Author Archives: F. Michael Fazzari

Forget what you know with MS-61

I’m frequently asked how to tell the difference between an MS-61 or MS-62 coin. The answer becomes surprisingly simple once you learn to separate the various factors that determine the Mint State levels in the uncirculated range. Continue reading

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Stereomicroscope a necessary tool

Over the years, I have seen dealers and collectors use many methods to authenticate coins.  Sometimes they work.  Nevertheless, I have found that the most reliable method is simple examination using a stereomicroscope. Continue reading

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Crude

Many counterfeit coins have one side that is more deceptive than the other.  That is the case for the 1895-O Morgan dollar that a dealer and collector asked me to authenticate recently. Continue reading

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How should you examine coins?

Each individual collector has evolved his own method to examine coins.  Let me share some observations with you. Continue reading

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Loss of mint luster key grade point

I believe that once you learn how to recognize friction wear, rubbing, cabinet friction, etc., whatever the current term for loss of mint luster on the highest point of a coin’s design is; you can grade anything. Continue reading

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Fakes share certain surface characteristics

If someone asks you to name some of the defects commonly found on counterfeit coins what would you say?  What would you look for on a coin that you suspected to be counterfeit? Continue reading

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Magnification a vital tool to evaluate coins

I want to encourage readers to look more closely at their coins. It’s fun to look at coins, especially when they are your own. Countless collectors/accumulators search rolls and dealer’s stock looking for interesting items. All you need to do is look closely. Continue reading

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Seeing genuine coin helps to catch fakes

Let me answer one of the issues dealing with counterfeit coins that all authenticators have faced in their professional career: How much information to divulge to the public about specific counterfeit coins. Continue reading

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Market demands change grade standards

Let’s examine again how many AU coins came to be graded as Mint State and hopefully clarify some points I tried to make in a previous article. Continue reading

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Second

I recently attended the Illinois Numismatic Association 50th anniversary show near Chicago. I wish I could have gotten away from the ICG table long enough to search for variety coins as this was truly a great “collectors” show. Continue reading

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