Grading Nostalgia Connection

Nostalgia

We will run occasional grading checks on Proxibid auctions so you can see how we bid based on condition. These coins are from Nostalgia Connection’s Oct. 21 session. We grade on PCGS standards as found on Photograde, admittedly more conservative than grading of most auctioneers but still the standard in numismatics. Click pictures below to expand.

We call a coin:

    1945-S

    “Very Fine” if will grade at NGC or PCGS at the VF30-35 level. We agree with this grade, but always look at the reverse photo to check if the 1945-S has the scarcer “mico S” mint mark. You can learn more about that by clicking here.


    1905_rimdingAU_agreed

    “Almost Uncirculated” if will grade at NGC or PCGS at the AU50-58 level. We agree with this grade, AU50, and appreciate that the seller has noted the rim-ding flaw in the description.


    1909_fine

    Fine” if it would grade between F12-15 at a major holdering company. Once more, we agree with this grade, though the coin is a bit scruffy and might merit a Very Good 10.


    1915_VG_agreed_reverse

    VERY GOOD if it would grade VG7-10 range on the Sheldon scale. We always check the reverse for buffalo nickels, and the seller includes that for our analysis. We agree.


    1942_UNC_noreversephoto

    Uncirculated” if it grades Unc. 60-63. (Unc. 64 is choice uncirculated, Unc. 65-66 gem, Unc.67 super gem). The auctioneer calls this MS64, but we can’t judge beyond uncirculated, especially since in this one case the reverse photo is missing.


    1902_agree

    Extra Fine” if it grades EF40-48 range. The coin is damaged, and the auctioneer notes that as polished. We see polishing and environmental or chemical damage.


    Generally, in our subjective but nonetheless expert opinion, we feel Nostalgia Connection is accurate to PCGS standards in almost all of its lots. This stands in contrast to several auction houses on Proxibid, many of which do not mention flaws. Nostalgia Connection has a reasonable 15% buyer’s premium, ships within two days and uses Auction Payment Network. We’re impressed!

    We hope to see better consignments in the future. Photos can be clearer to show luster, and again should not be taken on a slant, however sight.

    As noted, grading is in part subjective, and is difficult to do via online photographs. Our designations are based on how we bid and why. Thus, the overall grade on Nostalgia Connection’s grading based on our criteria: A.

    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.

Grading Estate Jewelry and Treasures

estate

We will run occasional grading checks on Proxibid auctions so you can see how we bid based on condition. These coins are from Estate Jewelry and Treasures Nov. 10 auction. We grade on PCGS standards as found on Photograde, admittedly more conservative than grading of most auctioneers but still the standard in numismatics. Click pictures below to expand.

We call a coin:

    vg_disagree_ab3

    VERY GOOD if will grade at NGC or PCGS at the VF8-10 level. We disagree with this grade and call it About Good 3 (at most Good 4).


    1912_Agree_PVCdamage

    VERY GOOD if will grade at NGC or PCGS at the VG8-10 level. We agree with this grade but see traces of PVC damage on the upper third of the coin.


    1879_disagree_cleaned

    ALMOST UNCIRCULATED if it would grade AU50-55. We agree with the grade here but see harsh cleaning, not acknowledged in the bid description.


    1921S_AU55_Agree>

    ALMOST UNCIRCULATED if it would grade AU50-55. We agree with this grade, but see scratches on the obverse not noted in the lot description.


    1926AU_Disagree_VF25

    ALMOST UNCIRCULATED if it would grade AU50-55. We strongly disagree with this grade, believing it is overgraded by about 25 points. We call it Very Fine 20-25.


    1955BU_Disagree_AU55

    BRILLIANT UNCIRCULATED if it would grade MS60-63. We disagree with this grade and call it AU55. We also see a scratch on the cheek.


    1955S_Agree

    BRILLIANT UNCIRCULATED if it would grade MS60-63. We agree with this grade.


    xf_agree

    Extra Fine if the coin would grade MS40-45. We agree with this grade.


    no1886KEYDATE

    KEY DATE if the coin is among the rarest of the series. In the case of 3-cent silver, any coin from 1863-1872 is rare and expensive. This is not a key date coin. It has a hole, not mentioned in the lot description. Moreover, the date is wrong. There is no 1886 “trime.” The series ends at 1872. Neither is there a copper-nickel three cent piece, as no business strikes were made in 1886. The auctioneer is seeing the 8 and 6 of a silver three-cent coin that is most probably a common 1860.


    valueadded_smudge

    VALUE ADDED if the auctioneer supplies additional information to help online bidders. He does here, noting the smudge is a reflection and not on the coin.


    valueadded_plated

    VALUE ADDED if the auctioneer supplies additional information to help online bidders. He does here, noting the coin is not toned but plated.


