book cover Introduction
Preface
Glossary
The Grading Process
How To Grade Mint State Coins
Surface Preservation
Strike
Lustre
Eye-Appeal

Home

Determining Grade
Is It Proof Or Business Strike?
Prooflike Coins
Grading Other Series
Why Won't They Grade My Coin?
High End vs. Low End; The Bust-Out Game
Computer Grading
Conclusion
About the Author

Grading Other Series


In this chapter, you will learn how to apply the grading techniques for Morgan silver dollars, to other series of coins. For each major United States type, including commemoratives, this chapter includes a pair of photographs, one of an obverse and one of a reverse, both as well struck as possible. You should consider any coin you encounter that is as well struck as the illustrated example to rate a 5 on the strike scale. For now, you will have to use your best judgment to grade the strike of less well struck examples.

If the type is commonly available as a proof, I have also included photographs of proof obverse and reverse, again as well struck as possible. If you have any doubt as to whether a coin is a business strike or a proof, compare it to the photographs. In most cases, the differences should be clear.

Then you will find another set of obverse and reverse photographs, this time with the high points of the design accented in red. This will help you determine whether the coin is fully mint state or not. Simply reread the chapter entitled "The Grading Process: Mint State or Almost Uncirculated?" if you are still unsure.

There is a final set of obverse and reverse photographs which illustrate the places on the coin where bagmarks, hairlines and other surface impairments are considered most and least detracting. To refresh your memory, you may wish to reread the chapter entitled "Surface Preservation." The color code is as follows:

RED = Worst (Average x 4)
ORANGE = Bad (Average x 2)
YELLOW = Average
GREEN = Better (Average x 1/2)
BLUE = Best (Average x 1/4)

NOTE: These quantifications are approximate.

Keep in mind that an important factor to weigh is how well hidden (or obvious) the surface impairment is.

Lustre and eye-appeal are graded the same way for most series as they are for Morgan dollars. Most exceptions apply to all of the issues of each particular metal (copper, copper-nickel, nickel or gold), and will be noted.

Copper Coins

The most important difference when grading copper coins is that spotting is taken into account as part of the "surface preservation" grade as well as the "eye-appeal" grade. When nickel, silver and gold coins acquire toning (and even spotting in some cases), that toning can often be removed with no ill effects. This is rarely the case with copper coins. Hence, most collectors will highly value a copper coin that has its full original red copper color.

Example of Brown Uncirculated
Example of Red & Brown Uncirculated
Example of Red Uncirculated

Draped Bust Half Cent - Business Strike
Classic Half Cent - Business Strike
Classic Half Cent - Proof
Braided Hair Half Cent - Business Strike
Braided Hair Half Cent - Proof

Draped Bust Large Cent - Business Strike
Classic Large Cent - Business Strike
Coronet Large Cent - Business Strike
Braided Hair Large Cent - Business Strike
Braided Hair Large Cent - Proof

Flying Eagle Cent - Business Strike
Flying Eagle Cent - Proof
Indian Head Cent - Business Strike
Indian Head Cent - Proof
Lincoln Cent - Business Strike
Lincoln Cent - Matte Proof

Two Cent Piece - Business Strike
Two Cent Piece - Proof

High Points of Design
Draped Bust Half Cent
Classic Half Cent
Braided Hair Half Cent
Coronet Large Cent
Indian Head Cent
Lincoln Cent
Visual Impairment Severity Levels
Classic Half Cent
Flying Eagle Cent
Indian Head Cent
Lincoln Cent


Nickel Coins

The only major difference between nickel coins and other coins is that spots are slightly more detracting on nickel than on silver or gold but less detracting than they are on copper coins. This is because spots on nickel are harder to remove than they are from silver or gold.

(NOTE: Copper-nickel coins such as Flying Eagle cents are graded approximately halfway in-between the way copper and nickel coins are each graded.)

Three Cents (Nickel) - Business Strike
Three Cents (Nickel) - Proof
Shield Nickel - Business Strike
Shield Nickel - Proof
Liberty Nickel - Business Strike
Liberty Nickel - Proof
Buffalo Nickel (Type One) - Business Strike
Buffalo Nickel (Type Two) - Business Strike
Buffalo Nickel - Matte Proof
Buffalo Nickel - Brilliant Proof
Jefferson Nickel - Business Strike
Jefferson Nickel - Proof
High Points of Design
Three Cents (Nickel)
Liberty Nickel
Buffalo Nickel
Jefferson Nickel
Visual Impairment Severity Levels
Three Cents (Nickel)
Shield Nickel
Buffalo Nickel


Silver Coins

For all practical purposes, you have already learned to grade silver coins. Apply what you have learned about grading Morgan silver dollars to the other silver types illustrated below. The market currently places great emphasis on certain striking characteristics of some series. For example, tremendous premiums are paid for Mercury Dimes with Full Bands and Standing Liberty Quarters with Full Head. I have included close-up photographs of normal strikes, full bands or full head of the minimum acceptable sharpness and 100% fully struck bands or full head.

