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Seated Dollar Experts

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Hi ER, how have you been?


Well, I am not an expert at Seated Dollars, but for any seated coin, I look at the knee, the breast and the high points of the head. On the reverse, look at the eagle's head on AU/Unc coins. That's the first thing to wear.


Of course on a coin as large as a Seated Dollar, the fields will show some signs of circulation concurrent with any wear on the high points. If you see some "rub" on the high points, but no circulation marks or break in the luster in the large, open fields, then the coin may have "cabinet friction" and could still be a mint state coin. I like to grade these coins based on surfaces first, then by strike and wear. Just my opinion.


Dennis - earlyus.com

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in general and really the tip of the iceburg so to speak


for the more common and/or well struck issues of seated dollars


the highest points/signs of first wear on the coin on the obverse


is the knee to your left when looking at the coin or in other words her right knee and the one breast which is the one to your left when you are looking at the coin or in other words her right breast



on the reverse


the top tips of the eagles wings

the middle top part of the shield

the small area just to the lower right of the eagles eye






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Usually all of the high points tend to show wear at the same time. Once it becomes perceptable you are probably in the MS61-63 range. Yes MS63!

Even the neophyte can see in once into the AU range. I usually look at luster first as it is easier to assess. If the luster is scratch and chattered, you probably have rub on the high points too. I guess this is one of the reasons why I prefer either well worn AU coins or fully MS coins 64 and higher. The AU58-MS63 grades are in many ways tougher to assess and hang your hat on. Many differences of opinion here too even among experts. If you can see wear, the coin is heavily circulated. It is the lightly circulated pieces that are tough to identify as MS.

Now isn't that a misnomer?



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The only tricky thing re sliders here is that many of the type coins are from the bags of 1859 O & 1860 O $s released by the banks in the early 1960s.


Most of these coins grade in the MS 60-62 range, and look like the great white in 'Jaws' took a few bites out of them. Re the Nawlins Seated $s, the strike is typically weak on Miss Liberty's head, ditto re the star on each side of her head.


Look for luster breaks in these areas. If you see them, you have a circulated coin. Otherwise, the coin is a weakly struck Unc. The TPG will not ding the coin for a weak strike, though a strongly struck Nawlins Seated $ should bring a nice premium, because IMO, they are scarce.


FYI, the TPG are much tougher on Seated $s than on Morgans. Agree w Michael's comments re the high points on these coins.


EVP knows more about this series than I do; hopefully he'll chime in here.

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EVP knows more about this series than I do; hopefully he'll chime in here.


I've tried to refrain from saying anything because I don't have a coin in front of me. But, I would tend to agree with Mr. Jade in saying that the central obverse detail contains the highest points and thus is a great place to start to look for wear and tear.


This, then, brings us to the age-old questions of how to interpret high point apparent luster break and whether true sliders like those are MS63 or AU63?


I read Feld's thread about this issue, and I'm not really comfortable with everything he wrote. One thing that sticks out in my mind is the comment of looking at high point color being different than the surrounding color as being indicative of wear. I think not. The principles of fluid mechanics tell me that you can have more air flow at the high point than at the neighborhood. Look at just about every silver coin, and see how the stars tone faster than just beyond them. The difference in color is simply attributed to a non-homogeneous air flow over the entire coin.


I have two additional comments to add germane to this thread:


I don't think we need to discuss weakness of strike, especially when not on the high points, because that would only complicate the issue. For example, I don't care if the "Nawlins" coins have weak stars surrounding the head simply because that information won't help me decide if a coin is a slider or not. In fact, knowing that data might cause you to mistake wear for weakness! Just be objective, and remember that there are luster flow lines even in areas that aren't fully struck up.


For a large coin like this, people tend to forget to look at the fields. When you handle a raw coin like you're a regular person, chances are that you will scuff the fields somewhat. So, look for field wear. You can get luster break in the fields too!




PS Jeff - your use of the term "Nawlins" caused me great puzzlement for quite a while!

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EVP.... your last use of "you're" caused me quite a bit of consternation! grin.gif


I agree that in today's grading the fields are most likely to cause a coin to be downgraded to circulated status. The services are quite allowing these days for cabinet friction [and rightly so].

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