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What is the ‘look’ that causes you to pull the trigger when buying a coin?

13 posts in this topic

I was looking at a couple of coins that I bought recently, and while admiring them began thinking about what it was about each coin that I really liked, and how long it took for me to finally find an example that I wanted to buy. This made me start thinking about what actually causes me to buy a particular coin.


For instance, when looking for a coin that I need for one of my sets I may literally see dozens of examples of the issue for sale at coin shows and on the web sites of all the big dealers over a number of years. Probably 75% of these coins are dismissed with nothing more than a quick look. I know within seconds that those coins are not what I am looking for in an example of that issue. The other 25% may get some more thought, but there will be something about the coins that causes me to reject these also.


Then, one day while at a show, or while searching through web sites, I see it. A coin with the ‘look’ I have been searching for. Sure, I check it over closely to be sure of the grade and so that I don’t miss something about it that will bother me later, but I knew it was a coin I wanted for my collection almost as soon as I laid eyes on it.


How does someone know so quickly whether a coin they see is right for them? Well, that’s simple, if it has the ‘look’ they know. But what is the ‘look’? When collectors talk about a coin with the ‘look’ what they are really talking about is the eye appeal of the coin, but what makes a coin eye appealing?


Of course a coins luster, strike, marks, and color all contribute to the eye appeal of the coin, but eye appeal is subjective, and two collectors viewing the same coin can have very different opinions as to how eye appealing the coin is.


Some collectors may place a higher value on luster than color or on how many marks a coin has over how well it is struck. Some will place a higher value on color then any other factor. Almost every coin purchase is a compromise in one or more of these areas.


Personally, the coins that I think are eye appealing can be either white or toned, but they have to look clean. By that I mean they can not be hazy, or dirty looking. Strike and marks are of equal importance to me, because I don’t want a well struck coin that looks like its been through a coin counting machine any more than I want a mark free coin that looks like it is melting before my eyes. The most important aspect of a coin to me however is its luster. In my opinion, luster is what makes or breaks a coin. It’s what gives a coin its ‘WOW’ factor.


Well, that’s the ‘look’ I find appealing. What’s the ‘look’ that does it for you?



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This is a terrific night for threads, first I see Michael's thread on the toned IHC hoard and now this! smile.gif


I think what you are asking really is the essence of collecting for many of us and for those of us who haven't thought along these lines yet, don't worry, it will happen. The "look" is something I have written about for a long time and the best way I can describe it is that it has a visceral pull on the observer.


On proof coinage I like to see a patina that is free of spotting, on mint state coins color and luster outweigh strike and marks and on circulated coinage I like to see original skin and a good strike. Of course, as you astutely point out, there are compromises, in one form or another, on virtually every coin. The level of compromise and the benefit received are the key.


This is something that I will likely think plenty about this weekend. 893scratchchin-thumb.gif

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John- I agree with everything you said. When the coins are in front of me it`s the luster that gives it the RIGHT look, everything else secondary. For me it usually ends with me seeing the coin and thinking, " YES, it`s mine, it`s nice enough to be a part of my collection." I am very happy."

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We all think about this - and we all have different reasons - or looks - that appeal to us. To me it is everything combined - there is no single aspect, at least not all the time. For one coin it may be the color or the lack thereof, for another it may be the luster. And for yet another it may be the lack of marks and the quality of strike. It really depends on the coin series as to which aspect is more important.


But there is always one aspect that matters most of all to me - the design. For if I do not like the design - I don't care how beautiful the coin is - I won't buy it.


Now maybe that sounds too simplistic - but isn't that what this thread is all about ? For when you try to determine what it is that makes the "look" - you need to break it down into its simplest terms. At least in my opinion.

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i really like this thread and all great responses i guess for me the look is when i see it i will know


but for me let me give you my examples and i love davids response thumbsup2.gif


show me a superb gem ms barber dime that is fully struck and extremely lusterous and then with red and green toning now this is the :look' yay.gif


or a totally blast white deep/ultra cameo proof coin silver from the 19 century it might be dipped but it has the mirrors frost and crisp clear non hazy cloudy mirrors crystal clear mirrors of a new proof silver american eagle then this coin has the "look" 893applaud-thumb.gif


or a superb gem proof seated lib dime that is thickly skinned and deeply mirrored with deep toning and a light totally orig9inalmilky surface with many colors under the rainbow then this coin has the "look"\


a totally lusterous suoperb gem robnison that is neatly toned both sides with rings of orange blue green toning moreso on the obverse and with not many if any marks on the portrait of robinson and white in the centers and also fully struck this is the most common aspect of the robinson a strong strike


but to get the other two aspects lusterous and colored in wtih this third item makes the robinson rare and really much so as it is a one year type you need for either the complete commem set of every date and mintmark or the type set one of each this coin would have the "look"


a neat prooflike au mulitcolor envelope toned seated quarter this coin would have the "look"


a superb gem setaede dime in ms thatis white but thick skinned lusterous white and fully struck tyhis coin would not only be rare if original white and never dipped but would have the "look"


ithink the list goes on and on



michael screwy.gif


a screwy.gifcollector

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Would you two get a room already and stop hijacking everyone's threads!!




Actually, those guys beat me to it! But seriously, if I revealed what catches my eye in a coin then I'll be defeating myself! Not that there's anyone else out there who collects the same but mainly, it's the strike and that's all I'm going to say about it! gossip.gif



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For me, a well struck, original coin with booming luster will make me pull the trigger. Now if you happen to have a coin with those attributes that also possesses monster irridescent toning (especially with blues, greens, and reds), you now have my "look".


I absolutely agree here's an example that grbbed me and wouldn't let go


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