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A Disappointing Re-grade, but with a Silver Lining



What I wouldn't give to know the criteria by which my coins are graded. At least I have some solace knowing my coins are consistently graded.

In December of 2009, I bought a MS-64 1917 Type 1 Full Head, Standing Liberty Quarter. I remember my glee when I reported the same in a post and suggested that I might submit it for a re-grade. My SLQ is blast-white and has good luster. Additionally, it has extremely sharp devices with very few contact marks. To go with a full head, are full toes and fingers, it just had to grade better than MS-64.

The reasons for re-submitting my coin are simple; first, based on my impressions of the coin, I felt it was under graded. With my coin in a 10-year old holder, I thought I had a good chance at a higher grade. After all, were not grading standards to have supposedly slipped in recent years? Next, a one-point gain represents a near doubling of my coin?s worth and a $527 increase in value between 64 and 65. Finally, my 20th Century Type set would see a net gain of 835 points.

Because the market relies so heavily on their professional opinions, I see why graders have to be above reproach. NGC?s graders or PCGS?s for that matter, have the power to cause a coin to increase in value by hundreds and thousands of dollars based on ?their? opinion. That?s scary stuff when you think about it, leaving in the hands of a few people a multi-million or billion dollar industry.

I recently submitted my SLQ for re-grading, and as you may guess by the title of my post, I am somewhat less than pleased with the results, as there was no change in grade. To me this was a no-brainer for at least MS-65. The picture collage I am attaching to my post features my MS-64 type 1 SLQ alongside my MS-64 type 3 SLQ with a recessed date. As you can see, the type-1 has a much sharper strike with more eye appeal. My only guess as to why my 1917 SLQ is the same grade as my 1930 is that I am comparing apples and oranges. It seems that NGC grades the quarters separately based on the merits and unique features of each type.

In this case, whether or not I agree with the grade, the silver lining is that NGC appears to be consistent with their grading over time. Take into account these factors; first NGC cracked my coin out of its old holder, suggesting that the coin went to the graders raw. Secondly, with a ten-year span between submissions, it is very unlikely that the same trio of graders examined my coin. While I cannot comment on the facts surrounding recent posts regarding grading standards on SAE?s, I can take comfort in knowing that my coins will be graded fairly with consistency. As far as my MS-64 SLQ goes, it is worth keeping no matter what the grade, as I said before, I will say again, my SLQ is ?absolutely stunning?.

In the future, I will think long and hard before submitting a coin for a re-grade. While I am happy to have spent what I did to verify my coin?s grade, it gets very expensive to do this on a frequent basis. In the mean time, I will focus on honing my own grading skills. The best way to increase my skills is to read up on grading. I am thinking of buying a book by AMOS Publishing called ?Making the Grade?. I?m a little hesitant to buy it though, because it costs $30.00. If any of you know this book and can recommend it, please let me know. Until next time, Happy Collecting!





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