Author Archives: F. Michael Fazzari

Old AU coins make Mint State today

Imagine learning to drive on the right side of the road and then moving away from the city and high into the mountains with no paved roads or cars. Then, coming down 40 years later to find that everyone is … Continue reading

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Taking time to learn enhances hobby

Numismatics is a diverse and fascinating field. Only you can decide the extent of personal involvement. This paper is read by people of all skill levels. That’s why a few times in the past I have written an introductory column … Continue reading

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Market makes AU coins uncirculated

Uncirculated or About Uncirculated? Next to authenticity, that may be one of the most important things to consider when buying a coin. As prices rise and collectors seek perfection it will become even more important. This topic is discussed in … Continue reading

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New Trade dollar type identified

I would like to introduce a previously unlisted reverse hub type for the Trade dollar, but before I do, some background is in order. Word has reached me that a much needed reference on the U.S. Trade Dollar series is … Continue reading

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Fakers getting better and better

The best teachers make their subject both interesting and entertaining. I’ve only taken three history courses: Religion, U.S., and World; and one of those teachers was everything you should expect. I can still remember the class he went into detail … Continue reading

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Old dogs argue about new tricks

The adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” should not apply to professional numismatists as we must be both vigilant and open-minded in order to detect the latest batch of fakes produced using evolving technology. This is good … Continue reading

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Scratches vary in severity on coins

In this column, I’ll attempt to simplify how hairlines and scratches on coins might be treated today and in the future.  I have found that by breaking down a complex subject into smaller bits it is easier to understand. Let … Continue reading

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Perfect doesn’t have to be perfect

This past January, a longtime collector wrote that he did not believe there were any perfect coins. My reply to him is: “Yes Edward, there are perfect coins, and it does not take a coin expert to find them. Many … Continue reading

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Viewpoint: Color important part of coin grade

What is the future of coin grading? Can collectors, professional numismatists, dealers, and organizations agree on one grading standard? Can we be more precise when describing the grade or color of a coin? Continue reading

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Assigning grades to altered coins

What’s the problem? Grading coins with defects should be easy. When we developed technical grading to further identify coins, in addition to their weight and photograph, our main concern was to describe their condition of preservation. Continue reading

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