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Letters to the Editor
- Letters to the Editor (Feb. 16, 2016) New quarters are out there, just keep lookingI just finished reading the Jan. 26 Numismatic News publication, specifically your response to P. Ritchie who found a Denali quarter.About a month ago, my sister who works in a local discount pharmacy, ...
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Author Archives: F. Michael Fazzari
In this column, I’ll try a new approach to explain how you can evaluate the amount of wear found on one of the difficult coin series to grade – the incuse Indians of the early 20th century. If you find this teaching method helpful, write to me and I’ll use it for other coin series. Continue reading
I’ve probably been boring readers writing about coins with altered surfaces; but it is still a big problem. I see the evidence of this at every coin show I attend and with many of the coins submitted to ICG for crossover service or upgrade. Continue reading
This year will mark the 40th anniversary of coin authentication services in the United States. My 40th will come later this year in September. Continue reading
This column is going to be short, sweet and all about some of the surprises you may find as you examine coins closely. That’s what I have been doing for 40 years at the various grading services where I have worked. My job is very rewarding. I wish I could own every neat coin that crosses the stage of my stereo microscope but that’s impossible. Continue reading
What you are about to read is heresy. Sometimes it’s OK to touch the surface of your coins. That’s because, in some cases, the method used by coin doctors to alter a coin’s surface will leave a sticky residue that is easily detected by touch. Continue reading
Recently, I read that the Professional Numismatists Guild has formed a committee to draft a definition of “coin doctoring.” A definition needs to be concise – short and sweet, just like in a dictionary. Apparently, this may not be as easy as it would seem. There are too many variables so a previous attempt at this task became too wordy. Continue reading
I’ve illustrated a 1921 yuan from China that is commonly called the “Fat Man” dollar. Thirty or so years ago it was rather difficult to find one of these coins at a large show unless there was a major dealer in foreign coins. Today, it seems that these coins have flooded the market. Continue reading
A coin’s edge is an important side that professional graders/authenticators rarely overlook. What are they looking for? Damage and alterations are the first things that come to my mind; yet other attributes such as the edge type and style are also important. Continue reading
In a recent column I illustrated two Standing Liberty quarters and challenged readers to pick the coin that was assigned the higher grade by a major grading service. It was a trick question used to illustrate the subjective nature of the commercial grading system we use today. In that column, the coin with slightly more design detail was graded much lower because only one digit of its date was visible. Continue reading
The surface of every coin tells a story and the story gets more interesting with each increase of magnification used to view it. As such, many coins that look unquestionably genuine at first glance, fall apart when examined using magnification. I’ve written before about the power of the hand lens I prefer, but it boils down to a personal choice for each collector. Experienced numismatists, dealers and professional authenticators report excellent results using a 5X to 10X hand lens. Continue reading