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EAC Grading -Or- Why Did That Dude Just Tell Me My PCGS MS61 CAC Large Cent Is An AU Net VF35.

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 Posted 09/23/2022  10:57 pm  Show Profile   Check CarrsCoins's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add CarrsCoins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@ jacrispies - the John Reich Collectors Society is probably the closest thing to a bust half club that I know of. I'm†surprised there isn't a stronger club. bust halves are, in my opinion, one of the best values in all of american coins. great series. its fun how so many of the concepts translate across the early series.

@ slider23 - I like the nit picky nature of EAC grading. I think the system is well equipped to describe all of the problems that occur on early coins. I am of the opinion that nearly all the early copper has been cleaned, its all enviornmentally damaged, and many of them are still fantastic coins.

here is another 1797:




S-142. R-5+.

this is a coin where grading precision becomes pretty financially relevant.

the finest known S-142 is the Sheldon/Naftzger example. that coin has xf detail with pits in the fields. it has an edge dent and its been recolored. net 20- or 15- depending on who you ask. following that coin there are a number of VF details coins. Bill Noyes nets all of them down to f12 or vg10 or worse in his census. the majority of the 142s that exist have problems. PCGS shows a total population of 3 strait graded examples. the top pop slabbed coin is the Doug Smith example in an NGC VF30 holder. noyes and del bland both call the smith copy a VG10. there is a PCGS 30, but it belongs in a details holder.

Obverse - pit above the shoulder and another behind the hair. long light scratch across the cheek. the surfaces are nice and smooth and the color is pleasing. the weakness of the rim and through the date is typical for this variety. as far as I know it is always seen with axially misaligned dies.

Reverse - Scratch in the center. dark spot to the immediate right of the scratch. uneven, but again that is a striking issue and is how this variety looks. surfaces are nice, but there is some light pitting most prominent in the center of the coin. wear is even.

this coin is nice. for the variety it is exceptionally so. I call this coin a 12 net 10average+. I'm†not even netting a full grade point despite there being at least 4 minor flaws. I like this coin.

the noyes condition census goes: F-15-, F-12 average, F-12-, F-12 scudzy, VG10 average x4. that means my grade puts this coin as 5th nicest known. well alright! but when we look at the examples that doesn't bear itself out. here are pictures of that smith coin the EAC community has agreed to call a net VG10:




that coin is obviously nicer than the one I have. its also like a solid 20 or so right? so what gives?

i think that grading this variety is a bit nuanced. the nicest 142s are extensively pedigreed coins. most have been kicking around the hobby for at least 50 years. they have been examined and reexamined ad nauseam. the grades keep dropping as the experts keep trying to out net each other. since all the examples have problems it ends up being a demonstration of the subjectivity involved in the art of grading. its like a competition of who can justify the lowest grade for each of the top examples. in his 1991 book noyes graded the Sheldon/Naftzger coin a 20. today that same guy grades that same coin a 15-.

i would expect my coin to strait grade as a vg10. outside shot of hitting as high as 15 but that seems unlikely. I think the chances of hitting 15 go up if I pay for variety attribution. the variety is super rare in nice grades and the variety comes with a weak and uneven strike which traditionally harms the grade on type coin examples.

since grading is really all about price - in the Noyes 2017 penny prices (sorry for using an outdated guide, its the one I had handy and the multipliers dont tend to change too much even if the prices do) the S-142 in g5 is $500, vg8 is $2,000, f12 is $6,000. the doug smith coin sold for $4,700 in 2012. so really.what is a coin like this worth?

i know it would take a lot more than noyes vg8 money to get me to part with it.
i like large cents. I currently have >225 Sheldon varieties and >235 middle date Newcomb varieties.
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 Posted 09/24/2022  09:29 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Slider23 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I like the nit picky nature of EAC grading. I think the system is well equipped to describe all of the problems that occur on early coins. I am of the opinion that nearly all the early copper has been cleaned, its all enviornmentally damaged, and many of them are still fantastic coins.


