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Coin Grading Test

Richard Simpson


In early October, of 2004, following discussions on canadiancoin.com, I asked if some of the members would like to join a small group, and submit coins to two grading services, and working on the theory that raw coins only would be sent, I immediately had several takers.

The plan was to submit (to me) $100 each, plus some coins to be graded. I wish to thank the following people for joining in this test, Randy Ash (Edmonton), Wayne Bertoia (New Westminster), Jesse Mills (Toronto), Frank Leardi (Toronto), Rob Turner (Fountain City, CA), Willard Burton (Brampton) and Mike Wilson (Moncton, NB). It takes a lot of trust, as I had never met the first three in the list, had not met Rob until just prior to doing this test, while the others I knew fairly well.

By the middle of November, it was all in place. The original plan was to send coins to PCGS, however, the cost was such that the total funds available wouldn’t cover it. It was decided to send 30 coins to ICG for grading.

The coins were all judged and graded by me prior to sending them, which is a good test in itself. The coins were then sent to ICG by a Canadian courier. The coins were sent to the wrong address, and a frantic call from a young lady who received them brought the first set of worry. I telephoned the courier, and promptly got the message that the package had been delivered. Despite my pleas to the contrary, no one would listen, and it took a phone call to ICG, who cheerfully picked up the (still) intact package.

The coins were returned from ICG on January 17, and the break out of the holders started anew. All the coins were scanned first, and then the breaking of holders began. It was found that the ICG holders are very durable, with the coin held in a soft, elastic material that keeps the coin centered and free from rotation. A small tap with a hammer while holding the slabs on an angle easily shattered them.

Coin

Description, grade

ICG

ICCS

1881H cent

Obv. 2, MS-62 RB, 40% luster, raw

MS-64RB *

MS-63 RB

1904 5 ˘

Bright, estimated grade AU-50, raw

MS-61 ***

AU-55

1947 $

ANACS graded MS-61 pointed 7, quad die obverse. Attributed properly

MS-61   *

MS-60

1950 $

Arnprior type, raw, marked CH BU (AU-58)

MS-63

MS-63

1925 5 ˘

Raw, estimated grade VF-20

EF-45  ***

VF-30

1885 5 ˘

PCGS graded VF-30 misattributed 5/5 type

Was called small 5, clearly a 5/5

VF-20

VF-20

1919 50 ˘

Raw, marked EF-40 (overgraded)

EF-45   ***

VF-30

1872H 25 ˘

Raw, may have been cleaned (VF-20)

EF-40   *

VF-30

1916 10 ˘

Raw, bright, appears borderline Unc. (AU58)

MS-61   *

MS-62

1891 5 ˘

Raw, bright (AU-50)

AU-58   *

AU-50

1954 $

ICCS PW 041, graded PL-65

PL-66    *

PL-65

1925 5 ˘

This coin is interesting as it had been graded twice before by PCGS and ICCS

AU-58   ***

EF-45

1926 5 ˘

Far 6, also graded twice before by PCGS and ICCS, widely different grades assigned

EF-40   *

VF-30

1973 25 ˘

Large Bust, raw from a Double Dollar set

PL-67   **

SP-65

1902 cent

Raw, Red. (estimate MS-63R)

MS-64R

MS-64R

1900 10 ˘

Raw, uncirculated with cameo

AU-58  *

MS-60C

1899 cent

Raw, nearly full red, uncirculated

MS-64 RB

MS-64R

1900 25 ˘

Raw, bright estimate AU-55

AU-58   *

AU-55

1928 25 ˘

Raw, bright estimate AU-55

AU-58   *

MS-60

1858 5 ˘

Medium dark toning, was ICCS graded, and removed from holder RT 001 AU-50

 

EF-45  *

 

AU-50

1904 5 ˘

Dark toning, was ICCS graded, and removed

From holder PX 679, AU-50

AU-58  **

AU-50

1912 10 ˘

Medium toning, was ICCS graded, and removed from holder, PX 628, MS-60

AU-55  **

EF-45

1914 10 ˘

Light toning, good eye appeal. Was ICCS graded, removed. PX 629, AU-55

AU-55  ***

EF-40 RN

1882H cent

Raw, red and brown, looks Uncirculated

MS61RB***

AU-55

1903H 5 ˘

Raw, large H type. Clashed die Obverse, Unc.

