Roger Burdette's Saint Gaudens Double Eagles Book
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Roger,

You stated that there were no "arbitrary pronouncements" before certified grading, but that's exactly what Walter Been was doing with his fuchsia-scripted authentication letters. These were treated as gospel in the hobby for many years, though few have held up under modern scrutiny of their subject coins.

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I agree...Breen and several others made such arbitrary pronouncements. But they acted as individuals and the coins were available for others to examine. Few bothered to object and the monetary incentives were often small. Today, the TPGs present their "attributions" as not only absolute, but publish nothing before or after attribution. Thus, knowledgeable hobby persons have no input and TPGs present no objective analysis.

The minimum I would expect are: 1) a thorough documentation of physical characteristics, 2) a factual empirical description of surfaces, 3) carefully calibrated XRF alloy data, 4) a written discussion of production characteristics germane to the coin, 5) provenance, 6) and factual historical research including context. This would be provided to multiple persons with expertise in the series, production, equipment and related subjects.

The TPGs have emboldened themselves to make extraordinary claims (and there by thickly lining the pockets of some owners/speculators), but present absolutely NO EXTRAORDINARY proof or even mediocre evidence. Combined with foggy definitions of terms, the total packages are unsubstantiated and in some instances possibly false.

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On 12/22/2021 at 12:58 PM, zadok said:

...please dont confuse true coin collectors with opinionated persons who dwell on conjecture n speculation for their own ends....

After losing my entire U.S. collection due to my brother having died intestate and my then 96 year old father reluctant to return from Cetral Anatolia to review storage lockers that hadn't been open in many years -- not to mention the provision that if you access it; you must first pay back back-rent owed AND remove their contents completely. Even if I could, I had nowhere to put it.

This is why I do not own a Red Book today; and set my eyes on 🐓. The prices set forth in the Red Book I had always used as a general "guide."  I had no choice.  There were no TPGS, and by extension, encapsulations or chat boards.  I was taught at the knees of prominent numismatists and the few publications available at the time, circa the mid-1960's. Everything I know, true or false, is recalled from memory.

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On 12/22/2021 at 12:23 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Their reputation is on the line, right ?         

Minus the self-serving, bigger, better, best running commentary, what is their reputation?

On 12/22/2021 at 12:23 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Unless a seller or TPG is guilty of GROSS negligence in overgrading or overselling a coin or calling it something it clearly is not, let them call it as they see fit and then the MARKET will decide if they are right or wrong or something in between.

I don't know from MARKET, but I rejected outright a gold coin that was nowhere near where it should have been whereupon my money was refunded in full, the questioned item restored to eBay,  and this is the telling part -- not parsing words, was jarringly offered a $10. BRIBE (they termed 'a partial refund' - huh?) to remove my negative comments. Note: this encapsulation, was and is still being offered by a major precious metals concern.  Not exactly what I was anticipating.

Edited by Quintus Arrius
Die.polishing
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On 12/22/2021 at 2:15 PM, RWB said:

Why not? They have insinuated themselves as sole arbiters who make no disclosure of how, when and by whom the reviews are performed. They do not publish full technical data or assessments, and do not disclose the weighted impact of various parts of their assessment. That is: the TPG have become conclusion makers without use of basic scientific methods, publication of claims or presentation of contrary opinions.  This is absolutely contrary to pre-TPG times, when "discoveries" were openly discussed, debated, examined and conclusions reached by informed consensus - not arbitrary pronouncements.  There is no "reputation on the line." Very, very few collectors care - only those who wake huge profits on an unsubstantiated label claim care at all. Auction companies and resellers merely accept the TPG label as "truth" and deflect any responsibility to the TPG which then stonewalls.

But this leaves an opening for detailed research and researchers......like.....you !!! (thumbsu

If the TPGs, dealers, and auction houses all did what YOU want -- then there's no place for a great book like yours on Saints.  Or lots of other books written by you and others, right ? xD 

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On 12/22/2021 at 3:58 PM, RWB said:

I agree...Breen and several others made such arbitrary pronouncements. But they acted as individuals and the coins were available for others to examine. Few bothered to object and the monetary incentives were often small. Today, the TPGs present their "attributions" as not only absolute, but publish nothing before or after attribution. Thus, knowledgeable hobby persons have no input and TPGs present no objective analysis.

OK...so what would you want the TPGs to do in a perfect world ?  Between their commentaries and the write-ups from auction houses, we do have plenty of analysis on certain unique or rare or expensive coins. 

