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Mark Feld won't post much here, but he makes some great ones across the street!

5 posts in this topic

I just thought that his post was so worthwhile, it was worthy of linkage over here! laugh.gif


Sorry Mark! (Or maybe not insane.gif).



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I think Mark is a masochist. If we could just find a way for NGC to screw Mark I think we could get him over here full time. I'll start PMing people at NGC to see if we can get this done. What do you think fingerprints on the coins and severe undergrades?


And feel free to steal his entire post instead of linking. No need to drive traffic away from these forums.


There is often quite a bit of discussion on the forum, regarding whether PCGS's grading is loose or tight at or over a given time (period). I briefly addressed this subject in a recent post to another thread which had been started by someone else and thought I'd elaborate on it a bit here....


First, PCGS grades (edited to add: in excess of) roughly 50,000 coins per month (or 600,000 per year). While this is a very imprecise guesstimate, hopefully it will serve to make my point, that no matter how hard we might try, none of us sees a significant percentage of the coins that are graded over the course of a day, week, month, year, whatever. So, when we experience and/or speak about grading results, we are typically dealing with an extremely small percentage and relative sample size.


Second, even if we could see all of those coins, most of us don't necessarily have the required experience, reference points/perspective and expertise to determine whether the grading is tight, loose or on the money. For example - collector or dealer X might proclaim that PCGS was loose, because his/her grading results were better than expected. Perhaps PCGS was loose BUT, perhaps HE/SHE was tight and/or expected too little.


Conversely, dealer or collector Z complains bitterly that PCGS was brutally tight because his/her grading results were worse than expected. Maybe PCGS was tight BUT, maybe HE/SHE was loose and/or expected too much. How do we know which it is in each case just mentioned? Answer - we don't.


Third, even if we did have all of the required experience, reference points/perspective and expertise mentioned above, it is my contention that each of us, for various reasons, has our own built in bias's and that none of us can be completely objective in evaluating grading results.


In virtually every case, we want high grades - we don't want low grades. If we have paid a 65 price for a coin, we don't want a 64 grade assigned to it. If our 65 price coin comes back graded 64, that is a bad thing, emotionally and financially, so surely, PCGS must have been tight if that happened. Then again, maybe not!


I think it is human nature to want to see/acknowledge the positives in our coins/prizes - we don't want to see/acknowledge the negatives. I have seen buyers of uncertified coins or crack-outs examine them, hoping NOT to find any flaws which could account for a lower grade than would be financially beneficial. I have also seen these buyers cringe, when detecting flaws upon re-examination, which they did not see at the time they purchased the coin. It is understandable that we want to see the positives, not the negatives in our coins. But, that reality usually prevents us from being objective in our assessments. If our "expectations" are based upon "hope", we're not being objective.


Fourth, most of us want to feel (and/or be acknowledged by others as) "sharp", capable, correct, knowledgeable, etc. It's difficult for many to accept the responsibility/reality that maybe such is not (always) the case. This often causes us to blame the grading company, rather than ourselves, when things don't turn out the way we want them to.


I don't expect everyone to agree with me on this subject but hope this will stir up some thinking and discussion on a topic which affects many of us, occasionally, if not often.


All Mark Feld's words

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I didn't read Mark's post. It was too long and I don't have the time right now. But, I do know that it's time consuming to make the same post in more than one location. On rare occasion, this isn't a big deal. But, it becomes second nature just to do it in one place.


As for just posting a link with a very brief intro... I tried that before and a few people nicely commented how I should NOT do that. (Some were also not so nice with their comments.)


But, I agree it would be nice if some of the more thoughtful and prolific posters across the street would be less lop-sided with their time.



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Thanks Greg! laugh.gif For general fear of retribution (which Mark Feld would be out of character to imbue), I simply won't post any of the other salient posts, but I'll provide my own.


And EVP - I just don't get the idea that linking to another post is a bad idea. Perhaps I'm ignorant, but it seems like a particularly rediculous thing for folks to get their hackles up over. Beats the hell outta me. confused.gif


Here's what I had to say, for what it's worth...


This is a great thread with some excellent points and cointerpoints. But I agree with the premises that (1) we as collectors have a VERY limited view of what TPG graders witness for any series; (2) few of us possess the experience of a seasoned grader with the exception of specialists in a given series - and hey, even some of those folks confess that they are no good at grading; (3) we maintain biases of affection for our own coins and like to consider them subjectively more than objectively; and (4) we simply may not be as "seasoned" as any one of us thinks we are.


Karl's points are quite salient here (basically, collect the coin, not the plastic and who cares what anyone else has to say about what you like), and are really fed by point (3) above, which is to say that before we suffer the mania or depression of someone else evaluating our coin(s), we should be contented with them for their intrinsic worth to each of us. However, on the economic playing field where coins will change hands, the so-called objectivity of the TPGs is a mediating good or evil, depending on one's perspective. No matter one's perspective, that mediation allows for some market-reliability of exchange, even if it's highly imperfect. The problem of taking advantage of and exploiting that system is as old as mankind and will not be solved except for individual collectors to become as informed as possible. And that leads to...


...the fact that the only way for us to realize the intrinsic worth of our coins is to not worry about how much we pay for them or turn around and sell them for. That's a tough place to arrive at. Most of us are not so fiscally sound.


One other point, and it's one that old TomB and DonHeath made. Occasionally, series receive so little attention from collectors that there has been entirely too little interest for much in the way of submissions. To the point, how many submissions does it take for graders to become truly well-versed in the highs and lows of a series, such that their grades are consistent and reflective of current standards of market grading? (NOT to create an argument about market vs. technical grading - graders market grade with a dash of the technical, period.) And even with experience, is there occasionally a piece that crosses the grading room floor that alters the way that graders consider a particular issue within the series or even the series as a whole? The point is that it is likely that graders "update" their own ideas of the distribution of grades within a series and for each issue in a series the same way that a Bayesian statistician updates prior distributions with additional data. It's human nature to operate this way and it only makes sense. In that context, the "looser" vs. "tighter" is nearly irrelevant, except when there is a mandate to adjust the scale as part of business tact. No doubt, that has happened within and between TPGs, as well.


Great stuff.



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