Interesting comment about nearly all early copper having been cleaned. I spent a lot of time trying to learn about what happens to the color of early copper after a cleaning. I tried to buy a classic head large cent with original skin. The example below is the coin that I purchased. What EAC grade would you assign to this coin? PCGS straight graded this coin and uses the coin as a poster child for the grade they assigned. Some collectors do not like the dark color of the coin. I noticed many collectors like the lighter color of early copper that had in my opinion an old cleaning.


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 Posted 09/24/2022  12:08 pm  Show Profile   Check CarrsCoins's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add CarrsCoins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
fun!

first a disclaimer:

any grade the I can assign from a picture is going to come with an asterisk. pictures are 2 dimensional. copper coins are 3d and quite lively to look at. grading coins is really best accomplished with the coin in hand using good, broad spectrum lighting. additionally I'm†going to be critical of your coin. pointing out its problems doesn't change the fact that it is a great piece of history.

with that covered here is my thought process.

first thing I do when examining an early copper is a quick look over. I'm†just getting a feel for it at this point. do I like it? does the coin have major problems? are there any easy diagnostics for variety attribution?

some of the things that I see:

this coin is attractive. its high grade for the type. the coin is well centered and appears to be well struck (it can be quite difficult to tell weak strike from wear through images). it looks like it might have traces of luster and pronounced flow lines. its got slightly uneven color with a sort of tan/red and darker colors mottled together. surfaces appear unaltered. there is some wear evident in the hair and on the lock above the eye. the wreath is also showing some wear on the high points. there is a dig below the E in ONE on the reverse. are those dark speckles on the back color or some sort of surface scale?

next I will attribute the variety and die state. my go to reference for Sheldon varieties is the Noyes book. there are several others that are also good.

1812 is pretty easy to do variety attribution. there are 4 varieties and each variety has a unique reverse die. the position on the leaf under the last S in STATES is different on each of these dies making attribution quick.

S-288. R-2. Large Date.

this is the scarcest die marriage of 1812, but none of the varieties are scarce enough to warrant a financial premium. its the middle die state. there is a tool mark at the base of the N in cent and another coming off the right of the foot of the left upright of the N in UNITED. some die rust is to be expected because of this die state.

ok. so what we have is a lightly worn coin with a few minor problems. its got good strike, acceptable color, its well centered, no huge blemishes. no major striking or manufacturing issues attributed to the variety.

my slab grade Ós low AU. something like 50-53

my EAC grade is 35 net 30 average. the dig on the back doesn't bother me much. getting that grade really dialed is all about the eye appeal in hand. if I'm†happy about it when I see it I'm†going to end up on 35 average no net. if the unevenness of the color isn't attractive I might net it as hard as 25-. I'm†inclined to believe is that this coin is nice in hand

here is an example of what the EAC community would consider choice color in a similar grade (different variety but whatever). most classic head large cents were struck on very poor copper stock. they are usually black and pitted. those copper blanks were shipped from england and used as ballast in the bottom of the sailing ships. sloshing around with sea water is pretty hard on copper.

i like large cents. I currently have >225 Sheldon varieties and >235 middle date Newcomb varieties.
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 Posted 09/24/2022  12:56 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Slider23 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Fantastic analysis on the coin. PCGS gave the coin a grade of AU50, and the coin photo is on coin facts as the graded AU50 example.
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 Posted 09/25/2022  01:45 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add GERMANICVS to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
CarrsCoins, I hope I am not abusing your generosity in sharing your knowledge if I ask you to grade this Sheldon 163.

It is not encapsulated, so I do not know how a grading service may grade it, although I am assuming they would call it a details coin.


Thank you in advance,


The first set of photos show the coin as it appears in-hand.
The second set are lightened up to better visualise the detail.
The third set are the original sellers pictures.







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United States
352 Posts
 Posted 09/25/2022  1:02 pm  Show Profile   Check CarrsCoins's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add CarrsCoins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
ill be happy to work it up for you. its close to/in the condition census. I'm†going to do a bit more research and get back to you. first impression is net 20 with a slab grade of au details.

if it didnt have those pits it would be the finest known.