It's not like 5-figure, 6-figure, and 7-figure coins are being sold with only 3 or 4 lines written about them, research-wise. xD

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On 12/22/2021 at 3:58 PM, RWB said:

The minimum I would expect are: 1) a thorough documentation of physical characteristics, 2) a factual empirical description of surfaces, 3) carefully calibrated XRF alloy data, 4) a written discussion of production characteristics germane to the coin, 5) provenance, 6) and factual historical research including context. This would be provided to multiple persons with expertise in the series, production, equipment and related subjects.

That's alot of work for most coins !! :o  Maybe feasible on 6-figure and up coins, but that's alot of micro-documentation.  Is that work for a TPG or a numismatic researcher ?  I dunno....maybe if we had a foundation that provided $$$ for research. :mad: 

How many active coin collectors would actually care about that ?  They could be doing that work for a choir of 1 or 2 dozen.

On 12/22/2021 at 3:58 PM, RWB said:

The TPGs have emboldened themselves to make extraordinary claims (and there by thickly lining the pockets of some owners/speculators), but present absolutely NO EXTRAORDINARY proof or even mediocre evidence. Combined with foggy definitions of terms, the total packages are unsubstantiated and in some instances possibly false.

OK, I'm sure you have some examples of that.  But for the most part, they're not going to dress something up because (1) they'd lose credibility and (2) the market wouldn't justify their actions via the pricing mechanism.

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On 12/22/2021 at 5:03 PM, Quintus Arrius said:

I don't know from MARKET, but I rejected outright a gold coin that was nowhere near where it should have been whereupon my money was refunded in full, the questioned item restored to eBay,  and this is the telling part -- not parsing words, was jarringly offered a $10. BRIBE (they termed 'a partial refund' - huh?) to remove my negative comments. Note: this encapsulation, was and is still being offered by a major precious metals concern.  Not exactly what I was anticipating.

I think established auction houses do a better job than Ebay in establishing a home for Mr. Market. xD

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On 12/22/2021 at 6:12 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

But this leaves an opening for detailed research and researchers......like.....you !!! 

No, it does not. The factual information the TPG might have is not shared or published. The raw coins are not allowed to be examined except by those chosen by the TPGs to give the desired "result"  -- accurate or not.

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On 12/22/2021 at 6:57 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

OK...so what would you want the TPGs to do in a perfect world ?

I expect the TPGs to do thorough research and examination - facts only - before making some new claim. I also expect them to define their terminology. They do neither.

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On 12/22/2021 at 7:07 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

That's alot of work for most coins !!

Yes, it is a lot of work for ordinary coins....but we are not discussing ordinary coins. These are supposed to be extraordinary coins about which extraordinary claims are being made - those claims MUST be established in fact and with full disclosure. It is completely unacceptable to simply dictate - without facts - that some coin is "special" or a "specimen" or "gently lavished with royal toilet paper."

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On 12/22/2021 at 7:07 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

OK, I'm sure you have some examples of that.  But for the most part, they're not going to dress something up because (1) they'd lose credibility and (2) the market wouldn't justify their actions via the pricing mechanism.

False. The TPGs literally define the marketability for high-end coins. No slab  -  No money grab! Sellers give them explicit trust and do not question their pronouncements.

The day when major auction companies or dealers doing their own research and careful investigation ended when TPGs were given total arbiter authority. That includes the selection of preferred - not necessary particularly knowledgeable - "experts." And also thereby obstructed broad hobby discussion and input.

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On 12/22/2021 at 6:57 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

OK...so what would you want the TPGs to do in a perfect world ?

In a perfect world, the mere existence of another TPGS, would be acknowledged as a matter of professional courtesy. Example: regarding solely a 1903 🐓:  one TPGS asserts 2 were graded MS-65, with none finer; another insists, indirectly, that NONE were graded at that level. One calls their tabulation a census; the other calls it a population report. And the collector, how does he fit into all this? He doesn't. What other field of endeavor engages in such blatant underhanded deception?

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On 12/22/2021 at 10:34 PM, Quintus Arrius said:

In a perfect world, the mere existence of another TPGS, would be acknowledged as a matter of professional courtesy. Example: regarding solely a 1903 🐓:  one TPGS asserts 2 were graded MS-65, with none finer; another insists, indirectly, that NONE were graded at that level. One calls their tabulation a census; the other calls it a population report. And the collector, how does he fit into all this? He doesn't. What other field of endeavor engages in such blatant underhanded deception?

...what deception?....