Mercury Dime - Non-Full Bands
Mercury Dime - Barely-Full Split Bands
Mercury Dime - 100% Fully Struck
Standing Liberty Quarter - Non-Full Head
Standing Liberty Quarter - Barely-Full Head
Standing Liberty Quarter - 100% Fully Struck

Three Cents (Silver) T.1 - Business Strike
Three Cents (Silver) T.2 - Business Strike
Three Cents (Silver) T.2 - Proof
Three Cents (Silver) T.3 - Business Strike
Three Cents (Silver) T.3 - Proof

Capped Bust Half Dime - Business Strike
Liberty Seated Half Dime - No Stars - B.S.
Liberty Seated Half Dime - No Drapery - B.S.
Liberty Seated Half Dime - Stars - B.S.
Liberty Seated Half Dime - Stars - Proof
Liberty Seated Half Dime - Legend - B.S.
Liberty Seated Half Dime - Legend - Proof

Draped Bust Dime - Business Strike
Capped Bust Dime - Large - Business Strike
Capped Bust Dime - Small - Business Strike
Liberty Seated Dime - No Drapery - B.S.
Liberty Seated Dime - No Drapery - Proof
Liberty Seated Dime - Stars - B.S.
Liberty Seated Dime - Legend - B.S.
Liberty Seated Dime - Legend - Proof
Barber Dime - Business Strike
Barber Dime - Proof
Mercury Dime - Business Strike
Mercury Dime - Proof
Roosevelt Dime - Business Strike
Roosevelt Dime - Proof

Twenty Cent Piece - Business Strike
Twenty Cent Piece - Proof

Draped Bust Quarter - Business Strike
Capped Bust Quarter - Large - B.S.
Capped Bust Quarter - Small - B.S.
Capped Bust Quarter - Small - Proof
Liberty Seated Quarter - No Motto - B.S.

Liberty Seated Quarter - No Motto - Proof
Liberty Seated Quarter - Arrows/Rays - B.S.
Liberty Seated Quarter - Arrows - B.S.
Liberty Seated Quarter - Motto - B.S.
Liberty Seated Quarter - Motto - Proof
Barber Quarter - Business Strike
Barber Quarter - Proof
Liberty Standing Quarter - T.1 - B.S.
Liberty Standing Quarter - T.2 - B.S.
Washington Quarter - Business Strike
Washington Quarter - Proof

Draped Bust Half - Small Eagle - B.S.
Draped Bust Half - Heraldic Eagle - B.S.
Capped Bust Half - Early - B.S.
Capped Bust Half - Business Strike
Capped Bust Half - Reeded Edge - B.S.
Liberty Seated Half - No Motto - B.S.
Liberty Seated Half - No Motto - Proof
Liberty Seated Half - Arrows/Rays - B.S.
Liberty Seated Half - Motto - B.S.
Liberty Seated Half - Motto - Proof
Barber Half - Business Strike
Barber Half - Proof
Walking Liberty Half - Business Strike
Walking Liberty Half - Proof
Franklin Half - Business Strike
Franklin Half - Proof

Flowing Hair Dollar - Business Strike
Draped Bust Dollar - Small Eagle - B.S.
Draped Bust Dollar - Heraldic Eagle - B.S.
Liberty Seated Dollar - Gobrecht - Proof
Liberty Seated Dollar - No Motto - B.S.
Liberty Seated Dollar - No Motto - Proof
Liberty Seated Dollar - Motto - B.S.
Liberty Seated Dollar - Motto - Proof
Trade Dollar - Business Strike
Trade Dollar - Proof
Morgan Dollar - Business Strike
Morgan Dollar - Proof
Peace Dollar - High Relief - B.S.
Peace Dollar - Business Strike
Eisenhower Dollar - Proof

