Grading Topless Collectible Coins

We will run occasional grading checks on Proxibid auctions so you can see how we bid based on condition. These coins are from Topless Collectible Coins’s Oct. 7 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:

    “GEM” if will grade at NGC or PCGS at the MS65 level or higher. We see bag marks by the eye, cheek and chin on the obverse on an MS63-64 coin, at best, which is “choice BU.”


    “GEM” if will grade at NGC or PCGS at the MS65 level or higher. Topless clarifies flip, which states “GEM,” and calls this slider almost uncirculated bordering on BU (brilliant uncirculated). We’re happy to see AU, but disagree it is a slider (AU58) bordering on uncirculated. We call it AU50.


    MINT STATE” or “UNCIRCULATED” if it would grade MS60-62. We agree with the grade here, but worry about what looks like hairlines across Lady Liberty’s cheeks. (We would not bid on this coin because of that.) Topless calls an 1889O a “key date” in the Morgan series. It is NOT a key date, which has a special definition in numismatics. Morgan key dates are 1881-CC, 1885-CC, 1889-CC, 1893-CC, 1893-S, 1895-S. An 1889-O is not a semi-key date, either. At best, it is “scarce.”


    ALMOST UNCIRCULATED” if it would grade AU50-58. We call this borderline AU, not AU+ (slider), and again worry about hairlines in the chin area of Lady Liberty.



    EXTRA FINE” if it would grade EF40-45. We dsiagree with this grade and call it Very Fine 25, especially when you view the reverse.


    VERY FINE” if it would grade VF20-35. We agree with this grade, but not with the designation “key date.” Key dates in the Buffalo series are 1913-S Type 2, 1918-D 8/7, 1921-S, 1924-S, 1926-S and 1937-D 3-legged reverse.


    FINE” if it would grade F12-15. We agree with this grade.



    VERY GOOD” if it would grade VG8-10. We disagree with this grade and call the obverse Good4 and the reverse Good6.


    GOOD” if it would grade G4-6. We disagree with this grade and call it AG2-3.


    Generally, in our subjective but nonetheless expert opinion, we feel Topless overgrades by one designation in many of its lots. (Some Proxibid auctions overgrade much more extensively than this.) Again in general, because a one-grade overgrade is within subjective debate, we leave it up to you to agree or disagree with our designations. Again, keep in mind we grade on tough PCGS standards.

    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 Topless’s grading based on our criteria: C-.

    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.

Boos & Booyahs: Best & Bad Auctioneer Lot Descriptions

It’s important to be in sync with the Proxibid technology to showcase your photos, hone your lot descriptions, and highlight your consignments for top bids on the leading portal! In the latest installment, Proxiblog laments and compliments best and bad auctioneer lot descriptions during the past week. We will name the best, but you will have to search Proxibid for the bad. (Click pictures to expand and view lot descriptions below.)

Booyah Topless Collectible Coins! for noting that this counterfeit coin is a copy without the required markings as mandated by the Hobby Protection Act. To test for base metal, often used in fakes (and probably used in this poor copy), test with a magnet. Silver isn’t magnetic.


Booyah Weaver Auction! for noting scratching and cleaning of a rarer Carson City coin whose flaws are typically obscured when placed in a plastic holder. Hard to get those moves by auctioneer Dave Weaver whose lot descriptions are among the best on the portal.


Boo! Deep Mirror? No way! This unnamed auction house continues to label common cartwheel Morgans as “deep mirror.” For a coin to be deep mirror, it has to reflect accurately 6 or more inches. This won’t even qualify as proof-like. To learn how to test for mirrors, read this article.


Booyah Engstrom Auction! for noting that these Morgan dollars are polished. Some auctioneers unfamiliar with coins would have labeled these “shiny” or even “deep mirror” when they actually only are damaged because of amateur attempts at cleaning.


Booyah Key Date Coins! for noting that the consignor may think this is a DMPL, but auctioneer and numismatist Eddie Caven just doesn’t see it. (Neither do we.) When auctioneers write accurate lot descriptions, as Caven does, accompanied by excellent photographs that capture the true condition of a coin, buyers can bid with confidence. That helps consignors more than allowing their inflated grades.


Booyah Kaufman Auction! for noting cleaning on this Mercury dime. Digital photography often does not pick up cleaning on small coins like dimes. That’s why we need the auctioneer to inspect the coin and depict it as accurately as possible. It’s yet another method to insure return bidders and, in the end, helps consignors once again because buyers trust the house.


One Big Booyah! to Larry Fuller of Silvertowne Auctions, one of the top graders on the portal, who warns bidders that this expensive coin has a slight bend. That decreases the bids by hundreds of dollars. But it increases the chances that buyers will return to this auction because they can trust the lot descriptions.


Viewers can point us to other candidates for our “Boos & Booyahs!” series. Just leave a comment but follow our rules–all in good fun as a way to inspire accurate lot descriptions on Proxibid.

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.