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.
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.
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.)
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.
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 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
Lewis and Clark
Louisiana Purchase Jefferson
Louisiana Purchase Mckinley
Panama - Pacific Exposition
Panama - Pacific Quarter Eagle
Sesquicentennial Quarter Eagle
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