Dark Spots on Silver Coins
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I am curious if the dark spots on the attached silver coin (e.g. reverse near the "L" in Dollar and near the "ME" in America) is silver oxide/sulfide or degradation of the silver resulting from improper storage in too humid an environment?  I am asking because the spots actually appear to have a reddish-brown like color, and not a very dark or black appearance.

Silver does not "rust" like iron or steel (with rust on steel presenting as a reddish colored deposit), it breaks down or oxidizes which often has a dark or black appearance.  It can be a general surface condition over time (i.e. tarnish), or localized like on this coin from slight/localized imperfections that make it more susceptible to oxidation.  I think it's oxidation of the silver, but it just doesn't look like what I have seen before.

1921-D Morgan Dollar BU Purchased Pics SPOTS.jpg

Edited by EagleRJO
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Likely silver chloride. Can be removed by careful dipping. The coin looks AU from the photos. Wait for other opinions and suggestions.

:)

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On 7/12/2022 at 4:39 PM, RWB said:

...The coin looks AU from the photos ...

It's supposed to be BU, and I really like the coin except for the dark spots, which I got for a good price.  It has a nice shine and reflection when tilted near a light source which you just can't convey with pics.  But I may just return it or exchange it because it shouldn't have been shipped as a BU coin with those dark spots.

Edited by EagleRJO
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On 7/12/2022 at 4:39 PM, RWB said:

Likely silver chloride. Can be removed by careful dipping ...

Careful dipping in what? Acetone, which I have heard (along with a product called MS70 Coin Brightener) can be used to remove dirt/spots without effecting the condition/luster of the coin?

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The spot at 6 o'clock looks more like a toning spot, maybe where the person who dipped it was holding it.   The spots alone do not determine if the coin is AU or BU, but I also agree that it is a dipped AU.   On the obv in front of the face, all that chatter is a sure sign of light circulation, this is the type of "slider" that would have been sold as BU prior to TPG grading.

Acetone will not have any effect on toning, it will only work on organics, crud, gunk etc.   MS70 can work to some degree on this but its not worth the effort on a slider AU.

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On 7/12/2022 at 8:47 PM, Coinbuf said:

The spot at 6 o'clock looks more like a toning spot, maybe where the person who dipped it was holding it.   The spots alone do not determine if the coin is AU or BU, but I also agree that it is a dipped AU.   On the obv in front of the face, all that chatter is a sure sign of light circulation, this is the type of "slider" that would have been sold as BU prior to TPG grading.

Acetone will not have any effect on toning, it will only work on organics, crud, gunk etc.   MS70 can work to some degree on this but its not worth the effort on a slider AU.

What do you think they dipped it in?  Acetone? And why would someone dip the coin if it's going to leave those marks?

Also, by slider do you guys here mean simply an AU58 that maybe could "slide" by as a MS occasionally, or do you mean the unscrupulous practice of cleaning a coin to try and make it look like a BU?  I have heard it used both ways.

In any event I'm returning the coin because I'm not happy with the condition/spots, and I think your right about the marks on the face. 

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I agree with the others and want to say buying a raw coin on line is a very chancy way to go. There is no way to tell from internet photos what the real condition of the coin is. My rule  is I only buy raw coins if they are in my hand. Anything other than that type of purchase has to be a graded coin and even those can make me scratch my head sometimes. If you can post a coin on a thread here before you order it you may get some good feedback. It is still a issue that photos do not tell all.  

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That one was from a larger dealer that posts representative pictures of the ones they have in stock, and you have 7 days from when you get the coin to return it for a refund for no reason with some cost to you.  But where there are issues with the coin, like this one which was not in at least the condition represented, there is no re-stocking fee and they pay for return postage/insurance, so it really isn't a big deal, just a little bit of a hassle.

I have been going with raw coins from the larger dealers with guarantees, or from local dealers where I can actually look at the coin before I buy it, for the Morgans I am collecting because they just are not that valuable for the most part to get TPG slabbed coins.  There are probably around a dozen or so more expensive ones in the collection where I am going with TPG coins.  I have been a little hesitant to buy raw coins from other than larger dealers, so I appreciate the offer and maybe I will try a few independents for some of the raw ones they don't have in stock and post some pics here.

