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jwither
That’s what I thought all along Gert. Thank you.

 

So now back to my original question - why on earth does NGC (and other grading companies) grade copper coins based on their color that is due to Unnatural causes (eg. storage)?

 

A 1940 Penny in MS62BN and a 1940 Penny in MS62RD and a 1940 Penny in MS62RB is actually the same coin metallically (metaalgewys) and condition wise - the only difference is the way they were stored or handled that changed their color.

 

I think this is preposterous and a money making scheme thought out by grading companies - to get more coins graded - because if you have a 1940 MS62BN you must still be looking (according to them) for a 1940 MS62RD and a 1940 MS62RB ...

Hells Bells --- That is the SAME flippen coin!

 

What will be next? Silver coins graded in W (White) DW (Dark White) and GW (Greyish White) ???

 

I have a 1942 Half Crown in MS62W but am ALSO looking for the 1942 MS62DW and the 1942 MS62 GW ...

 

Pierre

 

I will answer your question.

 

By your argument, there is nothing different about coins with different grades either. After all, an MS-64 versus an MS-63, an MS-65 or for that matter a circulated coin, is still the same coin, just with more or less wear, a few more or less "tickmarks", a better or worse strike or other attributes that factor into grading. Why limit the comparison just to the color or metal?

 

The decision to assign different colors on bronze and copper and the different terminology on proof coins such as cameo and deep/ultra cameo is arbitrary. If they were not used, no one would be the wiser for it because no one would know it is "missing" just as most collectors did not give a hoot before about the difference in appearance between most coins that are now one (or sometimes even more) point(s) lower (or higher) on the grading scale. If anything is a "scam", that is a much bigger one but the grading services did not create that either. From what I know, collectors assigned a premium or penalty based upon what the coin actually looked like and the price spreads were absolutely much smaller.

 

And now that we are on this subject, how many times have I repeatedly pointed out how absurd it is for collectors in South Africa (and the US) to be so obsessed with "conditional" rarities, coins in the higher MS grades and coins that grade MS-60 or above generally? In South Africa coin collecting, everything I have observed shows that MS-60+ are preferred even when the higher grade coin is inferior which is not uncommon when comparing AU-58 to lower MS coins. To my knowledge, of anyone who has posted on this forum, I am the only one who considers the existing price structure to be absolutely absurd. No one else has said so even once that I recall since I started posting.

 

On the second point you are trying to make, you did not read my prior two posts because I already answered that statement. NGC and PCGS are not responsible for collecting practices in South Africa. South Africa is the only place on the planet to my knowledge where collectors and "investors" have decided that a "complete" collection must include one of each label (RD, RB or BN). So as I told you before, it cannot be a money making scheme because for it to be so, they would have had to have done something to convince people to buy multiple coins of the same issue. There is zero evidence of that anywhere or if there is, where is it? Go look in the definition of complete registry sets and you will not find it. If this was a scam of theirs, it certainly would be evident in there.

 

Not only is there no evidence that they have promoted it, it is almost certain that the idea never even occurred to them that anyone would waste their money in this manner. The fact some collectors are foolish enough to waste their money voluntarily is not proof of that, that we can know.

Edited by jwither

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jwither
Let me put it as strait forwarded as I can – Copper coins in RD (Red) and RB (Red Brown) does not exist in under MS grades – these “colours” (Red and Red Brown) are for some reason ONLY preserved for UNCIRCULATED and PROOF coins.

Only coins that actually circulated are graded in Brown (BN)

WHY?

It CANNOT be their metal content (Maybe Kobie Venter can help us out here?)

However, afterthought as it might be in your case, I think you hit the nail right on the head when referring to the STORAGE of copper coins over the years, being the reason for their colour change..

What does the USA forums say about this issue for the USA-copper coin colours?

 

Pierre

 

I forgot to answer your last question in this post.