    Generally, in our subjective but nonetheless expert opinion, we feel Estate Jewelry and Treasures tends to overgrade and miss flaws in condition. With better consignments, and more attention to grading, this house can be a contender, especially as it only charges a 10% buyer’s premium.

    As noted, grading is in part subjective, and is difficult to do via online photographs. Our designations are based on how we bid and why. Thus, the overall grade on Estate Jewelry and Treasures based on our criteria: D+.

    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.

Midwest Coins Enhances Photography

commander3We have said repeatedly that small changes can result in big gains in online auctions. Charles Commander at Midwest Coins heard us. (Click to expand all photos for detailed observation.)

We trust Charles Commander at Midwest Coins, which is why we purchased the coin profiled in Coin World and depicted above. The photo did absolutely no justice to the beautiful coin we won with a modest bid. The Morgan dollar had deep reflective mirrors and months later graded MS62 prooflike by PCGS. It had spectacular toning, which also is not obvious from the photo above.

So we were pleasantly surprised when we viewed the July catalog of Midwest Coins, admiring detailed photos that capture luster and devices. Once again, we’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

Sharp photos detail devices, in this case some minor contact marks in a gem wheat cent.

commander


Photo allows us to inspect full split bands on reverse of Mercury dime.

commander1


Photo shows luster and allows us to inspect full bell lines of Franklin half.

commander2


Remember our motto: The more auctioneers take sharp, expandable photos like these, the fewer the complaints buyers will have about lot descriptions. Bravo Charles! We know where we will be bidding.

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.

Capitol Auction’s Grading Excels!

capitol
Capitol Auctions remains one of our favorite houses primarily because it does everything right, from low buyer’s premiums (with 2% cash discount) to sharp, expandable pictures and quick, reasonable shipping. What it does best is grade, so we’ll let screen shots from his Aug. 3 auction speak for themselves. (Be sure to click photos to expand and read descriptions.)


Recounts History in Descriptions

history


Uses the Right Coin Values Guide

rightguide


Knows Devices that Enhance Value (split full bands)

knowsdevices


Distinguishes Restrikes from Originals

nonrestrike


Notes Unmarked Errors

notesunmarkederrors



Corrects Grading Companies

correctsgrading


If you don’t know the numismatic terms used in this post, you have no worries because you can trust Capitol Auctions. We do.

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.

Leonard Auction Shows Grading Prowess

Untitled
Leonard Auction remains one of the best graders on Proxibid. We’ve showcased that talent previously, as in this post, earning an A+ via PCGS-like standards. We can claim that because we have sent in raw coins that have graded the same or higher than John Leonard’s conservative grades. In this post, we we are touting how the Addison, Illinois, house deals with slabs by lower-tier holdering companies, taking several examples from Leonard’s upcoming July 20th Proxibid auction.


Bottom-tier and self-slabbed coins have plagued the Proxibid portal for years now. We’ve seen bidders waste thousands of dollars on such coins, occasionally hyped by auctioneers, some who know better and some who don’t. Check out this post in Coin Update News to learn more about the problem.

We’ve praised Leonard Auction before for taking the extra step and identifying bottom-tier holdered coins. Recently he has been assigning grades to them, impressing us enough to highlight his upcoming auction.

Here are some examples, with this first from National Numismatic Certification, a company that regularly inflates grades when judged against top standards as found on PCGS Photograde Online:

NNC_Leonard

The difference between an AU version of a 1921 Missouri commemorative and an MS65 version is significant, $400 for the lower grade and $2,800 for the higher one. Now imagine a Proxibidder paying $2,000, believing he got a good deal at the auction. When he sells his coin, or tries to, he gets the bad news … and likely stops collecting coins, a sad scenario we have seen too much of in our own numismatic dealings.

Leonard grades this Numistrust 1912 quarter dollar three points below the MS65 on the label. A 1912 at MS62 is worth about $300 retail. One graded MS65? $1,200.
leonard_grading

Leonard also grades coins in more respected holders, including PCI and ACG. Price difference is dramatic when condition rarity is considered, even when grades are close. He grades this 1925-D cent in a PCI holder as MS64RB (Red Brown) worth $400 retail rather than MS65R (Red) worth more than $4,500.
pci_leonard

The ACG 1919-S Red cent at MS65 is worth more than $2,600 retail by a top-grading firm like PCGS. However, an MS64RB cent is worth about $400. Once again, condition rarity is the reason, and that’s why Leonard’s grades are so important … and why we are showcasing his numismatic skills once again.

acg_leonard

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.

Grading Weaver Auction

weaver

We will run occasional grading checks on Proxibid auctions so you can see how we bid based on condition. These coins are from Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction’s June 9 session. We grade on PCGS standards as found on Photograde, admittedly more conservative than grading of most auctioneers but still the standard in numismatics. Click pictures below to expand.

