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Wear or die insufficiency

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I often see coins in NGC slabs that appear to have friction on the high points, or at least, the high points are shiny and any frost is not apparent on these high points, whereas the rest of the design exhibits a frosty appearance. Usually these spots are at the highest points of the design.


I know that on some coins, especially those with a higher relief design on both sides, there just isn't enough metal to flow into the die, and the areas lacking a full flow do not pick up the frost from the die, so they appear shiny.


How do you differentiate between these types of "spots" and slight wear on the same high points?


I see this particularly on the reverse design of George IV 1821-22 crowns, where St. George and his horse exhibit these shiny areas on coins greaded MS64-65.


I also just bought a George III "Three Graces" pattern in the St. James sale that shows what could be "wear" on a few areas of the Graces, but it is shiny. It is in an PF66 (!) slab. This question probably for Ken Krah.


Marv Finnley

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Often, when these coins have a very high relief, the metal does not completely fill the highest points of the die. Subsequently, there may be areas that appear to have wear but are in reality just weakly stuck areas. The texture will be somewhat similar to the rest of the planchet. If it were wear there would be a distinct luster break where the color and surface texture would be very different. I remember the three graces crown you are referring to. This is a really superb coin with the surfaces in tact. This is a classic example where the metal did not completely fill the die and a weak spot occurs (particularly on the legs). The George IV coinage you refer to has this occur on the curls above the eye on the obverse and on St.George’s chest/ shoulder area on the reverse. If you are waiting for one that is perfect on these points and 100% fully struck you will most likely never buy a coin. Even proofs have a slight amount of weakness.




Kenneth C. Krah

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