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1886 50c -- Second Opinion?
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6 posts in this topic

Hello everyone!

Long time coin collector, newbie wholesale dealer, and first-time poster, so please show me some grace if this doesn't fit the forum (and feel free to point me to the right place!)...

Sent in what I considered to be an absolutely gorgeous 1886 50c piece to PCGS in recent months for authentication and grading see link and attached photo...

PCGS Certificate Verification Coin Details for Cert #44263953

...and it came back as Genuine, UNC, Cleaned.

I've had 2 dealers look at it, and the only problem one of them mentioned was that it could be artificial toning -- as the coin is darker than what the TrueView imaging would otherwise portray (and he said the dark blues typically are symptomatic of artificial toning).

But, that's not what the slab came back as.

I keep on staring at it through a 30x loupe and can't find the spot/sots they are referring to, nor can I detect obvious hairlines using the naked eye or a 5x loupe. I'm just trying to learn here, so I'm not opposed to re-submitting to NGC to get a second opinion -- just wanted to see what the chances were in the opinion coming back the exact same (I'm also not a fan of cracking-out, because at least it is in a "Genuine UNC" holder already)


  1. Would NGC Restoration benefit this coin? (I'm too scared to touch a coin this pretty on my own with a drop of anything, and am reticent to clean coins in general.)
  2. In your opinion, would NGC's opinion be the same on the details grade?
    1. Or, if they see the same issue, would they give it a net number grade?
  3. Do coins like this bring good prices at auction? I hear that beautiful toning can make prices go through the roof, but am concerned with the "Cleaned" being stamped on the label

I'm a new member at NGC and just trying to decide at what point do I just market the coin as-is... any/all opinions are appreciated... thanks!

Aaron Witten
Leitchfield, KY



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Darn shame.  It appears nice but that Toning just doesn't appear right to me.  Some of our counterparts here will be able to give you a better read out.  Sorry about the 'Details' grade.

Added:  I'm a firm believer in Second Opinions.  Cracked out two CC Trade Dollars NGC said were cleaned and sent them raw to PCGS.  Both came back "Cleaned' but at least I knew for certain.

Edited by Alex in PA.
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If the coin was cleaned and then artificially tarnished, restoration will not change anything. If you look closely, you'll see that all of the small dings and scrapes have darker color than adjacent areas. This is one of several indicators of handy-work by parties other than Mother Nature. Also, the photos don't show any luster under the Maaco paint job.

It is not possible for anyone viewing the PCGS photos to say anything definitive. Examination in-hand but through the plastic is not the best, either. You could crack it out and send it to PCGS again, or send it to  NGC, or leave it as-is.

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There is a recent trend out there that those P*** fellows are getting really persnickety about toning and cleaning. The sad fact is that coin doctors are getting REALLY good at covering cleaning with artificial toning. Part of this is “our” (the hobby’s) own fault. The fetish many have for toned anything is coming back to bite us. A grading company is putting its reputation on the line. If they have doubts, they’re going to Details grade every time. 

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