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Letters to the Editor (November 6, 2018)

 (Image courtesy of

(Image courtesy of

Even now all numbers not used on 70-point scale

I have collected coins since the mid 1950s. I have seen every attempt made in an effort to “standardize” coin grading.

Dr. Sheldon’s 70-point grading scale has been adopted across the board. The American Numismatic Association has published standards in a book complete with photographs and narratives.

There are others, and they don’t necessarily agree with each other.

Third-party grading companies have been with the hobby for decades – later, to add plus marks and/or stars to their encapsulations if they deem the coin worthy.

A company has even been founded to pass judgment on such third-party grading.

Yet where has this gotten us? Look first at the recognized numerical grades in the Official ANA Grading Standards publication. Here, on the 1-70 scale, there is no F-17 grade listed anywhere, no VF-32 nor AU-51. Likewise, I have never seen coins in those grades advertised for sale. (I am thankful for that!)

The hobby is not really using the 70- point scale today, and now there is discussion/consideration of a 100-point scale. Just look at what has happened since thirdparty grading has become popular: crack-outs, re-submittals, gradeflation, unreliable population reports. It would get worse.

I have been around long enough to know that, minimally, for a coin to grade “fine,” the word “Liberty” across the forehead once had to be complete, with each letter clearly showing. I am not sure today that this can be observed with uniform confidence and reliability.

Let’s get the pinhead out of Liberty Head and not even think of using a 1 to 100 point grading scale.

That is, unless coin collectors are ready to see, and debate, whether a perfectly lovely 1897-O Barber dime needs exactly 3.75 or 4.15 letters showing in “Liberty,” or some such nonsense, to be graded in Very Good condition.

If a 100-point scale in coin grading should ever be adopted, that would mark the end of common sense in coin collecting; ergo, the end of the hobby itself.

George Kissinger
Spooner, Wis.

Don’t cater to investors with new grading scale

I read with great interest the October 16, 2018, “Class of ’63” column regarding the implementation of a 100-point scale for coin grading. I also read letters readers sent in contributing to the discussion. Most of those readers’ responses were based on emotion. I plan to examine this issue in a logical way.

First, there is an important factor that must be considered: there are two groups of people concerned with this topic, coin collectors and coin investors. To a coin collector, the most important aspect of collecting is to get the best available example of a coin for their collection at the best available price. Coin collectors use the current 70-point grading scale to determine both considerations.

For a coin investor, grade matters, but not as much as will the coin in their portfolio having the potential to appreciate in value. To a coin investor, it might not matter if the 1916-D Winged Liberty dime in their portfolio is G4, AU50, or MS65, only how much will it appreciate over the time they hold the coin. To coin investors, a coin is a commodity; to coin collectors, a piece of history.

That said; let’s examine the subject at hand. The question is, should the coin industry – and by that I mean the grading companies and those in business to sell coins – change from the current 70-point grading system to a 100-point grading system?

The real question is, why? According to your article, the 70-point system replaced the original grading system of Good, Fine, Extra Fine, etc., and that was a good thing to a degree. I believe it was meant to establish some type of stability in coin grading. However, now there is a movement to replace that grading system with a more stringent scale.

So let’s look at this logically. Today, there are several systems in place to measure many things. For example, the system of weights and measurement in the United States is based on the U.S. Standard system. In many other parts of the world, the metric system is used. The metric system was tried in the United States, but it did not take hold as one might have expected.

Next, let’s look at how gold is measured for purity. It is based on the fact that 24 karat is pure. Why not base the gold purity system on a 100-point scale as well, where 100k is pure and lesser purity has lesser values? How about the temperature scale? The United States, for the most part, uses the Fahrenheit scale even though the Celsius scale exists. The Celsius scale is based on the metric system as well, yet the Fahrenheit scale works just as well.

I think you and your readers see where I am going with this: why change something just because it is metric based? Also, why stop at a 100-point scale? Why not a 1,000-point scale so that nicks in a coin can be calculated to the nearest 1,000th of a degree?
Want to save the coin collecting hobby? Stop considering coin investors and grading companies as the last, best hope on earth. They care less about the grade of a coin and more about profits.

Charles Salemi
Largo, Fla.

No date on coin makes it meaningless to others

I just saw the photos of the 50th anniversary commemorative of our nation’s landing on the moon on July 20, 1969.

Question: How are we supposed to know this is what the coin represents? It has no date of the landing; it has no “50th anniversary” on it. For all anyone knows, it’s a coin depicting our astronauts and/or the lunar rover.

Heck, it could also feed into the garbage that conspiracy theorists spout that the entire event was staged in some studio since we don’t even see the earth in the background. I am very disappointed.

By the way, my late wife and I were married on July 20, 1969, at 4 p.m., which was the approximate time that the “one small step....” announcement was made. I was going to purchase five sets for each of my four (grown) children and myself; but without the date, it’s just another coin and meaningless to them.

What was the Mint thinking?

Pete Acampora
Address withheld

Mint website shows $100 increase for palladium

Received my 2018 palladium coin, sent [it] to PCGS, and [it] came back as PR69DCAM. Have checked Mint website and noticed that they now have a price of $1,487.50, $100 over original price (I paid $1,387.50). Is the Mint getting ready to sell the remainder of 15,000, which Mint figures show 14,796, which would be 214? I was so lucky to receive mine. Always enjoy Numismatic News.

Daniel Kuziela
Chicago, Ill.

Inherited coins spurred interest in collecting

My coin find story is a unique in several ways. My and my wife’s interest in coin collecting came about late in life after the passing of my wife’s parents. Cleaning out their house, my wife found a modest coin collection of her Dad’s that had evidently been going on for years. Rather than take the coins to the bank as her siblings suggested, she brought them home, and the inquiry of values began. The find didn’t make us wealthy, but it did light a fire in both of us about coins and collecting.

A couple years later, we had to relocate for work, and we purchased a home out in the country, which was built in 2002. Some of the landscaping at our new home was what we considered less than desirable. One of the first things to go was a drainage path, which was made from handmixed concrete and stones. With a maul, wheel barrow, and determination, the path slowly disappeared. About half way through the elimination process, I had to take a break. I sat down in the shade, and among the pile of rubble I noticed the glimmer of a coin, embedded in the concrete that I was breaking up.

A close examination of the pile of rubble revealed a 1939 Mercury dime. I did have to break the concrete around the coin to complete the extraction process. Since the coin was minted in 1939 and our home had been built in 2002, it must have fallen out of the former owner’s pocket when he was constructing that path. I would rate my find at a F12.

Dennis Closson
Ogilvie, Minn

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