Author Topic: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...  (Read 12378 times)

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Offline Honus

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Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« on: October 28, 2011, 06:15:55 PM »
Hi gang,

First, let me apologize that this is my first posting (I think it's my first).  I've been a long-time lurker and reader, but don't have a very extensive collection so I have not had much to brag about, and I don't think I have enough experience to provide guidance.  So I've hung around and read zillions of posts, but this is my first officially.

I wanted to get your opinion on a 2003 Panda NGC MS69 I just purchased.  I don't have this year in my collection, so I was excited to get it, but it doesn't look like an MS69 to me.  Can those of you more familiar with grading standards, and especially grading standards as they pertain to Gold pandas, take a look at these photos and tell me if this is a coin I should return?  I have that option, and I don't want to get burned on resale later because the next buyers think like I do that it's just not an MS69.  If I'm being too picky, and it's ok for an MS69 to have marks visible to the naked eye, don't be afraid to tell me.  But I always thought that an MS69 could only have imperfections visible under 10x magnification.  Anyway, here's a link to the photos, on my own website:

http://www.bcgator.net/Coins/2003_Panda_Gold.htm

You can see two marks near the first of three "9s".  They're bigger than the period in front of the 9s, and they're not on the plastic holder...they are into the matte surface of the coin.  I can't tell how deep, of course, they're probably just surface marks.

So, what do you guys think of this grading job?   And seriously...don't hold back out of kindness or not wanting to hurt feelings.  This coin wasn't inexpensive, and dollars are more important than feelings here :-)

Thank you,
Eric
Eric Liquori
Anvil Fine Wares
www.anvilfinewares.com

Offline GDG's

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2011, 07:05:17 PM »
No  MS69 IMO. I realize it's 24k and very soft but I would not grade that an MS69. This is the trouble with buying coins without being able to see them in person. Whether you keep it or not depends on the price paid. Check the # and go on NGC's website and compare their pic to what you received. Good Luck GDG

Offline Honus

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2011, 07:10:46 PM »
I paid $2350 for it, GDG, thank you for the response and input.  Normally I'm an aggressive hunter, and try to pay as small a premium over spot for my gold coins, even rare-date Pandas.  But I've always loved the 2003 design, so I spent above my normal price zone to get this one. 
Eric Liquori
Anvil Fine Wares
www.anvilfinewares.com

Offline Honus

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2011, 07:14:06 PM »
And for anyone curious, yes that hairline mark below the Panda's right ear is also on the coin, not on the holder.  That mark is the most plainly visible with the naked eye, so you could say the total number of visible blemishes is 3, with the hairline being the largest and most easily seen.
Eric Liquori
Anvil Fine Wares
www.anvilfinewares.com

Offline badon

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2011, 07:18:44 PM »
I think this is a 69 grade coin. The two marks you see are probably just lint marks, which don't count against the grade. Even if they aren't, I think this coin would still be on the medium to low side of a 69 grade. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course. I have no problem with either keeping or returning a coin with marks like this coin has, depending on how much it bothers me.

The positioning of these coins is in a somewhat "busy" area of the coin where they don't stand out as much as if they were in the field all by themselves. If the marks were bona-fide damage (not lint marks) I would reduce the coin down to a 68 or even a 67 if they were in the field.

You are clearly a picky buyer, which is a good thing because it means you have an eye for quality. I have had to accept certain coins that weren't as nice as I had hoped because there were no others available. I still am bothered by the the flaws they have, and I do my best to upgrade when I get the chance. In other words, I don't think you should ignore your instincts on this coin.

I'm sure from a financial perspective, you have nothing to worry about, but if the eye appeal of the coin bothers you, it's alright to ask the seller if he has another specimen you can exchange it for. There's only one problem with being picky: If you're cheap AND picky, you just become a pest for the dealers.

My habit for "overpaying" on coins is well known. Check out this quote:

Badon says he overpays regularly and Is not too concerned, knowing his timefame is longer.

