I have stated to fellow coin collectors and on the forums that I never want to buy a "bad" coin. I have even gone so far as to say I try my best to buy "great" coins. But, I failed to define "bad" or "great". This has lead to some collecting friends being a little hurt (my word not theirs), as I assume that they look upon the "bad" coin that I am considering buying to be a nicer example than the one held in their collection. My true feelings about coins: There are no bad coins, only bad holders.
A chocolate brown half cent in MS65BN is a trophy for nearly any collector. However, the same coin becomes a "bad coin" if it is in a 67+RD holder. At this grade, the coin becomes a bad deal. The premium is significant for the holder, and the grade will come under serious scrutiny when it comes time to sell. An MS63 that looks-to-grade MS65 is a "MUCH better" coin from an economic perspective. It's a better coin at a better price, simple.
In the end... I will either look at my coin a say "Wow" or I will say "Darn". Had I bought that 67+RD coin, I would feel a mild tinge of regret every time I looked at it. I would know I was holding a misrepresented coin, and paid-up to do it. That would be a mistake in my collecting strategy, and that makes the 67+RD a "bad" coin for me.
Here is what I do NOT mean when I say great or bad:
- I do not mean that the over-graded coin that I am considering makes one's circulated example worse. A bad MS64 will have zero impact on a "great" VF35.
- I am not trying to compare MS and Circulated examples of a coin as bad/good. They are completely different animals in my mind
- I do not mean that coins have to be in "Top Registry Sets" to be great coins. A type set in P01 would be very interesting, challenging and affordable.
To sum it all up... to me a great coin is the "right" coin that fits into the theme/grade/aesthetic/budget of my collection. Everyone is entitled to their own definition of greatness based on his/her own criteria for their collection. In the end... we look at our collections and say "wow" or "darn" based on that definition.
I apologize to anyone I have offended in my opinions regarding "great" vs "bad" coins.