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Coin’s appeal in eye of beholder

I hear a lot about eye appeal. There are standards for such things as the depth of a mirror surface and for frosted devices. Are there any standards for eye appeal?


Although certification services usually consider eye appeal as a component of the condition for a Mint State or proof, realistically eye appeal impacts the desirability of every coin. Eye appeal needs to be considered alongside the number and severity of marks and abrasions, luster and reflectivity, and quality of strike. The challenge is that eye appeal is in the eye of the beholder. One person may like the appearance of a coin, while someone else doesn’t.

What is meant by “technical grade?”

The technical grade of a coin is the condition in which the coin is encountered, ignoring eye appeal, mint luster and quality of strike. Wear and bag marks are the only things taken into account.

Speckles in the form of copper spots on gold, “milk spots” on silver and discoloration on copper appear on some coins. Should these spots be taken into consideration when a coin is being graded?

Unsightly spotting on gold or silver coins as you described can result in a coin being downgraded by a certification service. It depends on the extent of the spotting. Copper is different, since discoloration may appear after the coin was produced. Since copper color changes may result from the environment. Coins certified once such a detriment has started are typically qualified or downgraded rather than given a technical grade.

If a coin is graded say, Mint State 65, can this be graded by an individual or does it have to be graded by a professional service to get this grade?

There is nothing stopping an individual from grading a coin MS-65; however, other collectors may disagree with the grade assigned, or may feel uncomfortable buying such a coin without some better assurance than what the seller claims. This is why third party certification services exist. If a well-recognized third party service assigns MS-65 to a coin, the coin is more likely to be accepted in that grade by its future owners.

I see coins graded Mint State 60 in dealer holders, in third party slabs and in slabs that have been stickered as OK by yet someone else. I also see different prices for the same coin in the same grade in different price guides, none of which agree with what I see when I go to a dealer. Is there any centralized authority in the coin hobby?

There are a number of companies that have attempted to become a centralized authority for grading or for pricing, but none have succeeded. This is a good thing, since supply and demand should determine values, not some business.

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