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Weak Strike Or Circulation Wear Or Rub

 
 
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 Posted 11/14/2019  3:39 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add johnny676767 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I have always struggled with the Buffalo (Bison) Nickel series and determining whether an example often marketed as UNC is indeed so. Many of these have a weak strike or show some rub but are considered UNC. Here is a good example of what I mean. To me it looks like the areas I circled have some wear- or maybe they are weakly struck? I guess according to PCGS, it is a weak strike. What are your opinions?

I am really trying to understand this because I have been buying graded UNC examples but the raw ones can be had for a better price.








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 Posted 11/14/2019  3:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add basebal21 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I have been buying graded UNC examples but the raw ones can be had for a better price.


There's reasons for that and it often hurts the buyer more in the long run
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 Posted 11/14/2019  5:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I always look for luster breaks first when examining a "mint state" coin.
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 Posted 11/14/2019  5:37 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add T-BOP to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I feel your pain when grading Buffalo nickels . The areas that you pointed out are typical weak spots on most Buff Nickels . In my opinion those areas are NOT from wear on that coin you posted . A nice MS Coin .
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 Posted 11/14/2019  9:40 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add fortcollins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Buffs are one of the most challenging series to grade. Weakness can come from five different factors, and any combination can appear on almost any date and mint in the series.

Design weakness
Die state (die wear)
Die polishing
Strike quality
Circulation Wear

Design weakness issues. The Buff went through nine different obverse and two different reverse designs in its short history. Most of these changes were made to prevent or in response to weakness in the strike or premature loss of detail from circulation. None of the obverse design changes accomplished their purposes. The two types of reverses in 1913 exist because of premature wear on FIVE CENTS on the type 1 coins. This change was generally successful. LIBERTY was designed with weak lettering in 1913, and that design persisted through 1915. The word is so weak on many 1913-15 coins that strength or weakness of LIBERTY should be ignored when grading those dates. The small size of the coin relative to the cluttered design forced placement of the date on one of the highest points of the obverse, the Indian's shoulder. This led to premature wear. The problem was worsened by placement of the left ribbon, which blended into the date on moderately circulated coins. This ribbon was strengthened, weakened, curled, narrowed, and moved repeatedly throughout the series, without success in protecting the date.

Die state (die wear) issues. All three mints overused the dies. The two branch mints were unfamiliar with minting subsidiary coins, and certainly struggled with striking a complex design on a hard metal. To strike the design, they used high striking pressure. To meet production goals, they used the worn dies far too long. To save individual dies, they swapped one die at a time, rather than die pairs. All of this led to very late die state strikes and badly mismatched die pairings.

Die polishing issues. The dies clashed frequently. The cluttered design produced well-known obvious clashes, including the Indian's chin with EPU, the second feather with the top of the buffalo's head, and the buffalo's right rear leg with LIBERTY. Die polishing to eliminate the clash marks also damaged integrity of the design.

Strike quality. Philadelphia coins are generally decently struck. San Francisco coins are generally terribly struck. Pre-1934 Denver coins are generally terribly struck. Some dates and mints are almost never found well struck. Examples of awful strike years include 1924-D, 1925-D, and 1926-S.

Circulation wear. Five cents was quite a bit of money during the recession of 1921-1923 and the depression of 1929-1939. The coins circulated heavily. Poor design, over-used and over-polished dies, and weak strikes rapidly became unrecognizable dates and mints with heavy circulation.

Technical grades aside, the scarcest Buff in almost every date and mint is any coin meeting the following four criteria: a higher grade well-struck coin from an evenly-matched die pair without evident die clashes. A coin meeting these criteria in EF-40 may well sell for more than a typical MS-63.
Edited by fortcollins
11/14/2019 9:43 pm
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 Posted 11/14/2019  9:46 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add solotime to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Buffalo nickels can be so hard to grade. Which is why I kind of only stuck with ones that were 1935 or newer.

I sent over 120+ Buffalo nickels to PCGS and my best one got MS-67.
But somehow I sent a AU-58 that looked like it was a MS63 to me.
Edited by solotime
11/14/2019 9:47 pm
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 Posted 11/15/2019  07:18 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add acloco to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Buffalo nickels are tough to grade. As Fort Collins pointed out, there are many considerations when grading.

Multiple year and branchmints are treated separately.

IMHO, I do not like this particular example at MS because of the hits on the obverse - nose, cheek, chin, couple with the areas you circled on the reverse.
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