One of my white whale coins is a decent 1870 Newfoundland 10c. The coin was scarce from the start with only 30,000 minted and there are obverse 1 and 2 varieties.
It appears that a great number of them were very poorly struck, particularly on the reverse. Most of the extant examples that I've been able to find are somewhere between borderline legible and illegible. For example:
This guy is solid but, seriously, AU-50? I'm wondering if this is more capricious behaviour from PCGS or if the TPGs take the initial strike quality into consideration when they grade? There was another thread here about some blacksmith tokens where the issue of how to grade a coin that was crudely struck to begins with and that's what got me thinking about this particular year of the NFLD 10c. To me this looks more like a high fine or low very fine but maybe they're just throwing it a bone because it had such a rough start in life?
To me, it looks VF-30 at a minimum and closer to mid-high EF. The lighter areas on the Obv high areas don't look like wear .. more like drawer rub that removes the tarnish/luster sometimes. PCGS grades almost always on the Obverses.
The first question you must ask yourself is this......Do fully struck examples exist? If the answer is Yes.....then once luster is disturbed grading reverts to normal. The term weakly stuck can only be used for Mint State examples when fully struck exists. Therefore (like nickle 5 cents from the 20's)the grade of AU will be rare. Once luster is disturbed the coin must drop to vf/ef. I have heard many use the term AU weakly stuck. This is impossible to substantiate and assumptions are made to get there. IMO
@nickelsguy - thank you - that clarifies that issue for me. Though in the case of the 1870 it's pretty clear that the reverse is an issue. There are very, very few examples out there that have a legible reverse in my experience. In most cases this is likely a combination of factors including wear. But I think there's something of a consensus that the original strike was pretty crummy.
It has hardly any wear at all and its covered in mint lustre , yet because the dies were worn this coin was struck as mint state AU55 at best. No one will ever give it an MS grade because it never was that high quality of a strike.