Question about saints
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30 posts in this topic

I have been toying with the idea of purchasing a common date Saint or two in MS condition. But I have been hearing that many Saints graded MS are actually AU coins in MS holders and are not strictly uncirculated and many have rub on the left knee which if strictly graded can knock the coin down to AU. Is it best to purchase MS65 or higher CAC Saints to ensure that the Saint I'd get is more strictly uncirculated than an MS60 to MS64 Saint? Aside from proofs and the 2009 UHR, are there much of any strictly uncirculated Saints out there? Please share any tips you all may have.

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Welcome to the forum.

No matter what I or anyone else think, I hope that you will buy what YOU like, though in an informed fashion.
 
Generally speaking, I think chances are good that you will get the most coin for your money at the MS64 grade level. However, some MS64’s are nicer than some 65’s, while some others are inferior to some MS63’s. 
 
I recommend against deciding ahead of time what date(s) to peruse. Instead, let the coin(s) talk/call to you when you see them.
 
There will be countless examples from which to choose. Take your time, look at a lot of coins and wait until you’re comfortable and confident in making your selection. 

 

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MarkFeld has given very good advice. (No surprise there.)

If I may, I would like to add:

Double Eagles are big, heavy, and soft. As such, they are frequently found with detracting nicks and marks. This may make eye-appealing coins a bit more difficult to find, but I think it will be worth the wait and effort. When you look at your coins,  you should enjoy them, not wish you had waited for a better one to come along. 

I agree that a well-chosen MS64 is probably the best way to go. The price jump from MS64 to MS 65 is , as a rule, much greater than from 63 to 64. And anything below that grade is apt to be baggy and, as you mentioned earlier, it may be market graded. Patience is key.

Edited by Just Bob
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I'm mostly in the same position in that I've been shopping the possibility of getting a 1924 Saint for my grandmother's birthyear. I definitely agree that there's quite a jump from an MS64 to an M65 that I'm also having a hard time justifying personally.

I don't know what the CAC sticker is going to do for you given that the market seems to be pretty accepting of that bit of rubbing at the knee so I'd imagine CAC would also stamp such a coin since it was graded consistent with what PCGS / NGC say the grade should be in their guidelines.

I'm normally fine with purchasing coins through dealers online but this is definitely one purchase I'm going to be trying to make in person.

Edited by Revenant
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I have only dabbled a bit in the series, but I chose a few coins that spoke to me and are pleasing to my eye.  Two of the three I own have a bit of toning which I think is a plus.  

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Thank you all for your responses. I've been looking at a lot of Saints and one of the biggest issues and worries for me is getting an AU coin in an MS holder and I'd ideally like a coin with no rub at all. It's the left knee that bothers me most on some of the coins that I've seen. I've also seen Saints in an MS 64 holder that wouldn't be MS 64 in another series or MS 65 Saints that wouldn't be MS 65 in another series and I know there's a lot of issues with overgrading. I'm thinking of getting a CAC beaned Saint as I have heard that JA is very strict on Saints and I hope that means less of a chance that I'd encounter AU Saints in an MS holder. 

Edited by olympicsos
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The MS/AU distinction is already made when you buy a slabbed coin, I wouldn't worry about it.

It's guaranteed by the TPG to not be AU when it says MS on the plastic.

Other stuff you don't have to worry about are cleaning, counting wheel marks & anything else that will prevent a straight grade.

What year saint are you thinking about?  I'd be happy to pick one out for you to look at.

Mint State Gold has a PQ sticker they put on nice coins and it doesn't have the premium that CAC has.

Edited by Cat Bath
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Ditto on what others have said, especially the advice of not buying this coin online. Go to shows if you can to save the required online payment markup and to see if the coin speaks to you.

A stunning, high grade coin blown up will look like it has tons of issues but could look proof like in hand.

I recently bought a high end but common date Saint at the FUN show. I took the time to look at literally dozens in cases, stopping to look more closely at about 8 of these with my magnifying glass under a close light source. I was looking at MS66 primarily but also 65’s if they caught my eye. Some were CAC and some were not. 

The one I ended up buying happened to be an MS65+ CAC and it was one of the best Saints I have ever seen. It spoke to me, and I could not believe how good it looked in hand.