High Points of Design
Three Cent Silver - Type One
Three Cent Silver - Type Three
Bust Half Dime
Liberty Seated Dime
Barber Dime
Mercury Dime
Capped Bust Quarter
Liberty Seated Quarter
Barber Quarter
Standing Liberty Quarter
Washington Quarter
Capped Bust Half Dollar
Liberty Seated Half Dollar
Walking Liberty Half Dollar
Draped Bust Dollar
Liberty Seated Dollar
Trade Dollar
Peace Dollar
Visual Impairment Severity Levels
Three Cents Silver - Type Three
Capped Bust Dime
Liberty Seated Dime
Mercury Dime
Twenty Cent Piece
Capped Bust Quarter
Standing Liberty Quarter
Washington Quarter
Barber Half
Walking Liberty Half
Franklin Half
Trade Dollar
Morgan Dollar
Peace Dollar
High points of Design - Silver Commemoratives
Isabella Quarter
Lafayette Dollar
Alabama Centennial
Albany
Antietam
Arkansas Centennial
Bay Bridge
Boone
Bridgeport
California Jubilee
Cincinnati
Cleveland
Columbia South Carolina
Columbian exposition
Connecticut
Delaware Tercentary
Elgin
Gettysburg
Grant
Hawaiian
Hudson
Huguenot - Walloon
Iowa
Lexington - Concord
Illinios Centenial Lincoln
Long Island
Lynchburg
Main
Maryland
Missouri
Monroe Doctrine
New Rochelle
Norfolk
Oregon Trail
Panama - Pacific
Pilgrim
Rhode Island
Roanoake
Robinson - Arkansas
San Diego
Sesquicentinial
Spanish Trail
Stone Mountain
Texas Centennial
Fort Vancouver
Vermont
Booker T. Washington
Washington Carver
Wisconsin
York County


Gold Coins

Gold seldom holds a fingerprint. Spotting on gold coins is often removable and usually detracts little from the grade even when it's not removable.

Sometimes gold coins acquire a beautiful orange-red hue. This coloring is considered by most numismatists to be the most desirable type of toning on gold coins. Attractive, well balanced orange-red toning on gold coins generally merits a 5 on the eye-appeal scale.

One Dollar Gold, Type One, Business Strike
One Dollar Gold, Type Two, Business Strike
One Dollar Gold, type Three, Business Strike
One Dollar Gold, type Three, Proof
Classic Quarter Eagle, Business Strike
Liberty Quarter Eagle, Business Strike
Liberty Quarter Eagle, Proof
Indian Quarter Eagle, Business Strike
Indian Quarter Eagle, Proof
Three Dollar Gold, Business Strike
Three Dollar Gold, Proof
Four Dollar Gold, Stella, Proof
Capped Bust Right, Half Eagle, Business Strike
Capped Draped Bust, Half Eagle, Business Strike
Capped Head Left, Half Eagle, Business Strike
Classic Half Eagle, Business Strike
Liberty Half Eagle, No Motto, Business Strike
Liberty Half Eagle, Motto, Business Strike
Liberty Half Eagle, Motto, Proof
Indian Half Eagle, Business Strike
Indian Half Eagle, Proof
Capped Bust Eagle, Business Strike
Liberty Eagle, Business Strike
Liberty Eagle, Proof
Indian Eagle, Wire Edge, Business Strike
Indian Eagle, No Motto, Business Strike
Indian Eagle, Motto, Business Strike
Indian Eagle, Motto, Proof
Liberty Double Eagle, No Motto, Business Strike
Liberty Double Eagle, Twenty D, Business Strike
Liberty Double Eagle, Business Strike
Liberty Double Eagle, Proof
St. Gaudens Double Eagle, High Relief, Business Strike
St. Gaudens Double Eagle, No Motto, Business Strike
St. Gaudens Double Eagle, With Motto, Business Strike
St. Gaudens Double Eagle, With Motto, Proof
High points of Design - Gold
One Dollar Gold, Type One
One Dollar Gold, Type Two
One Dollar Gold, Type Three
Classic Head, Quarter Eagle
Liberty, Quarter Eagle
Indian Head, Quarter Eagle
Three Dollar Gold
Liberty Eagle
Indian Eagle
Liberty Double Eagle
St. Gaudens Double Eagle, (High Relief)
Visual Impairment Security Levels - Gold
One Dollar Gold, Type One
Indian Quarter, Eagle
Liberty Half, Eagle
Indian Half, Eagle
Liberty, Double Eagle
Saint Gaudens, Double Eagle
High points of Design - Gold Commemoratives
Grant
Lewis and Clark
Louisiana Purchase Jefferson
Louisiana Purchase Mckinley
Mckinley Memorial
Panama - Pacific Exposition
Panama - Pacific Quarter Eagle
Sesquicentennial Quarter Eagle


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