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Arguments For And Against Toners, And Maybe A Way To Value Them

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Pillar of the Community
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 Posted 10/26/2020  12:46 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add twslisa to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Toners: You either love 'em or hate 'em, it seems. I actually like and collect nice looking toned coins—I can't afford high-value key date coins, but at least until recently, I could usually pick up nice toners for a little over market value. Watching auctions I think if I'm careful,a I can probably recoup what I paid for most of my coins if I ever need to, so it doesn't seem too emotional or frivolous to me.

Others disagree. I know people here who think it's a fad and it will eventually crash when the market gets over saturated with AT'd coins. I agree that people are AT-ing coins more and more—but what is also happening is that sellers have realized that getting the coins graded makes buyers more comfortable (also true with almost ANY coin that has a premium value, including key dates and cameos, which can also be counterfeited). I only very rarely consider buying an unslabbed toner these days—after a few unfortunate buys, I prefer to trust a more expert opinion.

The other argument I hear against toners is that the toning process continues—eventually toners aren't going to look the same way they do now. But given how long it took them to reach this point, I figure I'll be long dead before they get ugly. Meanwhile I'm betting some smart person is going to figure out how to arrest the process, and I think MAYBE getting them slabbed or putting them in a capsule at least slows it down.

In the long run, I think we're all right. I think people who are willing to pay OUTRAGEOUS premiums on toners are going to start being more moderate about that because it really has to suck to pay $10k for a $400 coin and find out it's AT'd. Also, people who pay $10k for coins are usually thinking of it as an investment, and there's just no guarantee that big-money market will be there for these coins in a few years.

But I also think eye appeal is ALWAYS going to matter, and while some folks don't love rainbow-toned coins, just as many others do. So attractive toners will probably always carry some premium.

In the long run I think TPG's are going to have to figure out how to attach a value to toning just like they do to grade and other features. One simple suggestion would be to treat them the way we now treat PL's, DMPL's, and cameos. An unusually beautiful toner might rate the same kind of premium you'd give a DMPL Cameo, while a mostly normal-looking coin that has a nice rainbow crescent on the reverse might rate the same value as a PL.

Sorry to meander so long on this, but I thought it might be useful to have a more thorough discussion on this. I'm being opinionated here, but I am fully aware I'm still a real newbie, so if any part of my logic is flawed, please feel free to steer me straight. I'd love to "hear" others' opinions.

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 Posted 10/26/2020  1:10 pm  Show Profile   Check GrapeCollects's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GrapeCollects to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The other argument I hear against toners is that the toning process continues—eventually toners aren't going to look the same way they do now. But given how long it took them to reach this point, I figure I'll be long dead before they get ugly


Yes and no. This can be looked into pretty easy. You have 2 basic types of toning, stable and unstable. Stable toning is usually very uniform in it's color or the changes in color on rainbow toners is very gradual. These types of coins are very unlikely to change overtime. Unstable toners are on the opposite end of the spectrum. These are your russet browns and dark reds. If not properly maintained and preserved will darken overtime.

The other factor to consider is if they are still in contact with whatever caused the toning to begin with. Mint set toned coins will continue to mature over time unless removed from their holders and given an acetone dip to remove anything from their surfaces.


Quote:
In the long run I think TPG's are going to have to figure out how to attach a value to toning just like they do to grade and other features.


I hope they don't. Toning is very subjective in terms of eye appeal. For example I love rainbow toners but I love equally, if not more, attractive russet toned coins, I think they scream of originality and the toning just enhances the coin without taking it over. However, rainbow toners are valued higher on average than russet toners. But depending on the coin I'd probably pay more for a russet coin than a rainbow toner.
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 Posted 10/26/2020  1:16 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Morgan Nerd to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have a 1991 Silver Eagle with beautiful toning. It's a bit scratched though because my grandfather owned it before me and he didn't know how to properly care for coins.
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 Posted 10/26/2020  1:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Morgan Nerd to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I personally don't like the toning (even rainbow toning) if it's covering the whole surface of the coin. If it's surrounding the coin but the silver coin is still bright in the middle, I like that.
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 Posted 10/26/2020  5:04 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
In the long run I think TPG's are going to have to figure out how to attach a value to toning just like they do to grade and other features.
I disagree. The value should be determined by the market since it is very subjective. That being said, toning should not affect the technical grade (negatively or positively).
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 Posted 10/26/2020  6:07 pm  Show Profile   Check GrapeCollects's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GrapeCollects to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I disagree. The value should be determined by the market since it is very subjective. That being said, toning should not affect the technical grade (negatively or positively).