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On 12/22/2021 at 10:41 PM, zadok said:

...what deception?....

How many certified 1933 St. Gaudens double eagles are there?  One.  No need to poll every TPGS in the world; the answer by now is common knowledge. Both the collector and investor want definitive answers. No endless vacillation. 

Those two 🐓's that were provisionally, P-graded at MS-68 are no longer reflected on their population report but to even suggest they ceased to exist is malarkey. Outside the confines of Alice-in-Wonderland, they are very much alive and well but do not presently reside in anyone's set registry. That's full disclose. That's being transparent. That's being helpful.   

[Once again, do not look for any buttons to touch.]

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On 12/22/2021 at 11:15 PM, Quintus Arrius said:

How many certified 1933 St. Gaudens double eagles are there?  One.  No need to poll every TPGS in the world; the answer by now is common knowledge. Both the collector and investor want definitive answers. No endless vacillation. 

Those two 🐓's that were provisionally, P-graded at MS-68 are no longer reflected on their population report but to even suggest they ceased to exist is malarkey. Outside the confines of Alice-in-Wonderland, they are very much alive and well but do not presently reside in anyone's set registry. That's full disclose. That's being transparent. That's being helpful.   

[Once again, do not look for any buttons to touch.]

...what makes u think that the owner of any coin has any obligation to disclose the existence of any of his/her coins to anyone?...or any collector has to list any coin in a registry set, those things r simply voluntary if the owner chooses to do so...as for the tpgs, they simply document the coins they certify, census n population report r basically interchangable terms in this instance...there is no deception involved n there certainly is no requirements that the tpgs need coordinate their documentation with each other to insure an accurate count of coins, ach collector can interpolate the data as they deem necessary for their own needs...disclosure, transparency, helpfulness has nothing to do with ownership of coins...

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On 12/22/2021 at 9:58 PM, RWB said:

No, it does not. The factual information the TPG might have is not shared or published. The raw coins are not allowed to be examined except by those chosen by the TPGs to give the desired "result"  -- accurate or not.

Don't we now have decent access via hi-def pics and the internet ?  I think we do.

No, we all can't handle the coin in-hand but we have something almost as good.

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On 12/23/2021 at 2:42 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Don't we now have decent access via hi-def pics and the internet ?  I think we do.

No, we all can't handle the coin in-hand but we have something almost as good.

When making extraordinary claims, "ordinary" is insufficient. Good photos, from multiple angles (not in a holder), help - but they are only a part of what must be done - and fully publicly disclosed - as part of a careful scientific analysis. Truth and honesty demand nothing less.

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On 12/23/2021 at 2:42 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

No, we all can't handle the coin in-hand but we have something almost as good.

..."something almost as good," for TPGS that've been around half my lifetime doesn't cut it for me.  Yeoman (deceased) took things as far as he could. It is practically 2022, with a slew of new blood with presumably a commitment to try to adapt to the times.

Instead of getting into specifics, would it really be so difficult to annotate the basic, popular Red Book with mintages and footnotes indicating the number of coins certified and, as they've done without difficulty, briefly and unobtrusively, much in the manner they include notable coins (1804 comes to mind) they've provided prices realized at auction, since time immemorial? And, if they have not already done so, include an updated glossary of terms for the benefit of those new to the hobby.

I would certainly be interested in a book on French 20-franc coins, but their were eleven  (11) types and the Roosters were the very last on the time line.  The renderings on lesser and greater denominations, both before and after, are so unesthetically pleasing I would not pay a cent for any of them were they in MS-70+ condition, irrespective of hype and provenance. IMNSHO.

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On 12/23/2021 at 6:33 AM, Quintus Arrius said:

..."something almost as good," for TPGS that've been around half my lifetime doesn't cut it for me.  Yeoman (deceased) took things as far as he could. It is practically 2022, with a slew of new blood with presumably a commitment to try to adapt to the times.

Instead of getting into specifics, would it really be so difficult to annotate the basic, popular Red Book with mintages and footnotes indicating the number of coins certified and, as they've done without difficulty, briefly and unobtrusively, much in the manner they include notable coins (1804 comes to mind) they've provided prices realized at auction, since time immemorial? And, if they have not already done so, include an updated glossary of terms for the benefit of those new to the hobby.

I would certainly be interested in a book on French 20-franc coins, but their were eleven  (11) types and the Roosters were the very last on the time line.  The renderings on lesser and greater denominations, both before and after, are so unesthetically pleasing I would not pay a cent for any of them were they in MS-70+ condition, irrespective of hype and provenance. IMNSHO.

