Earlier today, I illustrated my response to a discussion of market
grading vs. technical grading and an example of two 1879-CC $1 that
were thought to be VF-30 and VF-35 respectively were graded EF-45 and
AU-55 by PCGS. Much lamenting and gnashing of teeth followed, with
teras flowing copiously against teh evils of market grading.
About 11 or twelve of you kind Rcc'ers were asked for an opinion of
this PCGS graded 1797 Half Dollar:
Larry Louks answered Fine with possibly VF, but others suggested grades
ranging from VF-20 to POSSIBLY EF-40. One of you checked your ANA
grading guide for the answere and suggested a grade of VF-25.
Now, for the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey likes to say.
I also posed this question as to grade to about 46 local coin cub
members at one of our local meetings. Two though the coin was no better
than VG if that due to the denominator of the 1/2 on reverse being
"worn away" (sic) and the fact that the rim was incomplete on both
sides. Most of the others thought VF and a couple thought EF and 2
others, IIRC, thought it was a Fine.
This coin had been in an NGC VF-20 holder, graded recently (in last 8
mos. or so) and been submitted 3X to PCGS for a possible upgrade, or at
least a crossover at VF-20. No brainer, right?
Each of the 3X, PCGS came up with the same grade! Which was....(drum
Larry Loucks was right on the money with his Fine & possibly VF-20
guess, and he does not have the experience of many of the long in tooth
old bastards like myself who have been around in this field for many
more years than Larry.
PCGS has market graded the coin, and I used this as an illustration of
market grading being a two way street. The coin is dark, and the market
likes coins either white, light gray, or nearly so, and will tolerate
only lovely rainbow toning near the rims if it's not pure white! Of
course, the blueish dark gray toning of the coin shows an untampered
piece, but that won't garner a higher point grade. In fact, in detail,
the coin is nearly a perfect match for teh VF illustrated in Al
Overton's epic book on Bust Halves, and that book was published over 20
The dealer thought he stole the coin in its NGC holder for $50,000,
felt confident he could make a fast $10-$12K by getting it graded VF25
by PCGs and at least $4-$5K even if it crossed at VF-20.
I bought it from him for $45,000 and sold it for $47,800. Certainly
brought very strong money for a Fine, but the coin had the detail of a
higher graded piece.
Thought the whole deal was kinda interesting and thought I'd share it