A good debate topic - should Key Date Coins get leeway on grades?
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I have seen multiple times where I felt like a key date coin had gotten some things overlooked because it’s a rarity/harder coin. This weekend I have seen I think the epitome of this. I sold an 1893-S Morgan Friday, and heard there was one at the show in XF-45. I was curious and interested so I found it. Straight grade XF in a PCGS slab. As soon as I looked through a loop I was horrified. That coins wasn’t lightly cleaned, but aggressively cleaned. Aside from that it didn’t look like an XF.

I sat the coin down and asked the dealer, who I don’t know, if he honestly thought that coin should have straight graded. His response “Nope, and I don’t think it’s XF either.”  I know grades are subjective and sometimes we don’t agree with it, but this seemed egregious. So it begs a few questions/others opinions.

1. Do others agree key date coins get a pass or more forgiveness in grading?

2. Are you ok with that? I personally am not. I don’t care if the population skews low on the grade scale I care about consistency. I have an expectation, within reason, of what an XF for example should look like. I don’t want that to change for any reason. 

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From what I have seen, key dates and rarities do sometimes (often?) get graded liberally. I personally do not like or agree with the practice. I am in agreement with you: an XF should be an XF, and an AU should never be called MS.

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In my opinion. I think a rare or keydate, should be treated like any other coin. Why lie and say its better than it is. Even if there is just a small number. Cant pretend those spots or scratches arent there. 

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No. But I noticed in Mr. Garafalo's NNP symposium presentation on the 8th he said "....a MS-60 coin must be strictly uncirculated," then in response to a question commented that some early US coins didn't meet that requirement for various reasons and added the red herring of "cabinet friction."

If I heard correctly, it becomes just another example of a lack of standards and "do as I say not as I do."

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On 4/10/2022 at 10:45 AM, physics-fan3.14 said:

I'm not sure why this is a debate: No, they should be graded to the same standard as any other coin. 

In practice, this is not what usually happens, however. 

Jason - long time no see. Welcome back.

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On 4/10/2022 at 9:45 AM, physics-fan3.14 said:

I'm not sure why this is a debate: No, they should be graded to the same standard as any other coin. 

In practice, this is not what usually happens, however. 

It clearly isn’t. I thought someone may disagree. It really is ridiculous to me.

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One big reason I’m surprised this happens is the grade guarantee. These higher dollar coins being over graded leave a lot of exposure for the TPGs. I’m surprised they aren’t more stringent than less for the risk of having to make it right if someone resubmits under the guarantee for review. Now obviously it isn’t an impartial review and they may claim the grade is correct, but it does seem like an unjustified risk for them to do this. 

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On 4/10/2022 at 8:57 PM, Woods020 said:

One big reason I’m surprised this happens is the grade guarantee. These higher dollar coins being over graded leave a lot of exposure for the TPGs. I’m surprised they aren’t more stringent than less for the risk of having to make it right if someone resubmits under the guarantee for review. Now obviously it isn’t an impartial review and they may claim the grade is correct, but it does seem like an unjustified risk for them to do this. 

Some people probably dont care about the true grade if they can get a higher one. They would be happy to have an xf grade an au to make it more valuable. Just my opinion. As to where some would rather have it labeled for what it really is. I would rather have an honest grade. Of course I dont sell my coins anyways so Im not worried a whole lot about the value. To me they are priceless. I love my collection. Id rather have them labeled for what they really are. 

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On 4/10/2022 at 7:57 PM, Woods020 said:

One big reason I’m surprised this happens is the grade guarantee. These higher dollar coins being over graded leave a lot of exposure for the TPGs. I’m surprised they aren’t more stringent than less for the risk of having to make it right if someone resubmits under the guarantee for review. Now obviously it isn’t an impartial review and they may claim the grade is correct, but it does seem like an unjustified risk for them to do this. 

On a practical basis, I don’t see much exposure at all. As you correctly pointed out, the grading companies are the ones who get to decide whether they’ve over-graded the coins. And what options does the submitter of the coin really have if he disagrees with the grading company’s (“we got it right”) determination?

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On 4/11/2022 at 4:54 PM, MarkFeld said:

On a practical basis, I don’t see much exposure at all. As you correctly pointed out, the grading companies are the ones who get to decide whether they’ve over-graded the coins. And what options does the submitter of the coin really have if he disagrees with the grading company’s (“we got it right”) determination?

Yeah this is a problem. Ideally there would be a neutral third party arbiter, but not realistic. I don’t know how this gets fixed, but I do agree with you. This makes the grade guarantee nothing more than a marketing message with no real impact. 

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On 4/9/2022 at 8:41 PM, Woods020 said:

1. Do others agree key date coins get a pass or more forgiveness in grading?

Yeah, it might happen, but it should NOT be egregious as with your coin above.

On 4/9/2022 at 8:41 PM, Woods020 said:

2. Are you ok with that? I personally am not. I don’t care if the population skews low on the grade scale I care about consistency. I have an expectation, within reason, of what an XF for example should look like. I don’t want that to change for any reason. 

Yup, you might have a "tie goes to the runner" situation but not like with the coin you cited above.

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The assumed rarity or "value" of a coin must NEVER influence grade or defect determination. Further, each "grade"  must be unambiguously defined and applied equally to all coins.

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On 4/12/2022 at 10:24 AM, RWB said:

The assumed rarity or "value" of a coin must NEVER influence grade or defect determination. Further, each "grade"  must be unambiguously defined and applied equally to all coins.

Good luck with that. 

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