We call a coin:

    choiceBU

    “Choice Brilliant Uncirculated” if will grade at NGC or PCGS at the MS63-64 level. Weaver calls Choice BU, but we see one too many bagmarks for that grade. We’d call it Mint State (meaning MS 60-62).


    choiceAU_agree

    “Choice AU” if will grade at NGC or PCGS at the AU58 level. We agree with this grade.


    au_agreebut AU50

    ALMOST UNCIRCULATED” if it would grade between AU50-58. We agree with the AU grade here, but think this may be AU50.


    agree_ef_cleaningquestion

    EXTRA FINE” if it would grade XF40-45. We agree with this grade and also believe there is a chance the coin may have been cleaned. Hard to tell on some Wheat cents. We’re a bit concerned with the upper left and right fields. (Click picture to expand and judge for yourself.)


    multiple_agree

    VERY FINE” if it would grade VF20-35. We agree with the middle grade of VF on the 1923-D Peace Dollar, which also has what look like cabinet rubs. We applaud Weaver for noting condition in a multi-item lot.


    fine_cleaned_agree_value

    FINE” if it would grade F12-15. Once more, an accurate grade here with a note about cleaning, a value-added feature in Weaver Auctions.


    verygood_value

    VERY GOOD” if it would grade VG8-10. We agree with this grade. We also agree that there is damage to this coin, as noted in the lot description.


    agree_good

    GOOD” if it would grade G4-6. We agree with this grade.


    VALUE ADDED” if the auctioneer discloses flaws or condition issues with any lot. As noted, Weaver Auction does this regularly, describing cleaning and rim dings:

    value_rimding_cleaned


    Generally, in our subjective but nonetheless expert opinion, we feel Weaver Auction is accurate to PCGS standards in almost all lots. This stands in stark contrast to the vast majority of auction houses on Proxibid. Weaver Auction has been top-rated on Proxiblog for three straight years.

    Grading is in part subjective, and is difficult to do via online photographs. Our designations are based on how we bid and why. Thus, the overall grade on Weaver Auction grading based on our criteria: A.

    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.

Zero % Buyer’s Fee with High Opening Bids

A new auction house on Proxibid is resorting to all-too-common sales pitches, advertising zero percent buying fees but opening bids at retail prices. Citing high grades and retail prices for coins, and then recanting their grading standards in the service terms. Are these auctions, or online coin shops?

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and this company has made a bad one on us. It’s another example of the Proxibid sales team signing up sellers without providing sufficient guidelines on service terms.

Yes, we know some of our favorite auctioneers will complain when we complain about the sales team. But there is more at stake here than Proxibid may realize, because once an auction house establishes its selling practices, buyers like us will likely never check back again with an auction house like this.

We’ll just show a few examples.

highopeningbid2

Above is an 1890 Morgan said to be deep mirror prooflike, MS64. (Click to expand photo.) The lot description challenges the bidder to “look it up” with an expected hammer price of $2300. Opening bid is $750.

First of all, never rely on any raw coin grading deep mirror prooflike at PCGS or NGC, which is on what this company bases its “expected hammer price.” At zero percent buyer’s fee, a hammer price of $2300 is significantly highly than what 1890 DMPLs MS64 have been selling when graded by PCGS, the harshest grading company in the business. (We know that because we subscribe to CoinFacts to get the latest auction prices.)

Also, there are strict standards for DMPL grades. To learn more, see this article.

Now view the close-up photo of the reverse below.

highopeningbid

We cannot tell from the photo whether this coin has been dipped. Neither can we see entirely clear fields on the reverse (especially at 8 o’clock), which have to reflect an object from the entire surface at six inches away. The most we would ever risk on this coin in auction is $350. If the coin grades proof-like rather than deep mirror, that’s still close to retail price, minus grading fee.

The seller challenges bidders to look it up, but does the company really mean that?

Let’s take the challenge on another lot, an 1875-S 20-cent piece graded MS63 with an opening bid of $1300. (Click to expand photo so that CoinFacts data can be viewed.)

highopeningbid2

Retail on this coin is $1375. As CoinFacts shows, this particular coin sold for $1,150 at its last auction appearance at David Lawrence Company. The expected hammer of $1700 is about $300 over retail and current auction prices for similar PCGS coins. The auctioneer is adding a premium for the “CAC” sticker, a fourth-party grader.

We just get the impression that this auction company won’t risk anything in an auction, which is what auctions are about. Sometimes you snag a lot below wholesale. Sometimes you pay above retail. But you don’t set the odds with opening bids like this with a service term that reads: “We do not grade or endorse any grading system, appraisal, or COA. Please examine each item closely, as all sales are final.”

If you’re going to offer zero percent buying fees, then take a risk the way Liberty Shops Auction and Southwest Bullion and Coin do.

We encourage the Proxibid sales team to counsel new companies on the standards that bring the most sales. Oh yes, by the way, both Liberty Shops and Southwest Bullion are top sellers–for good reason, too. When they state zero percent buyer’s fee, they mean it with low opening bids.

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.