So take your time and look at them at a larger show if at all possible.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Matt_dac said:

Ditto on what others have said, especially the advice of not buying this coin online. Go to shows if you can to save the required online payment markup and to see if the coin speaks to you.

A stunning, high grade coin blown up will look like it has tons of issues but could look proof like in hand.

I recently bought a high end but common date Saint at the FUN show. I took the time to look at literally dozens in cases, stopping to look more closely at about 8 of these with my magnifying glass under a close light source. I was looking at MS66 primarily but also 65’s if they caught my eye. Some were CAC and some were not. 

The one I ended up buying happened to be an MS65+ CAC and it was one of the best Saints I have ever seen. It spoke to me, and I could not believe how good it looked in hand.

So take your time and look at them at a larger show if at all possible.

 

 

 

This might sound nit picky, but...

It’s not a given that prices will be lower at shows than on-line. And I have rarely seen a Saint of any date or grade that looked “proof like”.

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24 minutes ago, MarkFeld said:

This might sound nit picky, but...

It’s not a given that prices will be lower at shows than on-line. And I have rarely seen a Saint of any date or grade that looked “proof like”.

Agreed on the show prices vs online as a given , but in my experience show prices are generally cheaper than online and/or can negotiated down below online prices.

My other point was that coins that look stunning in hand, with sufficient magnification, can look bad. 

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1 minute ago, Matt_dac said:

Agreed on the show prices vs online as a given , but in my experience show prices are generally cheaper than online and/or can negotiated down below online prices.

My other point was that coins that look stunning in hand, with sufficient magnification, can look bad. 

Agreed that large magnification can make nice coins look bad - that’s an excellent point. It was “proof Ike” that threw me.

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Gold coins especially larger ones, can look a lot worse under magnification in photos.  I've found that large photos can magnify flaws that in hand are really quite minor and to not detract from the overall look of a coin.

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Welcome!

Here's a method that may help you.

Go to the NGC Price Guide and click on $20 Double Eagles, and then Saints.

On the left-most column, Year/Mint, are rows that may interest you… a particular year, mint, Motto, No Motto, and have the bottom-cursor (lower bottom center of page) pre-centered around NGC grades you may be interested in, to get ballpark price estimates.

Then, just Click the first-column of a row you're curious about, and when the new page opens, there's a Grade Summary box lower on the page, and inside are Auction Results with column headings of grade and the NGC ballpark prices below the grade.

Click View All > for a grade/price you think you would like and can afford.

Typically when this new page opens there will be photos of Saints on the left, the date the auction took place, the auction involved, and the hammer price.

You can enlarge the photos, both coin sides, and you can get an overview of the toning and appearance quality of typical coins for their grades.

It's a really efficient way to educate yourself.

Good luck.

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20 hours ago, Cat Bath said:

The MS/AU distinction is already made when you buy a slabbed coin, I wouldn't worry about it.

It's guaranteed by the TPG to not be AU when it says MS on the plastic.

 

Unfortunately,.this is not always the case. There are many instances of market grading  - high end AU coins given MS grades due to eye appeal and perceived value. That is exactly what  the OP is concerned about, and it is a real possibility. 

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13 hours ago, MarkFeld said:

...I have rarely seen a Saint of any date or grade that looked “proof like”.

When looking through a bunch of saints I sometimes encounter a proof one mixed in.

My reaction is    WOH!....Holy Smokes!

They are pretty darn obvious to tell apart, even in the lower grades.

Edited by Cat Bath
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If you are getting a common date, I would stretch for the MS-65 level (w or wo CAC)...the premium is worth it for the eye appeal and you'll enjoy a higher-quality coin (at least I do).  I doubt you see any AU's sneak that high; MAYBE MS-60/61/62.

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On 12/28/2018 at 1:31 PM, olympicsos said:

Thank you all for your responses. I've been looking at a lot of Saints and one of the biggest issues and worries for me is getting an AU coin in an MS holder and I'd ideally like a coin with no rub at all. It's the left knee that bothers me most on some of the coins that I've seen. I've also seen Saints in an MS 64 holder that wouldn't be MS 64 in another series or MS 65 Saints that wouldn't be MS 65 in another series and I know there's a lot of issues with overgrading. I'm thinking of getting a CAC beaned Saint as I have heard that JA is very strict on Saints and I hope that means less of a chance that I'd encounter AU Saints in an MS holder. 