 

NGC and PCGS could choose to assign the RB and RD designation to circulated coins if they wanted to. Why they do not, I do not know. I can tell you that they likely would bring zero premium over a BN most of the time if they did anyway.

 

The color change is caused by BOTH the storage and circulation because the cause is the same. The cause is the contact of the coin with chemical elements, whether the coin does or does not have wear. The storage from either the coin holder, coin album or the air. And the circulation from coming in contact with people's hands, being carried in people's pockets or purses and from coming in contact with other coins (or even other things). How the color changes and the color pattern on the coin is a function of how both the storage and handling occur.

 

What I am telling you here is consistent with what I have seen others post on the NGC Message Boards.

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Pierre_Henri
I will answer your question.

 

By your argument, there is nothing different about coins with different grades either. After all, an MS-64 versus an MS-63, an MS-65 or for that matter a circulated coin, is still the same coin, just with more or less wear, a few more or less "tickmarks", a better or worse strike or other attributes that factor into grading. Why limit the comparison just to the color or metal? .

I just cannot believe your feedback.

 

There is obviously a difference – or there should be - between a MS 63 and a MS 64 coin in terms of their wear/circulation. Coins have been graded for two hundred years based on the amount of circulation they have endured. That is what “grading” is all about in laymen’s terms.

 

But for some or other reason, you are restricted in NOT hearing what I am trying to tell you over and over again.

 

Why now, after two centuries, is the colour of a copper coin suddenly relevant when the coin is GRADED?

I have, and will post a picture of it if asked to do it here, an actual YELLOW farthing dated 1928 of the Union of South Africa – it is NOT brown, it is NOT Red Brown, and it is NOT Red – it is YELLOW – and not cleaned or artificially cleaned. It is just a fourth colour of the same coin – surely insignificant in terms of its GRADE.

 

I have seen REDISH gold coins and I have seen YELLOW gold coins and I have seen many colours in-between. I have seen even more varieties in colour when it gets to silver coins – from black (toned) silver to ice-white silver.

 

But no reference to that on the NGC or PCGS slabs – but it will come soon if we do not stand up to this colouring NONSENSE that creeped up in the copper issues –

 

I am the last person on earth that believe in conspiracy theories, but the colour issue in the coppers must surely be a test run by the grading companies:- to try their luck on future ventures in other metals – the MORE “colour varieties” (sic) they can grade – the higher their turnover will be.

The only thing I am in agreement with you is the fact that collecting the different colours like BN, RB and Red are totally absurd – totally incomprehensible – because they are the SAME coins, only stored or handled differently.

Pierre

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Cold Sea
I have, and will post a picture of it if asked to do it here, an actual YELLOW farthing dated 1928 of the Union of South Africa

 

I think this is the reason that the mint "blackened" the farthings so as not to confuse them with gold coins. As far as I know this is a bronze coin, so the yellow color should be normal if left untreated. The rest, black,red, brown etc is mint and man made. As for grading the color, it might seem silly to you and me, but I repeat myself when I say that dealers benefit most from the US grading system and will welcome any additional selling point.

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Pierre_Henri
I think this is the reason that the mint "blackened" the farthings so as not to confuse them with gold coins. As far as I know this is a bronze coin, so the yellow color should be normal if left untreated. The rest, black,red, brown etc is mint and man made. As for grading the color, it might seem silly to you and me, but I repeat myself when I say that dealers benefit most from the US grading system and will welcome any additional selling point.

 

The blackened farthings are anoher issue, NOTHING to do with what we are dealing here -,,,

 

Pierre

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jwither

Pierre,

 

If you say you disagree with me on everything else on this subject other than that one point, then I guess we do. But then, that is fine because I happen to disagree with the opinions of most here on one thing or another.

 

I consider the labels on the slab only because of the financial aspects which is why I cannot ignore them. Otherwise, I do not care about them whether the attribute in question is the grade, the color or CAM versus non-CAM on proof coinage.

