Ok......this coin was posted in another string in 2019. I am posting it here with new questions as the old post has so many comments I think it will be overlooked from my added comment a year later.
Ok....first....Grapecollects? You are scary. AU55....Nailed it.
Grapecollects called it AU55 way back. Others 58. Others higher. But 55 is what it got.
Having noted that, and credit given where credit is due, and other folks not far off, I need something from you fine folks. You owe me nothing. I get that.
But I posted my Trueview from PCGS....and.....a number of Trueview graded PCGS samples.
A level playing field. No more what-ifs. Here we are....
I would like to know if someone can explain the technical reasons, or any reason, why the Stone Mountain I submitted got lumped in with the numerous AU55 (go see for yourself on PCGS, and my samples below) hideous looking and clearly worn beyond commom sense, 50C Stone Mountain samples?
I understand the TPG's see things we don't, and are highly educated for this task. I am highly educated, but not for coins, but my brain housing group does function in the common sense reality realm (most of the time), but again, a level playing field now, and my brain has just stalled on a word I think comes into play here......CONSISTENCY. Yes, I do NOT see it here. I hope someone can give a detiled and realistic explanation of the 'why'.
And, I see this as an opportunity for the Bedrocks and Pillars here to educate we Pebbles on why what we see makes sense...or does it?
I truly want to learn what to be looking for in future coins as this has raised some serious questions in my mind. The MS68+'s are ~TEN grades away from my submitted coin (my sample is not a MS-68 sample, I know that, but AU55?). How is that possible...CONSIDERING my comparison posts from PCGS? Again, I really am trying to learn why there is such a wide gap with authentically graded samples we can all see for comparison. I am all eye's. Lol
I will also say I have the same question for other lowly graded coins I sent. Same comparisons.
Yes...I am sure I will get the why it's an AU55...but if true, then how do we explain the other AU55's I posted below? And the TEN grade difference from the MS68's? Looking at same sourced pictures. Fair in its presentation.
I really want to hear how it is compared accurately/technically to the slop of AU55's I see on PCGS, and there are many more. Ok. Here's the picture samples:
To answer your question on why the rest of the AUs look like crap and yours is pretty and why it got AU I can offer my opinion. When you take a formal class on grading with the ANA one of the first things they teach you is toning, while some may find it pleasant, others not, is very good at hiding things. Whether that be wear, cleaning, or other problems, toning is very good at hiding it. Your coin is very well struck, and that's why even as it is an AU it hides that fact well, combined with the toning it very adeptly hides the wear.
On the obverse, I see rub on the forehead and hat of the two horseback men. As well as on the saddlebags, and rims. The reverse shows rub on the eagle's breast and wingtips.
As for the comps, the first two examples shown were quite weakly struck to begin with, which makes them show their wear more blatantly. In addition, the third example which has a comparable quality strike has no or little luster remaining.
Your coin by comparison has high quality luster and great eye appeal.
Grape? Excellent comment. I will respond later today. With so many comments here, I am going to post as a new topic for others to practice grade skills. And yes....see those differences as you explained. So if you see it again, I would ignore, or post your explantion. No problem. Good practice and knowledge for all. Ok...
Yours is really nice. Those other 55s are what we see on eBay at full retail even though they are not worth it.
I really don't like cutting slack for coins that are poorly struck. Went into this a few years back about Buffalo nickles. If they are going to grade all those as 55's, they aught to have a details comment about the strike since they are obviously not worth the same. But uneducated "collectors" will go by the slab grade and trends and pay up.
As I pointed out in your original thread (before you had the coin in a PCGS holder), there are signs of wear on your coin - this immediately takes it out of the realm of mint state and makes AU the best possible grade.
While it is clear that your coin has a different look (some might say "more appealing") vs. the other AU coins you posted, it doesn't mean it is more AU than the others. The grade assigned to a coin reflects its overall grade, taking into consideration many factors.
Based on the images provided, in addition to some wear on its high points your coin has surface digs on the reverse between the stars nearest "Memorial" - something the other AU coins shown do not have. Your coin also has a noticeable rim ding above the second "S" in "STATES" on the reverse. Again, not something I see on the other AU coins presented. Rim dings are never a positive characteristic when a coin is being graded.
IMO, your coin has been properly (not "ridicuously") graded and doesn't match the surface quality of the coins graded much higher. That's not to say your coin isn't attractive and that it might not be more appealing than many other AU-55 coins, but that doesn't change the fact that it has some small surface issues that make it an AU coin.