What you want is available at the same price as the "slip-n-slide" versions with noticeable rubbing - called "wear." Look at as many DE as you can...in person, no photos. You will have to be very patient and careful, and learn how to recognize inferior Saint-Gaudens double eagles. This approach will also produce the best value for your money. CAC means nothing except that JA and friends would like to buy your coin.

(Some places have piles of excuses for calling worn DE "uncirculated" or "mint state." These are all moldy bologna. DE were packed tightly in bags to avoid wear, and when fresh from a new bag are just as nice as the Liberty coins you see from ship wrecks or small hoards. Abrasion comes from handling in banks, reserve vaults, etc.

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On 3/12/2022 at 10:17 AM, RWB said:

CAC means nothing except that JA and friends would like to buy your coin.

Which means it is probably not one of the coins that got graded loosely.  Which I think is somewhat valuable.  We can debate how much.

On 3/12/2022 at 10:17 AM, RWB said:

Some places have piles of excuses for calling worn DE "uncirculated" or "mint state." These are all moldy bologna. DE were packed tightly in bags to avoid wear, and when fresh from a new bag are just as nice as the Liberty coins you see from ship wrecks or small hoards. Abrasion comes from handling in banks, reserve vaults, etc.

I'm sure we answered this in the SAINTS BOOK Thread....but is there a magic "tell" that would show abrasion as coming from handling and banging against other coins, as opposed to circulating or being touched by human hands ?

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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On 3/12/2022 at 9:36 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Which means it is probably not one of the coins that got graded loosely.  Which I think is somewhat valuable.  We can debate how much.

I'm sure we answered this in the SAINTS BOOK Thread....but is there a magic "tell" that would show abrasion as coming from handling and banging against other coins, as opposed to circulating or being touched by human hands ?

And a CAC sticker doesn’t necessarily mean that “JA and friends would like to buy your coin”. Everyday, CAC stickers numerous coins that they’d have very little or zero interest in buying.

Edited by MarkFeld
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On 3/12/2022 at 11:16 AM, MarkFeld said:

And a CAC sticker doesn’t necessarily mean that “JA and friends would like to buy your coin”. Everyday, CAC stickers numerous coins that they’d have very little or zero interest in buying.

I think what you are saying is true Mark...but doesn't CAC also make a market in the coins they sticker ?  Or at least when they started that was part of their business model.  Maybe they don't do it anymore.

CAC just added discussion forums on their website I believe, I was scanning it a few weeks ago.  I don't belong but I'll see if there are any threads on this topic.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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On 3/12/2022 at 10:20 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

I think what you are saying is true Mark...but doesn't CAC also make a market in the coins they sticker ?  Or at least when they started that was part of their business model.  Maybe they don't do it anymore.

CAC just added discussion forums on their website I believe, I was scanning it a few weeks ago.  I don't belong but I'll see if there are any threads on this topic.

That’s a misconception, which I’ve seen repeated many times. CAC makes markets in some coins, but those markets comprise a rather small portion of the categories/coin types, dates and grades they sticker. That doesn’t mean they won’t make an offer on a CAC coin, if someone asks them to. But they certainly don’t make markets in anywhere near all coins they sticker.

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On 3/12/2022 at 11:39 AM, MarkFeld said:

 But they certainly don’t make markets in anywhere near all coins they sticker.

That seems logical, especially since now they have issued so many more coins than when JA said back in 2008 and 2009 that they stood behind all their coins ready to buy or sell.

Thanks, Mark. (thumbsu

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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On 3/12/2022 at 11:03 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

That seems logical, especially since now they have issued so many more coins than when JA said back in 2008 and 2009 that they stood behind all their coins ready to buy or sell.

Thanks, Mark. (thumbsu

There’s a huge difference between standing behind the coins they sticker and making markets in them.

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On 3/12/2022 at 12:22 PM, MarkFeld said:

There’s a huge difference between standing behind the coins they sticker and making markets in them.

Understood....I used them interchangeably, probably shouldn't have.  Thanks ! (thumbsu

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