Then buying the grade sight-unseen regardless of the plastic or the coin is especially bad! That said, I am embarrassed to admit that in my zeal to upgrade an XF-40 Indian-Head Eagle that I am guilty of doing just that.
As a type collector, my main focus is to obtain the highest graded coins I can afford for a particular series. Thus very few, if any of the coins in my set are key dates or even semi-keys and most of the coins are quite common.
With the price of gold currently down, I had determined to upgrade all my gold coins to MS-63 unless either my budget limited it or I was happy with the coin I already owned. Since I already owned an XF-40 Indian-Head Eagle, I deemed an MS-63 eagle an acceptable upgrade.
1926 and 1932 Indian-Head Eagles are probably the most common dates in the entire series. Prices for these two coins grading MS-63 are quite reasonable. Furthermore, the population reports for both NGC and PCGS indicate that they are in good supply.
This is the point where I made my first mistake. I should have researched each gold type separately to see if MS-63 was the best grade I could afford. If I had done my homework, I would have discovered that MS-64 is also an affordable grade for both the 1926 and 32 Indian-Head Eagle.
In addition to not adequately researching the coin I wanted to buy, I was impatient. For those lacking patience, having a pocketbook flush with cash after just selling a few coins can sometimes result in rash purchases. When I was a young boy with money to spend in my pocket my mom oftentimes wisely remarked that the money was burning a hole in my pocket. As it turned out, there was no rush to buy another coin. Thus, what I should have done was to wait and cherry pick the MS-63 with the most eye appeal. After all, what is the hurry since there is such a good supply of coins.
Rather, I went for the cheapest MS-63 I could find and that sight-unseen without returns. This proved fatal when the coin finally arrived and I was not entirely happy with it. Do not get me wrong, I am not disputing the grade, I am only saying that I did not like the coin. A word to the wise, stock listing pictures are always better and maybe higher graded than the coin you receive.
To be more specific about the coin I bought, I found the luster on it to be flat and unattractive. Furthermore, I found numerous contact marks and deep cuts in places that distracted my eyes from the beauty of the coins devices. Again, not to dispute the grade but I think that those marks are common for the grade. Good research would have made me aware of this fact before I spent one red cent.
Along with a lack of patience, I also have a cheap streak. Another word of advice, if you wanna be cheap you're in the wrong hobby. Rather, a person should focus on value. At times there is a fine line between the two and this time I fell on the wrong side.
Moreover, impatient people typically refuse to invest the proper time needed to research the coins they would like to buy. You can only help yourself by researching the coin you want and the more time you spend doing this the more you help yourself.
Dissatisfied with the coin I had, I continued to peruse E-Bay listings until I found a coin grading MS-64 CAC that I fell in love with. Though this coin would cost me $450-$500 more than the other coin, I did not think twice before I pulled the trigger on it. Yes, I ended up spending a lot of money that I did not need to, but at least I can probably sell the MS-63 at a profit when the price of gold goes back up. Otherwise, I might trade the MS-63 eagle for another coin that I like. In the end, I should have listened to my own advice and I hope that I won't be making this mistake again.
From my side to side comparison you will easily see why I like the MS-64 so much better. The luster is robust, the contact marks are not as numerous, and the cuts are not nearly as deep. Clearly, I will never have to upgrade this coin and my goal will always remain to buy the best coin I can afford.
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