About this one ... it's going back anyway, but I was just really curious about the spots because I haven't seen silver coins with reddish-brown spots before. @RWBI thought horn silver (silver chloride) was dull/dark grey or black and associated with really old silver coins, and not reddish in color on more modern silver coins.  And I'm still curious about what ppl think it was dipped in.

Edited by EagleRJO
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On 7/12/2022 at 7:22 PM, EagleRJO said:

It's supposed to be BU, and I really like the coin except for the dark spots, which I got for a good price.  It has a nice shine and reflection when tilted near a light source which you just can't convey with pics.  But I may just return it or exchange it because it shouldn't have been shipped as a BU coin with those dark spots.

Disturbance in the left obverse field resembled handling == AU.

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On 7/12/2022 at 11:43 PM, EagleRJO said:

What do you think they dipped it in?  Acetone? And why would someone dip the coin if it's going to leave those marks?

Also, by slider do you guys here mean simply an AU58 that maybe could "slide" by as a MS occasionally, or do you mean the unscrupulous practice of cleaning a coin to try and make it look like a BU?  I have heard it used both ways.

In any event I'm returning the coin because I'm not happy with the condition/spots, and I think your right about the marks on the face. 

When people are applying the terms of art CORRECTLY, “dipping” is always a thiourea/acid solution to remove or lighten silver sulfides from the coin. “Dipping” is NOT IN ACETONE. Acetone is completely different from “dipping”. As someone else has written, acetone removes organic matter, aka crud and schmutz. 

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Thanks, I had heard of coins being cleaned with things like acetone or MS70, but not really dipping.  You would think they would dip it twice to get rid of the mark where they were holding it, like at 6 o'clock.  But maybe they did, and that's why there is another mark on the rev near the rim at 2 o'clock ... lol.  Its leaves a really strange reddish-brown spot and a white-washed appearance that I hadn't seen before, so thanks for explaining.

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On 7/14/2022 at 3:46 AM, EagleRJO said:

Another dipped Morgan?  I see more of those reddish-brown marks.

s-l1600.jpg

Tough to say, could be some left over tone that did not fully dip off if the coin was dipped.   This photo is not lit well, perhaps intentionally to hide or maybe just in a hurry/poor photography skills, now way to know for sure.   If the coin was dipped and not rinsed well dip residue will quickly tone back as brown like this too, I would grade this AU from just this single pic, perhaps higher with more and better photos.

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On 7/15/2022 at 1:04 PM, Coinbuf said:

Tough to say, could be some left over tone that did not fully dip off if the coin was dipped.   This photo is not lit well, perhaps intentionally to hide or maybe just in a hurry/poor photography skills, now way to know for sure.   If the coin was dipped and not rinsed well dip residue will quickly tone back as brown like this too, I would grade this AU from just this single pic, perhaps higher with more and better photos.

That last one is an 1878-CC listed on eBay for $400 that I figured was in the XF-AU range looking at the obv/rev, which is overpriced imo even if an AU.  I ran away when I saw the reddish stains and didn't even make an offer.

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On 7/15/2022 at 12:21 PM, EagleRJO said:

That last one is an 1878-CC listed on eBay for $400 that I figured was in the XF-AU range looking at the obv/rev, which is overpriced imo even if an AU.  I ran away when I saw the reddish stains and didn't even make an offer.

Be careful not to fall into the tunnel vision trap, many new collectors become very focused on a single aspect of a coin and forget to look at the coin as a whole.   In your op coin those tone or brownish spots concern me far less than the poor photo and what it might be hiding as opposed to what it shows.   I'm not suggesting that you should ignore spots or toning but just remember to evaluate the whole coin.

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Overall, I did like the coin in general looking at the original posted photos, but:

(1) I thought it was way overpriced at $400 even if it was an AU, and that there was no way the seller would come down to around $275 to $300, which I think would be a fair price for an AU.  I can't see it grading above AU with the number of marks, scratches and scuff marks on the coin, but I am pretty new at this.  For just a little more than the list price of this one I can get a solid raw BU from a reputable dealer.