 

With copper or bronze specifically, I generally prefer RD or RB to BN given the same grade but it has nothing to do with the label. I prefer them when the coins LOOK better which generally they do and which is likely why collectors initially preferred them even before the grading services started this practice. I also prefer them for the same reason other collectors claim to prefer higher graded coins, because it is a closer approximation to the original strike and because they are scarcer.

 

On the numerical grades, the Sheldon scale has not really been used much longer than these color designations. So though grading may have been around for 200 years (I am not aware of the specific length of time), the use of grades such as MS-63 or MS-64 certainly has not (as you know). I'm not sure exactly how long it has been used, but it is less than most here may believe. When I returned to the United States in 1975, if it was in use, it apparently was not in wide use. I say "apparently" because I never saw any of the dealers where I went use it and I did not see it in the numismatic literature either. The Sheldon scale was created in 1949 but only initially applied to US early large cents and half cents because that is what Sheldon collected. My first recollection of it was in 1979 in an edition of Coin World during the height of the metals mania but even then, all the currently used grades were not in use. For example, MS-63 (choice uncirculated) and MS-65 (brilliant uncirculated) were used but not MS-64.

 

On the motives of the grading services, if you do not believe me, go look at the census populations for South Africa. How many RB plus RD are in it? Somewhere between 1000 and 2000 with most the 1892 and 1898 ZAR. Even if all the bronze are added together, it is slightly more than 5000.

 

I use the South Africa census counts in my reply because collectors in the US (or elsewhere) are not the ones who are buying each color. It is only those in South Africa who are doing so. So even if your claim on their motives was correct, the fact that NGC and PCGS choose to add this description on the label has no bearing whasoever on their submission volumes outside of South Africa.

 

If NGC (or PCGS) are trying to induce people to get more coins graded through this method, they sure selected a really poor choice to do it. The incremental revenue is so trivial it is a waste of time to even bother with it. That, along with the lack of any definition to include these colors in "complete" Registry Sets (which are a marketing tool to increase submission volume) should be all anyone needs to know that this is NOT why they do it. I cannot tell you when this practice started, but I expect that collectors in the United States (which primarily drive the TPG practices) were already doing it first and that the TPG did not invent it. The same applies to cameo proofs, though I have never heard of anyone (even in South Africa) collecting all three strikes simultaneously.

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Pierre_Henri
Pierre,

 

If you say you disagree with me on everything else on this subject other than that one point, then I guess we do. But then, that is fine because I happen to disagree with the opinions of most here on one thing or another.

.

 

I am in disagreement with you on this whole copper colour issue – but that is where my disagreement with your views almost ends.

 

If nobody has said it before, them I will say that I agree FULLY with you on the sensitive issue of people buying the slab vs. buying the coin. A MS60 can be a horrible coin compared to a beautiful AU58 but for some reason (as you have pointed out so many times) most buyers will prefer the ugly duckling as long as it is MS and in the slab. Yes you are right but there are few of us in our corner.

 

However, there is one issue that you have raised many times before - that I am in two minds about – but will probably disagree with you in the final instance. I think that you put too much emphasis (premium) on the investment side of coins – almost always underplaying the collector’s side.

 

What really do the words “He paid too much for this or that coin mean”? (In general)

 

Some fool (my words) paid R400 for a coin that is only worth R300? So what – that COLLECTOR (not investor) will have years and years of pleasure from that coin – the R100 he or she paid too much is the price of one cinema ticket that will be forgotten in a day or three. And let’s rather not mention the “returns” one gets from other hobbies like golf here ...

 

But the coin will be treasured and enjoyed for many years - and will even give at least some monitory return to the collector that will only be a BONUS when one day sold.

 

How do you measure the pleasure and enjoyment derived from coin collecting in monetary terms? One simply cannot do it – but you are underplaying this side of the coin hobby as if it is an afterthought when buying coins.

NO, it is not, the pleasure derived from collecting coins (or stamps or whatever) it is the MOST important issue for many many people who try / strive to complete their collections.

