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Just What Grading Standards Are We Supposed To Be Using If Not ANA

 
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Author Previous TopicReplies: 6 / Views: 321Next Topic  
Pillar of the Community
United States
560 Posts
 Posted 10/05/2021  1:56 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add KauaiHawaiiGuy to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
My apologies ahead of time for this lengthy post, but there was no way I could make this shorter and explain myself.

Many of you know me by now. I've submitted over 300 Morgan and Peace dollars over at the grading forum and always appreciate the comments and grades whether I agree or not. Just the other day I submitted a common 1921 Morgan dollar and was surprised to have a number of comments leaning AU-58, when clearly to me and in hand it is low MS according to ANA Morgan dollar grading standards. Well that got me wondering about just what standards people are using to grade these coins .......... if they are not the ANA standards, then what?

And before I write anymore, believe me, I'm not complaining about the grades on that last coin I submitted, that coin is irrelevant, it's the bigger picture I'm asking about, all coins. Perhaps on that one my pictures could have been better, but I'm using that Morgan as an example because it's fresh in my mind and fairly new to the grading forum.

So here's how I see this latest Morgan that got me thinking this way. And I'm going to include a couple of pictures of the coin again and a couple of pictures right out of "The Official American Numismatic Grading Standards for United States coins", 7'th edition in the Morgan dollar section.

So the coin does have a few very minor scratches on her cheek, nothing deep along with a few hairlines. Very little in the fields on either side of the coin, and not a hint of wear anywhere on the coin. Full luster and cartwheels both sides. Very nice eye appeal and only photography and magnification reveal anything less than a mid 60's. One mention said "that darker spot on the cheek could be luster rub and would keep it at AU-58", a few mentions that the eagles breast feathers look worn. Somebody pointed out that it might be a worn die and weak strike, they were correct.

So now reading the grading standards, even a MS-62 can have distracting marks in prime or secondary focal areas. May have hairlines even to a noticeable patch. Luster may be original or impaired. And eye appeal can be as low as "acceptable.

So given the fact that this coin has no worse conditions than the description under MS-62, and some aspects of the coin are even better are closer to 63 or even 64, what standards are being used to grade this Morgan anything less than MS? And as I said already, it's not about this coin, I'm curious about what standards are being used to grade any coin if not ANA.









*** Moved by Staff to a more appropriate forum. ***
Edited by KauaiHawaiiGuy
10/05/2021 2:00 pm
Valued Member
United States
113 Posts
 Posted 10/05/2021  2:22 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Jerry Picker to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Looks AU58 to me. There's just too much rub for MS.
Pillar of the Community
United States
8401 Posts
 Posted 10/05/2021  2:54 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add numismatic student to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Because of photograde and the popularity of PCGS, I guess the PCGS standards are perhaps more often used, especially when taking the next step from grading to assigning value. But because no book or set of standards can tell you ex ante the net of everything that can and has happened to billions of coins inside and outside the Mint, some of which are extraordinary, grading will remain an art rather than a science. Seems like you are very thoughtful about grading, take it seriously and spent the time doing the hard work of grading and observing others grade a large number of coins. You seem capable of holding your own in conversations about Morgan dollar grading which seems to be your specialty. Many Morgan experts here which makes this a great place to be at and soak up the learn.
Pillar of the Community
United States
4416 Posts
 Posted 10/05/2021  7:23 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add fenton to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Coins are challenging to grade from photos so even among the experts on here you'll see variance of +/- two or more numeric grades. In hand, it may well be MS-61 or even MS-62 but from a photo graders tend to be more conservative and will say AU-58. Value difference isn't extreme between those grades so bottom line is it's a nice low UNC or near UNC example.
Pillar of the Community
United States
513 Posts
 Posted 10/05/2021  10:40 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add PNWType to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Speaking from my own experience, when exploring the grading topics I never look up grading standards. Most coins follow the same standards of what makes a 15 vs a 35 vs a 65 and it is all a matter of wear, luster, and marks. I've spent time learning what different grades look like and now just have a feel for what a grade might be based on a good solid look.
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Pillar of the Community
United States
3247 Posts
 Posted 10/06/2021  11:47 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Slider23 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I try to duplicate the grading standards of NGC and PCGS. Some of my grading standards come from direct submissions of Morgan's for grading to PCGS and NGC. NGC and PCGS can also have different standards when grading Morgan's. For example, their written standards on mirror depth are different when grading a Morgan for DMPL/DPL.
Bedrock of the Community
United States
10862 Posts
 Posted 10/06/2021  3:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add panzaldi to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
these type of grading standards are general guidelines to assist in narrowing down grades to a smaller range. none of these guidelines take into consideration things like weak strikes or die issues etc. only years of experience with a particular series will help finalize an assessment and result in more accurate grading. those just starting in the hobby are going to look at these guidelines as gospel when grading. as you gain experience one will learn to look at the coin overall rather than at a particular marker.
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