(2) The reddish marks and whitewashed appearance bothered me right off the bat, and I don't want a dipped slider in my collection no matter how good of a deal it might be or what it grades out to be ;-)

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I agree that $400 is too much for a raw coin, I have seen MS62 NGC graded coins crossing the auction blocks for around $450 including one at Stacks last month.   But these are the pitfalls of ebay, ebay fees are high and a seller can ask anything he wants, it is up to the buyer to decide yes or no.

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On 7/15/2022 at 5:48 PM, Coinbuf said:

I agree that $400 is too much for a raw coin, I have seen MS62 NGC graded coins crossing the auction blocks for around $450 including one at Stacks last month.   But these are the pitfalls of ebay, ebay fees are high and a seller can ask anything he wants, it is up to the buyer to decide yes or no.

Shouldn't the all-in costs for a seller on Ebay be somewhere between GC and HA ?  I see more ridiculous ask prices on Ebay that are anywhere from 20% high for very liquid, frequently-sold items (i.e., popular Saints) to 50-200% over FMV or recent sales prices for less-actively seen coins/items (i.e., modern commemoratives or 5 ounce silvers).

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On 12/13/2022 at 8:51 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Shouldn't the all-in costs for a seller on Ebay be somewhere between GC and HA ?  I see more ridiculous ask prices on Ebay that are anywhere from 20% high for very liquid, frequently-sold items (i.e., popular Saints) to 50-200% over FMV or recent sales prices for less-actively seen coins/items (i.e., modern commemoratives or 5 ounce silvers).

The fees depend on if the seller has a store or not, ebay store owners pay around 8% or so in fees.   But the fees for non-store sellers are more like 13% or just a touch more.   Then there are the returns, where the seller is still charged some portion of the fees and of course another full round of fees should the seller find another buyer.   Granted returns and issues like nonpaying buyers are usually minimal but over time those fees can add up.   I also know that many ebay sellers are buying coins on auction sites like GC and HA, these flippers then list those coins on Ebay, this is also a portion of why the prices are often full retail pricing +.   I know of a few individuals that have ebay stores and follow this model who are members of the PCGS forum.

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On 12/13/2022 at 10:51 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

I see more ridiculous ask prices on Ebay that are anywhere from 20% high for very liquid, frequently-sold items

I found that many listings or minimum bid prices on eBay are close to the maximum prices from the price spike around March of 2022.  These sellers either bought at a high earlier this year, or think they can still get those higher prices, which have become easy to spot and typically end up being an auction that doesn't make the reserve or become a stale listing.  So, I ended up bailing on eBay and have been sticking with bidding at Great Collections, which has been working out pretty well.

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On 12/13/2022 at 11:20 PM, EagleRJO said:

I found that many listings or minimum bid prices on eBay are close to the maximum prices from the price spike around March of 2022.  These sellers either bought at a high earlier this year, or think they can still get those higher prices, which have become easy to spot and typically end up being an auction that doesn't make the reserve or become a stale listing.  So, I ended up bailing on eBay and have been sticking with bidding at Great Collections, which has been working out pretty well.

I just see the same stuff listed for MONTHS if not years going unsold.  It's like they are waiting for the market to move 50% in their favor....or....hoping somebody totally clueless happens to stumble on theirs and bid high.  

Another thing I've seen:  market is $300.....they list it for BIN for $700....someone makes an offer for $500 and gets it at that price or maybe after negotiating $550 or whatever.  Still a huge premium even though the buyer thinks he got a great deal and "saved" 30% or so.

Prices can fluctuate on Ebay bigtime, especially for stuff that doesn't sell that often or is somewhat unique.  I once bought a rare Sports Illustrated I wanted from the 1970's and paid like $80 for it.  Then a few weeks later an identical condition issue went for like $15. :o:o

I learned then that unless I really needed something or an item was rare and wasn't listed weekly or very frequently...don't chase !! xD (thumbsu

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