----

i have a couple more ~vf details 1797s to talk about. then I'm†going to cover some combination of color, choice v average v scudzy, or maybe some of the varieties with really unique wear patterns and challenging grading like the 1794 S-65 (shielded hair variety)

not doing that today though. today I'm†watching football. go chefs

i like large cents. I currently have >225 Sheldon varieties and >235 middle date Newcomb varieties.
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 Posted 09/26/2022  04:26 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add GERMANICVS to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you very much, CarrsCoins, I shall be looking forward to your evaluation of this cent.

PS- I hope your enjoyed the football game.

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 Posted 09/26/2022  12:33 pm  Show Profile   Check CarrsCoins's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add CarrsCoins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
thanks germanicvs! sadly the chiefs looked pretty bad this week. they are a good team. itll be a fun season.

Lets talk about the 163 above.

S-163. R-4. Style 1 Hair

this is a tough variety to find in higher grade. most of the condition census is fine or worse. 5 VFs. none better than the Tom Reynolds example. that coin is graded XF45 by PCGS and VF30 by Noyes, Bland and Goldberg Auctions. CAC gave it a green sticker.

here is the reynolds coin for comparison:



the Germanicvs example is in higher technical grade than the finest example known. that gets my attention.

Unfortunately the coin in question has a couple problems that will keep it from contending for the top spot. 18th finest is a a 7 (is that g or vg?) andthis coin is stronger than a good, so where is it going to end up in the condition census?

interesting note - in early copper "details" coins are considered part of the condition census. thats not the case with many series and is one of the most compelling reasons for net grading. there just arent enough problem free survivors. if the details coins were ignored some varieties would have 0 examples. Slabbing companies population reports are pretty useless for early copper for this reason, crack outs, and the fact that a lot of early copper collectors never submit their coins at all.

Obverse: The first thing I noticed are the pits near the rim at about K4. there is a small scratch under the chin.



there is also something funky going on around k7. I missed this on my first go round with the coin. the hair is weak and the field is wobbly. this is the spot I'm†talking about.



the bad news is that this area has been burnished. someone tooled this coin to smooth out pitting in this area. because it has been tooled it would have been recolored as well.

Reverse: strike is a bit soft. there is a green spot in the wreath under the A in states. keep an eye on that. those types of things are frequently active chemical reactions. if it grows or changes something need to be done or it will eat the copper below it. it can probably be removed/neutralized with acetone or xylene.



Some sort of damage at AM in america. I cant tell for sure what kind of damage. was it smashed? is it environmental? is this a malformed planchet and that weakness is a mint product?



there is possibly a tiny strike through thread/fabric near the end of the right ribbon which is kinda neat.



I stand by my slab grade of au details.

i am going to call this coin a 35 net 12-. I'm†tempted to call it scudzy because of the tooling but I think - is more appropriate. overall its a pleasing coin. it feels wrong to call a pleasing coin scudzy. 12- is tied for 9th finest known. calling it scudzy knocks it down to 12th finest. 17th finest is an 8 scudzy. I would be shocked if this coin isn't quite a bit nicer than that one.

-----

While working this one up I made an interesting discovery. the coin in my set that I had labeled at a S-163 is not correctly attributed. I think it is a S-159. they share a reverse die and the 159 always comes with some really large die cracks in the obverse field which are not present on my coin. it would be neat if I have an unreported die state on my hands. now ive got something new to try to figure out.
i like large cents. I currently have >225 Sheldon varieties and >235 middle date Newcomb varieties.
Edited by CarrsCoins
09/26/2022 12:35 pm
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 Posted 09/26/2022  1:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hokiefan_82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@CarrsCoins, thank you for the very detailed and informative post and the interesting follow-on discussions!
My U.S. Type Set: https://www.NGCcoin.com/registry/co...sets/278808/
My U.S. Classic Commemorative Complete Set: https://www.NGCcoin.com/registry/co...sets/278741/
My 20th Century U.S. Type Set - Proofs only, No Gold https://www.ngccoin.com/registry/co...sets/396301/
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 Posted 09/27/2022  05:50 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add GERMANICVS to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Dear CarrsCoins, my sincere thanks for taking the time for this very educational and exhaustive evaluation of my S-163.
I sincerely appreciate it!

