Author Archives: F. Michael Fazzari

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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Luster helps you find the ballpark

I enjoy teaching and passing on knowledge to seminar students or to collectors who stop at the Independent Coin Grading table at coin shows. After a pleasant interaction with a novice dealer at the Clearwater, Fla., Coin Show I feel it’s time to dust off an old topic for the benefit of new readers and beginning collectors. Continue reading

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Viewpoint: Experience improves cleaning odds

In March I read a letter to the editor in Numismatic News about cleaning and conservation done by a collector versus a professional conservator. I don’t know who is responsible for writing the heading for the letter, but in this case, the heading put on the letter contained the answer: [There is a] “Fine line between cleaning, conserving a coin.” Continue reading

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