Nobody ever raises the point that he overpaid for this or that golf day he had whilst playing the most horrifying golf possible. Because he (or she) sees it as a hobby and will take the good with the bad in his/her stride.

But when it comes to another HOBBY like coin collecting, THEN everything changes because of the fool I am for overpaying on this or that coin.

My motto is very simple : I would rather invest in gold than coins, but would rather collect coins than gold

And I am a bad golf player.

Pierre

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jwither

On the point you are making in this last post of yours, I actually do not disagree with or at least disagree with you completely.

 

The primary reason I post as many comments about the financial side is because many of my posts are in response to someone else's claim about a coin's value or recent price. And since there is no balance on this forum at all, it is up to me to present the logical and opposing view. This is not to say that everyone has to agree with me (most I believe do not) but people need to be warned about what prices are "reasonable" versus the only benchmark which is avaliable, historical and relative prices based upon a coin's merits as well as what people can realistically be expected to pay. The evidence I see from prior comments is that does not seem to exist at all here. A coin may become more valuable or overpriced anyway, but I believe the logic I have laid out in my posts is much better than any other argument made here to the contrary. Most of the time, other posts provide little or even no logic at all.

 

In the specific example you gave with someone paying R400 when the coin is only "worth" R300, I have no opinion on that all. I have no opinion because that purchase is an alternative to other forms of consumption and given the trivial amount, it is irrelevant from a financial standpoint whether someone buys a coin with R400 (or near it) or throws that money away. In one of my prior posts, I even used the golf analogy myself.

 

Whenever I have criticized a price on a specific coin, it has almost always been on those which are considered expensive by SA standards and occasionally, less expensive coins that still sell for a high multiple to a lower graded one.

 

Anyone is free to pay as much for any coin as they wish, it is their money. But given that the prices in question that I have criticized are almost never trivial by SA standards, anyone who pays these prices using the rationalization that it is an "investment" is deluding themselves. They may make money anyway but it will be despite the lack of value they received and not because of it.

 

And no, I do not believe that hardly any who are buying the more expensive coins, certainly in any quantity, do so primarily for non-financial reasons. It is almost certainly those who are mostly buying coins which have nominal value. If this were not true, then those who post here should be hoping for lower prices so that they can acquire more coins for the same outlay and/or complete their collections. Is there even one post here where anyone has remotely expressed that wish since I started posting? If so, I do not recall it. Instead, there have been any number of posts which cannot be called anything other than blatant "cheerleading" for higher prices.

 

I do not expect that coin prices will return to their historical (pre-TPG) price structure completely. There is too much money in this field for that to happen. However, I expect depressionary economic conditions to return many coins closer to the prior price structure and even (in some instances) prior price levels as opposed to the higher or much higher prices most on this forum and the US believe. I expect the prices of most coins to decline substantially, both in absolute terms and relatively between them. Coins are a luxury item which no one needs at all for any purpose and if what I expect happens, then fewer people are either going to be able or willing to do that.

 

The main reason I could see myself being wrong (even with depression) is if metals take off and pull coin prices with them. Metals have done better (since 2009 but not in 2008) than I thought they would but that has not really helped most coins anyway to my knowledge. The other reason would be if they become more necessary as an alternate store of value, if gold and silver ownership are restricted. Today, I consider them an extremely poor wealth preservation vehicle but that could change my mind somewhat.

 

Also, in some of my posts, I have mentioned the non-SA coins I collect. I do not comment on them that often but when I have, I have also stated that I did not buy any of them for "investment" purposes. Obviously, I try to get good value but if they lose value, I really do not care. You can go check my most recent purchase from the last Goldberg Sale, lot 4631 (Columbia NGC MS-65 undated quarter real) which cost me $531. It is certainly not an "investment" coin but is absolutely scarce or rare. I saw a raw one a few months ago but this one I bought is the only other I recall.

Edited by jwither

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