I will take a closer look at the areas on the planchet which you mention, for example, the area under the hair locks. An acetone bath is also in order to remove the green.

The small pitted area you mention opposite the bust actually corresponds to the other area which caught your attention at AM in America. For this reason I thought the planchet either 'pinched' at that point, or, it was a defect of the planchet to begin with.

I tend not to think the coin was recolored due to the very apparent areas of red in the coin.The colour looks natural and fresh, and not the results of cleaning.

Anyway, thank you again for your kind help. We are all learning a lot.

PS- I still have quite a few early coppers I could post here for your evaluation.....

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 Posted 09/27/2022  12:59 pm  Show Profile   Check CarrsCoins's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add CarrsCoins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
happy to help! that one is an interesting coin. great eye appeal! I wouldnt be surprised if you could track down an auction history/provenance for that coin.

im going to do a couple more examples this week but after that id be happy to look at a bunch of coins! the moderators might want this topic moved over to the grading forum if we start grading a bunch of coins. if thats the case - mods - please move us wherever you feel is most appropriate. before we get there I would like to get some examples of color and surface posted so that we can get everyone on the same level there.

--

i agree that that flaw on the edge could be a planchet flaw. I think its more likely that its damage of some kind. its hard to tell sometimes.

last night it occoured to me that your coin might be a victim of pvc damage. pits and green stuff are the halmarks of pvc.

the reason I think the coin is recolored is because I think it was tooled. the tooling would have ripped the copper up to the point of being bright shiny red. I dont think you could smooth it without recoloring it after.

there are quite a few people who are expert at recoloring coins. its a problem of chemical reaction over time. if the coin doctor is adept there really isn't anything different between artificial patina and original patina. its similar to artificial toning in silver. when its done well I cant tell it apart from original patina.

--

im going to work up a surface thing and post it in a bit.
i like large cents. I currently have >225 Sheldon varieties and >235 middle date Newcomb varieties.
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 Posted 09/27/2022  1:42 pm  Show Profile   Check paralyse's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add paralyse to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This entire thread has been exceptionally enlightening and useful. Despite having collected copper for many years now, I struggle to grade it and at times to attribute it, even with all of the references and books I can get a hold of.

I completely missed the pitting on Germanicvs's coin when I saw it the first time -- this is the downside to not having coins in hand, as you noted.

As a fan of both threads like this and The Dark Side group with Jack Young, the EAC seminars pertaining to grading/counterfeit detection are top of my list of things to do, numismatically speaking, but time, money and work seem to always conspire to keep me from attending. I didn't join EAC until 2015 and that was after EAC's convention had already been held here that year. If they make their way back down to Texas again sometime that will probably be the only way I'll get to go anytime soon. For now the only way to get my copper fix is to drool over all of the outrageously rare and expensive examples in the cases of McCawley, Ellsworth, Frisco, etc. at the annual TNA show.

Thanks for sharing some of your wisdom here with us. If the mods ever make this a permanent grading thread for EAC grading I'd love to see it as I have quite a few examples in my own cabinet that don't neatly fall into an easy grade slot.
Longhorn Coins & Exonumia
Member ANA - EAC - TNA - SSDC - CCT #890

"Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." -- Louis D. Brandeis
Edited by paralyse
09/27/2022 1:44 pm
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 Posted 09/27/2022  2:01 pm  Show Profile   Check CarrsCoins's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add CarrsCoins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
lets talk a bit about surface quality.

copper is one of the softest and most reactive metals used in coining. copper coins are very susceptible to environmental damage. Large cents are big. they are heavy. they weren't worth a lot. they were used and abused. they were dropped. they were not treated with reverence.

large cents are the longest collected American series. people have been seeking them out in mass since the introduction of the small cent in 1857. they have been cleaned, holed, plugged, polished and every other imaginable modification.

to communicate the differences in preservation the EAC community (and specifically a guy named Jack Robinson who published a price guide called Copper Quotes by Robinson or CQR) has established three terms to describe surface on copper:

CHOICE - Coin must have original color (not have been cleaned) and smooth surfaces. No corrosion, porosity, or edge dents allowed. There should be no significant marks or damage to the piece. It must have noticeable "eye appeal". This does not mean the coin must be perfect, but it must be "perfect for the grade." Lower condition coins are expected to have more marks than high grade coins. this is similar in concept to what you see with CAC, Wings or Eagle Eye.

