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A Grading Odyssey With a Tragic Ending



A true story of a coin that started as 58, then to bodybag, 62, 63, 63PQ, 64 and, alas, 61.

This is a true story of what was once an absolutely gorgeous 1821 bust half: champagne gold with silvery electric blue, magenta, and green toning about peripheries and changing to light golden centers -balanced on both sides; lustrous w/full cartwheel, no discernible marks, no wear - even the clasp was well-struck.

I bought it July, 2001, for MS62 money even though it was graded as AU58 by PCGS (old PCGS holder(green): paid $1250 when MS60 bid was $500 and MS63 bid was $1500. My opinion: Solid MS64, likely MS65 - coin was seriously undergraded - absolutely no sign of wear on cheeks, hair, eagle, etc. Coin was on consigment.

Sent to NGC (in holder) Body bagged, artificially toned.

Sent to PCI (in holder): MS62

Waited about 9 months,

Sent to PCI (in MS62 holder): MS63

About 6 months later,

Sent to PCI (in MS63 holder): MS63PQ

About 3 months later (Jan, 2003)

Sent to NCS with note to remove toning if artificial,

Else forward to NGC

No conservation

In NGC MS64 holder: 1727170-002.

I was going to wait about 6 months and do another regrade (to PCGS), but illness in family caused me to put coin collecting on hold until late 2004. I then decided to sell my completed type set and start an SLQ type set.

The half was sold on consignment to a dealer for 50% more than grey sheet bid for an MS64. Dealer clearly felt that coin was MS65.

Found out later the dealer cracked it out of the slab and caused a scratch across the cheek.

Sigh - that once beautiful coin is now residing in an MS61 holder.

Of course, this true story raises a slew of questions regarding grading, conservation, regrading philosophy (some absolutely believe that any coin submitted in a holder will NOT be graded higher) ...




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