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Variance With TPG's Assessment Of Buffalo Nickel's In MS

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Canada
61 Posts
 Posted 10/26/2021  1:42 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add TypesetCollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

Hi,

I thought this would be an interesting topic. I have noticed since looking deeper into Buffalo nickels the huge variance from PCGS and how they grade say an MS64 1935-d for example.

I will often compare coins and to my eye this much variance from a single TPG with the same date coin is astonishing. Amazing I have even seen examples of the worse coin getting the CAC sticker. What am I missing here? I'm not talking about well that is just a PQ or Solid for the grade I'm talking clearly over-graded coins. Is there something about this series that can explain the variance.

Cheers
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1024 Posts
 Posted 10/26/2021  2:48 pm  Show Profile   Check Collects82's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Collects82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This series has always been prone to grading variance. One of its issues was a wide range in strike quality. Even determining the difference between an MS62/63 and an AU55/58 can be tough sometimes because its not readily apparent what was a soft strike and what was actual wear. In getting into the MS64-66 range, I still haven't figured out their methods to the madness. On the 1935-38 dates where MS64-66 are rather common, I cant say I've figured out the whys to what they assigned 64/65/66. I sorta view a 66 like a 69-70 Eagle where 70s seem to be just give to X %.

"Buy the coin, not the label", they say.

For my set, its eye appeal as my number 1 criteria. Second is pricing is in line with the market. Third is can I afford it anyways. If I get lucky and those line up, I am thrilled to abopt.
My hoard of '82s is up to 223! 218 BC x 1, 118 BC x 3, 18 BC x 1, 82 x 1, 182 x 1, 282 x 2, 382 x 1, 582 x 2, 682 x 1, 782 x 2, 882 x 1, 982 x 4, 1082 x 1 1182 x 8, 1282 x 2, 1382 x 1, 1482 x 5, 1582 x 13, 1682 x 16, 1782 x 58, 1882 x 62, 1982 x 37
Edited by Collects82
10/26/2021 8:14 pm
Valued Member
Canada
61 Posts
 Posted 10/26/2021  3:12 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TypesetCollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
This series has always been prone to grading variance. One of its issues was a wide range in strike quality. Even determining the difference between an MS62/63 and an AU55/58 can be tough sometimes because its not readily apparent what was a soft strike and what was actual wear. In getting into the MS64-66 range, I still haven't figured out their methods to the madness. On the 1935-38 dates where MS64-66 are rather common, I cant say I've figured out the method to the madness on what they assigned 64/65/66. It sorta view a 65 like a 69-70 Eagle where 70s seem to be just give to X %.

"Buy the coin, not the label", they say.

For my set, its eye appeal as my number 1 criteria. Second is pricing is in line with the market. Third is can I afford it anyways. If I get lucky and those line up, I am thrilled to abopt.


Im glad I'm not the only one who has noticed this. Eye appeal all the way. There are some nasty looking coins in high grade holders out there. I'm guessing this is why they sit on the shelves waiting for a buyer to come along....
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 Posted 10/26/2021  8:52 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Ty2020b to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This would be a good topic to share a couple examples showing the comparison between a couple. Show two examples, with good pics, of the same grade you feel are different, otherwise it's just speculation as to why they revived the grades they did.

Collects82 hit the major nail on the head. Strike issues and die conditions are the biggest factors. Take a MS, weakly struck, LDS coin for example. Details will be mushy, and high points will be riddled with planchet marks where metal did not fill the die. At first glance it will appear to be a slider or a low MS at best. Understanding the series is key in examples like this. It's a tough series to grade.

Well struck coins are relatively "easy" to grade bc you have a near complete or almost complete coin, showing full devices and details as intended. Grading based on wear and contact marks is a little less subjective. It's the majority of this series that's tough with weak strikes and die issues.

IMO, TPG's have been all over the map with this series. Sometimes they'll give a bump for a strong strike when it's deserved, other times not. MS66 examples of weakly struck, mushy, VLDS that shouldn't make it past MS65. Grading is subjective, people make mistakes. Ultimately as Collects82 said, buy the coin, not.

It's a fun and sometimes frustrating series! If finding well struck, good eye appeal examples was easy, my registry set would be done!!!
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 Posted 10/26/2021  9:00 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add fortcollins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@Ty2020b is spot on. He has the top Buff collection I've seen on CCF.

I've babbled about this for some time, but the rarest Buffalo out there is any date and mint that meets all of these four criteria:
Matching die pair, with an early die state
Strong strike
Minimal clashing and die polishing
High grade (EF or better)

The technical grade is far less important that eye appeal. An eye appeal AU-58 is far more valuable than an ugly UNC. Even for very common dates, coins meeting the four criteria are less than 1% of all coins struck. Figure in survival rates, and there may only be a few hundred of even the most common dates in that box.
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Canada
61 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2021  12:11 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TypesetCollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
This would be a good topic to share a couple examples showing the comparison between a couple. Show two examples, with good pics, of the same grade you feel are different, otherwise it's just speculation as to why they revived the grades they did.

