Subjective Grading

Everyone has his or her own standards, and that applies to people who put coins in holders and then use the Sheldon grading scale (1-70) to designate what looks like an authentic grade. Problem is, auctioneers selling those slabs then cite Coin Values or PCGS prices for the lot. That’s not subjective. That’s unfair.

Take this coin below, which recently appeared in a Proxibid auction. It states that the Morgan dollar is Mint State 67 Deep Mirror Proof-like.


In this case, the auctioneer has a disclaimer: “We are not coin experts or graders. Please use your own judgment when bidding.”

Use Your Own Judgment. That cuts both ways. If you are an auctioneer and not a coin expert, please use your judgment and do not cite sky-high prices for what may turn out to be a very common coin worth a bit more than silver melt.

What to make of a coin company that slabs every coin at MS67? (Well, that’s the company’s brand and standard.)

The problem here is that’s not the standard on which legitimate coin values are based.

Take this coin, which looks bag-marked with little reflectivity. DMPLs should reflect text or images from a distance of six inches. PCGS and NGC have graded thousands upon thousands of Morgan dollars. NGC’s top DMPL grade for an 1882-O is MS65. PCGS has one graded at MS66DMPL, with a value of $25,000.

There is no MS67DMPL Morgan graded objectively. If there were, you’d need megabucks to acquire it.

If you’re a bidder, don’t be fooled by coins holdered by little-known companies. If you’re an auctioneer, cite values when coins are graded by third-party companies with high standards, namely, PCGS, NGC, ANACS and ICG. Treat everything else as raw.

Proxiblog is an independent entity with no connection to the auction portal Proxibid. Our intent is to uphold basic numismatic standards as established by the American Numismatic Association and the National Auctioneer Association and to ensure a pleasurable bidding experience not only on Proxibid but also on similar portals such as iCollector and AuctionZip.


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