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Thoughts, Please: Is It Ever Okay To Buy Details Coins?

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United States
315 Posts
 Posted 12/17/2019  3:15 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Sharkman to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I have never even considered buying a details coin. I have always viewed them as essentially contaminated and unresellable.
Recently, though, I have been bitten by the old coin bug. First I bought a very attractive 1819 xf45 capped bust half. I followed with a beautiful AU58 draped bust Half Cent. I think it's really cool to have coins issued during the presidencies of founding fathers Jefferson and Monroe.
Going any earlier gets very expensive even in much lower grades. I particularly want a coin issued during the presidency of my historical hero, George Washington. I could go with a 1794 or 1795 Half Cent or large cent in the VG10 or F12 range, which would be very well worn. Maybe too worn for my taste.
Which brings me to my question. In keeping track of Heritage Auctions, I see as many of half the pre-1800 coins, and most of the pre-1798 listings grade with details such as cleaned, repaired, environmental damage, tooled (whatever that is) etc. Many of these details coins are graded considerably higher than, and many times more attractive than, heavily worn straight graded coins. For example, Heritage is currently listing a repaired 1795 small eagle silver dollar with either vf or xf details grades. When I examine the photo, I see two places that look like die cracks, and to me they make the coin no less attractive than die cracks would make it. I find it to be an attractive coin I could never afford with a straight grade. I'm not sure I can afford it even with a details grade, but there are other lower denomination coins that might now be in reach for me.
So, brutally honest opinions, please. Am I considering a fool's errand, or are coins of these very early types an exception to the never buy problem coins adage?
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Canada
3147 Posts
 Posted 12/17/2019  3:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add oriole to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Well, if half of the Heritage pre-1798 coins are details, it is quite clear to me that these are perfectly sellable. These are obviously rare in any state, so if the look of them is otherwise acceptable, I would not hesitate to get them.
Bedrock of the Community
13014 Posts
 Posted 12/17/2019  3:46 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add basebal21 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
There's a market for details coins and they aren't the kiss of death that they would be on moderns. There are several types of details coins I would prefer over a heavily worn 02/03 just to say I have a straight graded one.

Not all details coins are equals either. Some aren't to be like light cleaning or questionable color, where others are really bad like tooled, wizzed, repaired (it's not to bad if it's just the rim but really bad if its the main design etc. A lot of early copper is corroded to some extent, slightly bent doesn't always jump out at you.

It's up to you to decide, just be aware of how the market treats whatever the reason in. Many people cant afford a lot of the early coins unless they were details and a number of them many wouldn't necessarily pick up on the reason if they were in an album instead of a slab.

It would be better to avoid the ones with major issues barring a major discount, but if you prefer them over low grade ones there's nothing wrong with that.
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United States
1613 Posts
 Posted 12/17/2019  3:54 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Alpha2814 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The older they are, the more I can justify it (especially for the prices some of straight-graded ones demand). Even then, it's all about eye appeal.

I've bought only a few, for album purposes, and kept the slab-labels with the album for identification. But for my type set, I'm sticking with straight grades.
Working on: Indian quarter eagles, Chinese pandas, and San Francisco tokens; upgrading my Peace dollar and US Type sets

"Fear is the enemy of will. Will is what makes you take action; fear is what stops you, and makes you weak."
-- Sinestro to (my avatar) Hal Jordan, "Green Lantern" (2011)
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United States
7189 Posts
 Posted 12/17/2019  4:44 pm  Show Profile   Check edweather's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add edweather to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Absolutely ok. Of course, price is always a consideration.
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United States
1165 Posts
 Posted 12/17/2019  5:05 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hfjacinto to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I love details coins :) When they are in an album no one cares. A few of these are details, can you tell?



Bedrock of the Community
Australia
16443 Posts
 Posted 12/17/2019  6:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nothing wrong with buying a 'details' U.S. coin,
provided the price is right.
Depending on the type and severity of the 'details',
expect a price reduction of 50% to 90% against an equivalent problem free coin of the same grade.


Actually, I have quite a nice (but small) collection silver half dimes, Three Cents, and Dimes that are all holed.
I bought them for next to nothing, but now quite a legitimate collection.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With ancient coins, almost all of them are 'details' in some way or other, and in some cases, expect no price reduction at all.
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United States
829 Posts
 Posted 12/17/2019  7:00 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CitationSquirrel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If you're interested in older coins, you're gonna run into them. You have to decide what you can stomach ..... Both condition and price.
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United States
2196 Posts
 Posted 12/17/2019  7:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add cipster to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I usually try to avoid details coins except for bust half dollars. I'm OK with buying them with old cleanings. My understanding is that bust halfs were very often cleaned in the old days. In the early to mid 1800's half dollars were premium coins and people cleaned them to keep the coins looking good.
Member ANA and EAC

"You got to lose to know how to win".
Dream On by Aerosmith
Pillar of the Community
United States
609 Posts
 Posted 12/17/2019  8:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Ballyhoo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I bid on an 1843o Seated Liberty dime, PCGS VF damaged (a very minor scratch-on the obverse gown) and lost closing at $342.25. If you are familiar with these, in very fine they bring $1100 easily. The buyer got a tremendous deal. Had I won that coin and posted it without showing the holder I doubt very much if anyone here would have got the correct grade. So, yes, details grades are quite acceptable at times.
Valued Member
United States
67 Posts
 Posted 12/17/2019  8:57 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TimNH to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
"Ever OK"? To each his own, but to me it is ALWAYS OK to buy a details coin, or better yet a raw one w/out any plastic casing at all. Or even better yet, a big ol' lot of them that come in a bag. You can get sooooo much more coin for your dollar.

Well, some sorts of Details like ugly graffiti or a hole, those are not for me, but a mild cleaning, or an honest "scratch", at a giant savings? heck yeah.
Edited by TimNH
12/17/2019 8:59 pm
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United States
8367 Posts
 Posted 12/17/2019  9:55 pm  Show Profile   Check paralyse's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add paralyse to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nothing wrong with details grades, I collect early copper & colonials and problem-free examples especially of scarcer die varieties can be difficult to locate, ridiculously expensive, or both, and sometimes they won't even show up at auction for years at a time.

I also have some details coins that I like for other reasons, such as some holed 19th century type coins (large cents, Half Cents, silver), lots of counterstamped coins, etc.

If collecting something makes you happy, regardless of what it is, how can it not be okay?
Member ANA - EAC - TNA - SSDC
Specializing in 1932-1964 Washington quarters

"Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." -- Louis D. Brandeis
Pillar of the Community
United States
4448 Posts
 Posted 12/17/2019  10:23 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add kanga to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It is DEFINITELY okay to buy Details coins.

I've got two in my collection.

One is a Rarity 5+ coin; it's the only one I've ever found.
I look at it as a hole filler but it will probably be the only one I'll ever have.

The other is a coin that cost a bunch but would have cost $15,000-20,000 if it had original surfaces.

So rarity or price are valid reasons to spend money on a Details coin.
The alternative is maybe never having a particular item.
Describe it as if there were no picture.
Picture it as if there were no description.
Pillar of the Community
United States
1801 Posts
 Posted 12/17/2019  11:54 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add merclover to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It's always ok to buy a coin you like. Period.
Pillar of the Community
United States
1801 Posts
 Posted 12/18/2019  12:18 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add merclover to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
BEAUTIFUL Peace dollars hfjacinto!
Pillar of the Community
Canada
3147 Posts
 Posted 12/18/2019  01:53 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add oriole to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Straight Good or XF details (old cleaning). I am having trouble seeing why I would prefer the straight graded one.
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