 10% of the value if you try to sell him anything, he's got to sit on it, and it has to at some point pay for his overhead. It's pawn shop or pet store business theory. They will buy from you but it will be cheap so they are sure to turn a profit at some later point, and if they can't sell it, they don't lose much.
That 1927 D 10C MS66 coin, there is nothing higher on there currently without a MS66 "FB" designation. And it seems to be being used for charity auctions by Heritage. I don't think they actually deliver the coin, and keep recirculating it, to generate charity revenue and a tax deduct for the high bidder for the donation. At least that's what it looks like to me. I think the "FB" designation was started in the early 2000s I think also. It wasn't always like that.
your coin has about 40 examples with higher grades than yours, which is significant enough to hold the price back on yours. a select few collectors trying to build the bst registry set on PCGS don't need the 66 for that year, they need the MS67 for that year. Also how it goes...
Now as far as prices and Ebay and what it actually sold for, take the Ebay item number and copy it and past it into a website called "Watchcount.com" if it was a buy it/make offer and struck through, watchcount will have the actual sold price listed. once you past in the number and click "show Me" there will be a yellow box that says "click to use our lookup tool to see the listing" and it will tell you everything that might not normally be visible on the ebay site itself.
There are only a few plus grades because its for only coins in any grade with exceptional eye appeal. the grade is the condition, the "+" means it's prettier than the majority of the others for that grade.
That's really the purpose of the barcode and individualized numbers on the slab, for ease of cataloging the transactions and what they sold for when they changed hands. itentify it down to the single unit and be able to track it's movements if people submit the data to them.
Not everyone on ebay will list it with the slab number, but if they do, ebay is giving that info to PCGS, same goes for the auction houses.
Same goes for NGC slabs. the number and barcode is a tracking system to build a database if it's used. It doesn't need to be used every time coins change hands, but it is used by places where they are usually sold so the data and prices can be tracked.
Generally speaking if your coin isn't top population, it's not going to be worth anything crazy unless its something severely low mintage. there's a huge difference between MS66FB with 40 or more MS67's above it, vs a MS66 with only 2-4 MS66FB above it.
Full split bands aren't going to get you very far if it's MS64 when theres 200 graded higher 65,66,67 above it, even without FSB, know what I mean?
This is my understand of it all, and I could be wrong, as I first stated, I am no expert on any of this, in fact, I'm still on the fence about submitting my first coin for grading myself.
Quote: There are only a few plus grades because its for only coins in any grade with exceptional eye appeal. the grade is the condition, the "+" means it's prettier than the majority of the others for that grade.
The plus is a part of the grade too. The coin has to be at the top of the grade to have a chance, but the eye appeal aspect of the plus is what disqualifies most coins that technically could have gotten it.
Quote: Not everyone on ebay will list it with the slab number, but if they do, ebay is giving that info to PCGS, same goes for the auction houses.
Heritage, Stacks, Legend, and eBay are the four major ones that allow the PCGS system to capture their prices. A couple years ago some of the others that used to be captured blocked their results which was likely so you have to go to their webpage to see them and might bid while you're there.