...everyone is entitled to their wish lists, realistic or otherwise... re red book; it would be obsolete before published....re roosters guess u just have to go by krause but it too obsolete before published at least in regard to prices, mintages fairly accurate....tpgs census/pop reports bout as up to date as possible, cert numbers r dynamic as they should be...

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I'm in a tough spot here.  The OP, as always, is a good sport, and I don't wish to overstay my welcome. Tell you what, we'll allow the thread to get back on track and, over the objections of those who reject the purpose of an off-topic thread (likely because they didn't think of it first) I would be delighted to resume our life or death matter there...

Back on Track!

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Posted (edited)

Roger, you seem to have a pretty good relationship with NGC and with DWL....wondering if you both have reached an accomodation or we-agree-to-disagree on the existence of MCMVII High Relief Proofs ?

You did give the pro-proof side equal time in the Saints book, and I think that's great, especially if you personally believe that technically no "proof" HRs were struck.  

I enjoy a good back-and-forth -- and CIVIL -- debate.  Kudos ! (thumbsu

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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Posted (edited)

BTW, the reason I'm on the Proof MCMVII thing is it somehow showed up in some old Omega High Relief threads ATS that I have been reading the last few days. :)

Just wish I could have read/saved the original Omega thread that got KO'd. >:(

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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My opinions on certain numismatic items are known, or communicated on request, to any independent authentication entity, museum curator, author or other who might ask. In some situations where an organization has not asked, and has royally screwed up (thus misleading some) I will speak out including at the cost of getting banned or declared "PNG - persona non grata" by those caught by the truth. (My position on this likely hardened after working with Eric Newman and reviewing his papers and correspondence, and seeing the kinds of deception and lies perpetrated by so many "respected numismatists" of the day.)

More directly to your comment -- Many ideas and much information is exchanged between myself and others. This is on the basis of mutual respect and appreciation of differences of interpretation. It is much like information exchange among scientists.

Edited by RWB
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On 1/3/2022 at 4:28 PM, RWB said:

.... In some situations where an organization has not asked, and has royally screwed up (thus misleading some) I will speak out including at the cost of getting banned or declared "PNG - persona non grata" by those caught by the truth. 

I, for one, cannot envision something as extreme as that occurring.  I mean, what would be the point of tuning in if I could not be regaled by the results of your latest anthropological dig? Not to mention the continual friendly banter. Enormous loss! 😉 

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On 1/3/2022 at 5:36 PM, Quintus Arrius said:

I, for one, cannot envision something as extreme as that occurring.  I mean, what would be the point of tuning in if I could not be regaled by the results of your latest anthropological dig? Not to mention the continual friendly banter. Enormous loss! 😉 

Has already occurred, so the "die is cast." :)

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On 1/3/2022 at 4:28 PM, RWB said:

My opinions on certain numismatic items are known, or communicated on request, to any independent authentication entity, museum curator, author or other who might ask. In some situations where an organization has not asked, and has royally screwed up (thus misleading some) I will speak out including at the cost of getting banned or declared "PNG - persona non grata" by those caught by the truth. (My position on this likely hardened after working with Eric Newman and reviewing his papers and correspondence, and seeing the kinds of deception and lies perpetrated by so many "respected numismatists" of the day.)  More directly to your comment -- Many ideas and much information is exchanged between myself and others. This is on the basis of mutual respect and appreciation of differences of interpretation. It is much like information exchange among scientists.

I am re-reading the Proof Debate in the book.....was this your idea to have 2 "guest" advocates or an editor at HA ? 

I really liked this section and how you treated this controversial subject.  Great job.  (thumbsu

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Yes.

Some things require considerable diversity of knowledge, experience and perspective to arrive at a satisfying decision. This is the core of by objection to TPG's unilaterally declaring a coin a "specimen" or "special proof" or "Wallaby excrement deluxe." No single TPG or other entity has all of this, and that situation ultimately degrades the trust and reliability of TPG decisions on unusual items.

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[I begrudgingly accept the Board Guidelines on Free Speech. On the other hand, there are accomplished members whose eccentric voice and presence deserves a special variance, exception -- or exemption. The Forum would not be the same without you. In real estate, they refer to developments that serve as an "anchor" for the neighborhood. I see you as an integral part of the Forum.  I never tire of hearing of your latest discoveries. I am partial to what passes for a mix of scholarly research and critical institutional memory. I appreciate both the knowledge and opinion you imparted thus far.  😉 

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