Next time you are at a coin show, I recommend you try to do a side-by-side comparison of several same-dated coins graded MS-65 ( Morgan silver dollars are usually the easiest to find in quantity) and note the differences in visual appeal between them - you will likely find some coins you feel are undergraded and some you believe are overgraded. This is true across the board and why it's always recommended that a collector "buy the coin and not the holder."
You've got a nice coin, I hope you can remain happy with it being in your collection.
Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Got it. Same as grapecollects explained and I accept it. I still don't like it, but I accept it as the 'Why'. ANA standards. Toning, though very attractive (sometimes not) can hide many things as well. But I get the analysis noted by all. I knew about the wear here and there. But my eyes see what you see, and as newb I could not wrap my head around it. No more questions on that.
So, a learning experience indeed. And to Commems.....fear not, as this coin is so stunning in-hand and many I showed it to agree, that to not be happy with it is impossible. Lol. I am still thrilled to have it. Will continue to enjoy the hobby/hunt.
Lastly...I seriously would still be at a loss if it were not for the candid responses here at CC. Just a fact. I have been able to sort out most of this rather quickly because of that. Very happy about that. Still some questions in my mind about some things, but the major questions are answered. Big time saver and reduced frustration. Much appreciated.
Grape...ok. I see. ANA trains. But TPG's have their own standards. Ok...
Thanks...And yes...my name seems more appropriate considering the times. I live by my name. Lol. Just another love of mine. I would hope that everyone is 'considering' my name. For their own/families' safety.
Throwing Morgans at an aggressor may work if you have Kung Fu throwing star skills, but I'd rather go with my name.
Commens.....I wrote this novel below in another post. It asks the questions about wear and AU, etc. Yes, Grapecollects and yourself, others, explained very well why we see some dramatic differences in same grade types, and I really do get that. I understand the details as explained. But I still asked these questions below as another angle of the same question of why my/any coin gets a AU grade because of wear. I think I presented the question in a more detailed way, and believe it is a valid approach in asking the same question (I know....I rambling again...Lol). Anyway...read it if you have time, or anyone for that matter (Grape?), and see if it inspires any other thoughts or angles you can throw at me/us of the questions asked about AU/MS. If same answer, that's ok. Here it is:
My thoughts on AU designations are probably wrong per ANA training/TPG standards, technically speaking, but I would think that in reality, almost every coin out there, save the sealed from the mint type, has been in some kind of circulation. How can they not be? Having said that, it is why they have TEN levels of Mint State. Yes? If any circulation/wear shows, which you can find on about any coin, then all of them would be AUXX with any signs of circulation nullifying an MS designation. How could that not be a true statement? Where does the "Wear" draw the line on an MS state coin? TEN MS levels.
What KEEPS a coin in the TEN levels of MS might be a better way to ask it.
AUXX to me is a circulated coin that reaches a certain level of wear, that exceeds any chance of achieving one of the Ten Mint State conditions. MS-60 has been compromised. Hence...AUXX. Seems logical to me. What I have to get better at is looking at a coin like this one I submitted, and determine how it qualifies for one of the TEN levels of any Mint State, to have a more acceptable coin in my arsenal. I just looked at PCGS Photograde for AU55 Morgan. Compared to one of my low graded AU55 Morgans. What did I do? . None of this means an AUXX coin is not worthy. Just personal preference. Don't want hate mail. Lol.
So, even though as some have noted, "I see some evidence of circulation...it's an AUXX", I say Ok. But this Morgan is from a known substandard Mint year (New Orleans), I would think TPG's start from a grading baseline with that taken into consideration. Add some circulation evidence thrown in. But still in a 'Mint State" condition. But there is wear! How can that be?
So to me, this is a Mint State coin with some wear, evidence of circulation. Again.....that's why we have TEN levels of Mint State. Otherwise, it would be ONE Mint State condition. No levels. "Uhhh, there's a mark. A hairline. A bit of a rub mark, etc.. Duhhhh, Larry, you see that? Here, look in my 1000X microscope. A mark! Yup. No MS. It's an AUXX".
Maybe that is a naive assessment since I understand TPG's take many things into consideration, and I accept that (as you folks so clearly explained). I don't have to like it though. No one has to like it. But we play by the rules as established. To ask questions and try to understand the "Why" of a head-scratching grade, is normal. Completely fair. It does not change my view that I don't see what the professionals see with decades of experience. I get that. And still, accept it. Just frustrating as not being experienced, to catch up to the "Why". And let's admit it...even experienced folks/experts have disagreements on grading. So, all fair questions/statements as I see above in this chain, and many others.