AVERAGE - Color must be reasonable and any porosity, pitting, marks, or mint defects must not detract from the "eye appeal." Overall a coin that fits the grade.

SCUDZY - A coin that has more than average problems that put it at the bottom of the scale for its grade. This can be a heavily pitted low-grade coin or an AU coin with a very noticeable scratch.

Lets take a look at some examples.


Choice-

1794 Large Cent
whats not to like? this coin looks new. fabulous exmample. there is nothing to complain about on this coin.


1828 Half Cent
lightly circulated. even wear. nice color. nearly unblemished.


1849 Large Cent
each designation can exist at any grade. this is a really nice circulated coin. even color. the nick above the N in ONE on the reverse is the biggest blemish. it gets a pass because of the lovely overall appearance and the low grade.


Average-

1834 Half Cent
the color is choice here but the coin has just a few too many nicks. the ones on the neck line really pop out to me and are one of the first things I see when I look at this coin.


1822 Large Cent
this coin looks like it could have been choice if someone didnt clean it. the surfaces are smooth and the strike is excellent. the recoloring is passible but not good.


1794 Half Cent
probably cleaned. bit nicked and dented. about what you would expect for a circulated old copper coin.


Scudzy -

1793 Large Cent
pits, cleaning, re-engraving. you name it and its happened to this poor thing. ugh


1831 Large Cent
the reverse of this coin is average. someone polished the front. there is a loss of hair detail on the central obverse.


1793 Large Cent
yikes. someone took a really nice1794 and decided to make a 1793 out of it.


extant populations end up at around 50% scudzy, 40% average and 10% choice. you really want to find the choice coins if you can. they are always in the highest demand and frequently sell for quite a bit above price guide prices.

Dont forget - grading is subjective. we all have opinions about the coins. the goal with grading should be consistency.

everyone struggles with being consistent. as an example here is that 1794 Half Cent from above-


i like large cents. I currently have >225 Sheldon varieties and >235 middle date Newcomb varieties.
Edited by CarrsCoins
09/27/2022 2:16 pm
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 Posted 09/27/2022  2:49 pm  Show Profile   Check CarrsCoins's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add CarrsCoins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@ paralyse -

i think we all struggle from time to time. I learned that I have misattributed my S-163 yesterday. its a 159 in early die state.

Jack Young is super knowledgable. cool guy too. its hard to overstate the value of what he is doing for the hobby. not only is he identifying fakes, he is educating people as well as using legal means to break up the production and distribution rings.

The 2023 EAC convention will be held in Portland. I will be offering a counterfeit detecting and grading seminar at that show. Mark Borckardt has offered to teach it with me. I'm†excited about that. it will be our first time working together. He handles coins that are mind blowing.
i like large cents. I currently have >225 Sheldon varieties and >235 middle date Newcomb varieties.
Edited by CarrsCoins
09/27/2022 3:20 pm
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 Posted 09/27/2022  7:28 pm  Show Profile   Check paralyse's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add paralyse to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I met Mark when he was accepting his Numismatic Legend award at ANA here a few years ago. He discussed his love for Encased Cents and National Bank Notes among other things, and about what it's like working with Heritage to catalog some of the rarest, most valuable coins in existence -- he talked about he's actually able to hold and look at coins that he's always dreamed of seeing in person.

Was able to speak to him briefly afterward, he autographed my program for me and we spent a couple of minutes chatting. He's very friendly, well-spoken, and extremely knowledgeable. A gentleman's gentleman.

That was a pretty good show in general, I got to actually hold the PCGS MS64 plate coin for the Newman 2-C Continental Currency in pewter and drool over it for a brief amount of time. Takes a fair amount of trust to let a stranger (me) hold your $200k+ coin, but that's the kind of hobby we have.
Longhorn Coins & Exonumia
Member ANA - EAC - TNA - SSDC - CCT #890

"Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." -- Louis D. Brandeis
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