with almost everything jbuck said. I do thing negative toning SHOULD affect the grade. Dark black toning often eats off luster and is nearly corrosive and should be treated as environmental damage IMO.
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 Posted 10/26/2020  10:21 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add twslisa to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The thing is, a lot of the other stuff was subjective (and still is, at times—see the Indian cent I have in the "grading" forum—it's a VERY nice coin but has a really big gash on the figure's cheek). Having some guidelines helps sellers AND buyers get a sense of the REAL market value of the coin (what other coins in that grade with similar toning have gone for). In fact, there is still a lot of leeway within a particular grade's range. One 63 can be a really beautiful coin with some marks that don't really detract that much, and another can have distracting chatter on the devices. So the coins are still ;ole;u to go for different prices. By "grading" the toning as well, it just helps put a little structure over it. Which is clearly lacking, given a Morgan that without toning would have been valued in the 200's just sold for over $32K . I guess if someone's really willing to part with that kind of money nothing will stop them, but again, a little structure might help everyone else make more sensible sales and purchases.
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 Posted 10/27/2020  08:26 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add just carl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
And some people collect rocks, bark from trees, sea shells, old cars and almost anything. So why not a coin with stuff on it?
just carl
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 Posted 10/27/2020  09:02 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Some prefer toned or patinated coins, some don't.

The best way to get the highest price for a toned coins is to auction them, either by public auction (for higher value coins), or on eBay (for lower value coins).
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 Posted 10/27/2020  09:21 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add scopru to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
with sel



Quote:
By "grading" the toning as well, it just helps put a little structure over it.

To me what TPGs have played a large role in is to remove the need for newer collectors to learn how to grade and determine the merits of a coin on their own. I do not consider this as a positive.
Why would you want a TPG to now also determine what you should think of a coins eye appeal?

To piggyback off what Grape said

Quote:
I hope they don't.
Edited by scopru
10/27/2020 09:22 am
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 Posted 10/28/2020  11:09 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Cdncoins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Personally I love toned Morgans and am trying to build a collection of these over time. Toning on other coins can look nice too, but it's not something I pay much attention to.

I don't think I can consistently tell the difference between a coin that has toned over many years and an artificial toned coin. Sometimes it is quite obvious, but other times it is quite difficult. A couple of rules I try to stick to are not to buy a toned coin without it being slabbed by a reputable grader and not to pay a premium for the toning. This means that I will take a pass on many beautiful coins, but there are still a lot available that fit my rules, it just requires patience.
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 Posted 04/19/2021  2:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add John77 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:

That being said, toning should not affect the technical grade (negatively or positively).


Jbuck, I was looking at some TPG coins on line the other day, specifically looking at coins were the highest graded for certain dates - for some reason, I'm remembering a 1968-D Quarter off the top of my head... and, after looking at several, I noticed a pattern. Almost ALL of the highest graded coins were toned!

So yes, they actually seem to adjust the technical grade of coins UPWARD if they're toned! Which is totally wrong IMHO.
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 Posted 04/19/2021  2:59 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
So yes, they actually seem to adjust the technical grade of coins UPWARD if they're toned!
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 Posted 04/19/2021  3:18 pm  Show Profile   Check GrapeCollects's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GrapeCollects to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Looking at that 68-D quarter you mention I have no problem with it in a 68 holder. It looks to be a technical 68. The only "issue" is a light strike through in the field that is masked by the toning.
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 Posted 04/19/2021  3:57 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bump111 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
they actually seem to adjust the technical grade of coins UPWARD


Welcome to the world of "market grading." When I argue that point with fellow collectors I'm almost immediately shouted down. TPGs should not attempt to set price. That sure seems like what they're doing (to the uninitiated as alluded to by @scopru.) Eye appeal is subjective. One grader likes toning - the grade eases up. The next one doesn't - the grade eases down.

Maybe they should have different pathways through the TPGs for toned / untoned coins. You check the box.
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 Posted 04/21/2021  02:05 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add John77 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It looks like I was right with my original assessment about the highest graded TPG coins. Take a look at this from PCGS's site:

Quote:

Amazing eye appeal can add up to a full point to the "technical" grade.

What is even more telling is what they say about toned coins which are lacking in eye appeal...

Quote:

Ugly toning can subtract up to two points from the "technical" grade, or be so bad that the coin is a "no-grade' for "environmental damage."


To me, that last statement sounds like they're ADMITTING all toning is a form of environmental damage - I've been of this opinion ever since I first saw a toned coin more than 45 years ago at my LCS.

https://www.PCGS.com/eyeappeal
CRH Nickeloholic. 1,300,000 nickels searched in five years! Already have found THREE complete Jefferson sets!
Edited by John77
04/21/2021 02:06 am
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