AU58LH **

MS-62 LH

1944 5 ˘

Raw, Bright, slightly matte finish

MS-65

MS-65

1894 20 ˘

Newfoundland, raw, showing wear F-15

VF-20   *

F-15

1954 10 ˘

Raw, near gem, proof like with cameo

PL-67   *

PL-65 C

1900 50 ˘

Medium toning, raw. Couple of marks

Body bag **

F-12 scr.

1949 50 ˘

Raw, ugly toning, uncirculated

MS-62  *

MS-63

The 30 coins were then sent to ICCS, hand delivered at the CAND show. One of the great features of ICCS being local is that Mr. Cornwell attends most of the shows in the Toronto-Hamilton area, and is available for pickup and delivery of coins from dealers known to him.

The coins were returned from ICCS during the Torex show. I took the coins with me, scanned them all again, and distributed them to the correct owners of the coins at the show.

Some interesting results, some ICG coins were graded differently than expected. Generally, most were the same as ICCS, 5 cents nickels were all graded higher. ICCS graded some of their own graded coins lower than they had before.

The service at ICG is first rate; the service at ICCS is first rate. The cost to send 30 coins to ICG is $600 US, (or $740.30 Canadian at the time). The cost for 30 coins at ICCS is $192.60 (lower rate because I sent in 100+ coins) Total cost of the project was $932.90, of which amount the people in the study all paid an equal share.

Shipping problems using a Canadian courier caused some problems, the coins delivered to ICG were sent to the wrong address, and as they were not all my coins, it was a real worry.

It was never my intention of being overly critical of any service for slabbing coins. Third party grading is a fact of life with coins. The cost of doing this can be considerable, and with Canada Post not offering insurance for coins, it can be a worrisome.

I am impressed with ICG’s holder, and their shipping method which keeps all the coins isolated in a stiff shipping box.  Coins marked * at one grading notch different, those with ** are two notches different, those with *** are three notches different.

Trends value of the coins as graded by ICG and ICCS are shown in the following chart. The grade MS-61 is seldom used in Canada, and where “trends” does not show the price of a particular grade, it is estimated.

Coin

ICG grade

Trends

ICCS grade

Trends

1881H cent

MS-64 Red & Brown

$800

MS-63 RB

$400

1904 5 ˘

MS-61

$325

AU-55

$160

1947 $

MS-61

$500

MS-60

$475

1950 $ Arn

MS-63

$175

MS-63

$175

1925 5 ˘

EF-45

$400

VF-30

$200

1885/5 5 ˘

VF-20

$300

VF-20

$300

1919 50 ˘

EF-45

$225

VF-30

$90

1872H 25 ˘

EF-40

$175

VF-30

$125

1916 10 ˘

MS-61

$140

MS-62

$175

1891 5 ˘

AU-58

$170

AU-50

$95

1954 $

PL-66

$500

PL-65 Cameo

$400

1925 5 ˘

AU-58

$1100

EF-45

$500

1926 Far 6 5 ˘

EF-40

$700

VF-30

$525

1973 25 ˘ LB

PL-67

$800

SP-65

$300

1902 cent

MS-64 Red

$250

MS-64 Red

$250

1900 10 ˘

AU-58

$200

MS-60 Cameo

$400

1899 cent

MS-64 Red & Brown

$300

MS-64 Red

$400

1900 25 ˘

AU-58

$500

AU-55

$400

1928 25 ˘

AU-58

$140

MS-60

$200

1858 5 ˘ SD

EF-45

$130

AU-50

$165

1904 5 ˘

AU-58

$175

AU-50

$80

1912 10 ˘

AU-55

$175

EF-45

$65

1914 10 ˘

AU-55

$135

EF-40 rim nick

$30

1882H cent

MS-61 Red & Brown

$100

AU-55

$40

1903H 5 ˘ LH

AU-58

$375

MS-62

$650

1944 5 ˘

MS-65

$35

MS-65

$35

1894 20˘ Nfld.

VF-20

$80

F-15

$45

1954 10 ˘

PL-67

$65

PL-65 Cameo

$65

1900 50 ˘

No grade given

$100

F-12 scratch

$100

1949 50 ˘

MS-62

$110

MS-63

$200

The bottom line is that I felt that submitting coins for cross-grading may influence the graders opinion of the coin. I still feel that way, but have only a handful of coins broken out and graded twice. Some of the coins had been previously graded by other major services.

The bottom line, learn to grade your own coins. Buy the coin, not the holder.   

©2005 R&S Coins




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