So again...maybe I could have just simply asked with one sentence: "What KEEPS a coin IN the TEN levels of MS"
Just as an example of the "WHY" of a grade, this truly uncirculated Kennedy below (was in Cello to PCGS very PL and excellent contrast), got what I think was a low grade. To boot, which I was confident in getting, no CAM designation. Though any comparative coins (using a baseline of other TRUEVIEW graded Kennedy's), with less frostiness, did get it. I know comparisons to pictures are no longer, to me anyway, a good measure. TPG's see what we don't. Pictures can be deceptive. But it is a fair question with simple visuals, of a head-scratcher for this coin's SP65, no CAM grade (maybe "OF AMERICA"'s slight less frostiness caused a no CAM...don't know). And I just got all Slabs back today, less Error coins, and looked at this coin....what did I do? . It's clearly a CAM, and a sweet one. Better than TRUEVIEW depiction. However, I did check my wallet, and alas, I am not a Card-Carrying TPG member. . For those who are tired of explaining it to me, and others like me, chillax. No response is necessary. I accept what has been explained to me already. Not complaining. Just observations...thinking out loud. And this Kennedy is just an example to support my whining. So maybe just answer "What KEEPS a coin in the TEN levels of MS?" I still reserve the right to whine. .
OK, you've raised a number of issues in your post - here are a few thoughts...
1. Today, when grading coins, it is best to realize that "mint state" and "uncirculated" are different terms. They are not fully interchangeable terms and often are the source of confusion for collectors. While uncirculated was a grading term in the past, it has been replaced by "mint state" to more accurately reflect the surface condition of a coin. A coin may have never entered circulation (hence, "uncirculated") but it might not be mint state if it has suffered metal loss due to being rubbed (for example).
"Mint State" means no signs of metal loss on the coin and that its surfaces have not been rubbed away anywhere on the coin. A mint state coin can have bag marks or other scratches but it cannot exhibit a loss of metal (most oftern first seen on its design high points).
The grades MS-60 to MS-70 are for mint state coins, i.e., coins that do not have any metal loss due to wear of any kind. Coins housed in a US Mint Uncirculated Set would be considered "uncirculated" by most collectors - and in the sense that the coins had not entered circulation they would be correct - but one or more of the coins in the set may have rubbed up against other things (e.g., coins in other coin sets) over the years that caused them to lose some of their surface metal. Once that happens, the reputable grading services will no longer classify the coin as "mint state" and give it the appropriate circulated grade. Subjectively, the collector views the coin(s) as "uncirculated" but from a technical grading standard they may not be "mint state."
2. Regarding your comments about the TPGs taking into account the year and mint that struck the coin...they do recognize that there are differences within a series and therefore do make certain allowances in terms of strike characteristics. For example, if a particular mint is known to have strike issues for a given year (i.e., weak strikes), the issues are taken into account when the coin is graded. Allowances ARE NOT made, however, for wear. A coin with wear is going to be graded as an AU coin regardless of year and mint mark.
3. My impressions from reading your thoughts are that you want coins with light wear to be assigned a MS grade because they still - overall - look "uncirculated." Low-end MS grades are assigned to coins that have a high number of bag marks / scratches, rim dings, etc. but do not exhibit metal loss due to wear. There is no room on the MS scale for coins with wear.
Quote: So again...maybe I could have just simply asked with one sentence: "What KEEPS a coin IN the TEN levels of MS"
A coin that does not show metal loss due to wear. It may be "baggy" or otherwise look particularly ugly due to stains, dings, etc. but if it doesn't show metal loss, it remains a MS coin. When a coin shows metal loss, even a small amount, it is an AU coin.
Note: A TPG may decide to give a "No Grade" or "Details" grade to a coin that is technically mint state but has excessive marks, scratches, dings, etc.
4. Without having your Kennedy half dollar in hand, I'm not willing to take a guess as to its " CAM" worthiness. It takes close-up inspection to make the call on borderline coins and my eyes aren't good enough to do it solely via images. I believe your coin is such a borderline example.
Quote: My thoughts on AU designations are probably wrong per ANA training/TPG standards, technically speaking...
No offense, but I think it might be best if you change your views to match the current industry definitions.
@BuyGuns: I don't know if I've addressed all of your concerns. I do know that I repeated myself multiple times, but I believe it was necessary as it appears to me that most/all of your issues are tied together in an AU vs. MS bundle. Bottom line, I hope the above "novel" was helpful.
Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.