Collects82 hit the major nail on the head. Strike issues and die conditions are the biggest factors. Take a MS, weakly struck, LDS coin for example. Details will be mushy, and high points will be riddled with planchet marks where metal did not fill the die. At first glance it will appear to be a slider or a low MS at best. Understanding the series is key in examples like this. It's a tough series to grade.

Well struck coins are relatively "easy" to grade bc you have a near complete or almost complete coin, showing full devices and details as intended. Grading based on wear and contact marks is a little less subjective. It's the majority of this series that's tough with weak strikes and die issues.

IMO, TPG's have been all over the map with this series. Sometimes they'll give a bump for a strong strike when it's deserved, other times not. MS66 examples of weakly struck, mushy, VLDS that shouldn't make it past MS65. Grading is subjective, people make mistakes. Ultimately as Collects82 said, buy the coin, not.

It's a fun and sometimes frustrating series! If finding well struck, good eye appeal examples was easy, my registry set would be done!!!



Uploading pictures was my first thought. I need to figure out the picture size and formatting here first...
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 Posted 10/28/2021  10:49 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Greasy Fingers to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
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Valued Member
Canada
61 Posts
 Posted 10/29/2021  10:22 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TypesetCollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Hi guys,

Sorry for the delay. I'm slowly starting to figure out the picture formatting on this board.

Here is an example. They are different dates. The coin on the right has a much weaker strike and not much if any wear aside from some light surface scratches/marks. These are both graded MS65. Since Strike is one of the main components of grading I would assume due to the lack of detail it would grade lower or perhaps the one on the left is under graded? Either way there seems to be a discrepancy as to my eyes this isn't that close. What am I missing here?

Thanks

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 Posted 10/29/2021  10:37 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Adam_E to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I think systemic strike characteristics are considered when grading coins. For example, for many years during the series, O Mint Morgan dollars were plagued with coins that were not fully struck up. So when grading a coin like an 1889-O Morgan, a poor strike will not inhibit the grade as much as it would if the strike is typically sharp like an 1881-S Morgan.

I don't know the typical strike qualities for Buffalo nickels, so I can't say for sure that explains the discrepancy here. But when comparing two coins, it would be better to compare two coins from the exact same year and mint to avoid this.
Edited by Adam_E
10/29/2021 10:46 am
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 Posted 10/29/2021  10:41 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Adam says it well.
Valued Member
Canada
61 Posts
 Posted 10/29/2021  10:44 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TypesetCollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I think systemic strike characteristics are considered when grading coins. For example, for many years during the series, O Mint  Morgan dollars were plagued with coins that were not fully struck up. So when grading a coin like an 1889-O Morgan, a poor strike will not inhibit the grade as much as it would if the strike is typically sharp like an 1881-S Morgan.

I don't know the typical strike qualities for  Buffalo nickels, so I can't say for sure that explains the discrepancy here, but when comparing two coins, it would be better to compare two coins from the exact same year and mint to avoid this.


I considered this. I thought it might be a factor. That aside if ANY coins existed fully struck or better struck and they constituted a very very small % of coins graded then I would still consider the coin to be over graded. Just grading without the history of how well that date was struck in general...

I find this all very interesting. I'm learning loads every day. I'm going to try and locate same date examples.
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 Posted 10/29/2021  10:53 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Zurie to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with @Adam_E. The year and mint location are both critical. 1925 is notorious for poorly struck Buffalos, especially in Denver and SF, and you really can't compare those coins with nickels from the late 1930's. Without seeing the reverses, both of those coins seem reasonably graded for the years.
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 Posted 10/29/2021  11:05 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Adam_E to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
That aside if ANY coins existed fully struck or better struck and they constituted a very very small % of coins graded then I would still consider the coin to be over graded.


This wont necessarily happen, if there is a coin that is uncharacteristically strong for the year/mint, you would likely see that reflected in it's grade. It might not be in the form of a full point bump, but you might see a plus grade. It's important to remember that grading is a wholistic practice. Strike is a factor in grading, but it isn't the only or the largest factor.
Valued Member
Canada
61 Posts
 Posted 10/29/2021  11:07 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TypesetCollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Ok so what I'm getting is that in some instances TPG's do show some leniency when grading MS examples of specific dates that are known to be poorly struck
Valued Member
Canada
61 Posts
 Posted 10/29/2021  11:16 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TypesetCollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This wont necessarily happen, if there is a coin that is uncharacteristically strong for the year/mint, you would likely see that reflected in it's grade. It might not be in the form of a full point bump, but you might see a plus grade. It's important to remember that grading is a wholistic practice. Strike is a factor in grading, but it isn't the only or the largest factor.


Thanks Adam for the explanation. Interesting that on top of 5 main categories there are other factors that may be considered when grading the coin.
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 Posted 10/29/2021  11:25 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Adam_E to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
so what I'm getting is that in some instances TPG's do show some leniency when grading MS examples of specific dates that are known to be poorly struck


You can put it that way, sure. The opposite is true as well though. The grade of a poorly struck coin that comes from a typically strong year will be inhibited. I would think of it as a grading curve.

This also applies to other strike and die characteristics like luster and Die Deterioration.
Edited by Adam_E
10/29/2021 11:27 am
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