But, when I overpay, I do expect to get the best my dealer has in his inventory. So, it's a balancing act. If you discover that you're pickier about your coins than most people are, then you need to be prepared to pay just a little more for the coins that your dealers hand select for you. If you can do that, you will never be seen as a pest if your dealer doesn't send you the best coins available.

Another trick that works well for me is to always keep some cash on hand, and pay attention to when your dealers are running low. If they contact you unsolicited to sell you some coins, he probably needs cash, and he's also probably willing to work for it. Make sure you buy things from him when he needs the cash, and you'll be his best customer, even if you're not his biggest. He'll make sure he saves the best coins for you.

From his point of view, a 69 grade is going to sell for the same amount of money, so having "the right buyer" (you) for his best specimens means that he earns a little gravy for his work in sorting through them to squeeze some extra cash out of you when he needs it.

I guess there's a whole art to being picky about your coins, haha. It's a lot more work than it's worth, sometimes, but it does make it easier to sell when you can advertise them as premium quality, especially when you have built a reputation for yourself as a person who pretty much only deals in premium quality coins.

Offline GDG's

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2011, 07:18:58 PM »
Honus,

For that price I'd keep it. Population is 120K I think but that is a good price. only 600. over spot.

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2011, 07:23:39 PM »

Offline Honus

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2011, 07:29:38 PM »
Thanks for the response Badon, much appreciated.  I don't know what lint marks are, unless you mean a speck of lint on the surface of the coin (the type that can be gently blown off if it hadn't gotten stuck under the plastic).  That's not what this is...by turning the coin against the light, I can see the shiny metal underneath the surface finish, so the marks are the equivalent of what you'd get if you gently scratched a needle across the surface of the coin.  In other words, the surface finish has been scratched away there.  The marks look dark in a straight-on photo, but at an angle you can see the surface finish isn't there in those spots.

And I get what you're saying about being picky and cheap.  I can clarify my earlier comments - when I said I was an aggressive hunter, I didn't mean in "beating up" the dealers or hammering dealers on price.  I meant in looking for pandas that were going unrecognized by their dealer owners, which isn't uncommon in places where people just don't collect pandas.  I didn't beat up this particular seller to get that price - it was his Buy It Now price. 
Eric Liquori
Anvil Fine Wares
www.anvilfinewares.com

Offline badon

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2011, 07:29:50 PM »
And for anyone curious, yes that hairline mark below the Panda's right ear is also on the coin, not on the holder.  That mark is the most plainly visible with the naked eye, so you could say the total number of visible blemishes is 3, with the hairline being the largest and most easily seen.

That clarifies things. But, that mark looks like a lint mark too, and not a hairline. There's a very strong "worm" lint mark near the point of the left-most bamboo leaf. These are all clues that most, if not all of the marks you see on this coin are actually lint marks.

I just noticed that you have more than one photo (I was judging based on just the first one without scrolling down). The closeup photos of the two larger marks you are looking at reveal no burr, so they are definitely lint marks, not post-minting  damage.

The panda side of the die is the die on the bottom (anvil), so gravity makes the dust and dirt floating around in the air settle on the die. They leave "wormies" and other lint marks on the panda side most often.

I have one coin that earned a 70 grade that has lint marks as prominent as the ones on your 2003 panda. There's no way a grader could have missed them. On close examination, every single mark I could find on the coin was a lint mark, except one tiny nick in the reeding that is not visible without 10X magnification - meaning, my 70 coin is a solid 70 coin, even though it's a bit unusual as 70 coins go.

I think there's one small scrape on the rim, to the direct left of "1 oz", and possibly a minor mark in the field to the left of the bamboo sticks. They don't look like they penetrate the frosting, so I'm sure they're not lint marks. They are not severe enough to make this coin a 68.

The mark on the panda's forehead, below the panda's ear, looks like a lint mark to me. But I would need a closer photo to see it. If it is an actual scratch, the coin may still be a 69 since it is so small. At that point, I would have to see the coin in person to split the hairs between a high 68 and a low 69.

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2011, 07:29:56 PM »
Honus,

For that price I'd keep it. Population is 120K I think but that is a good price. only 600. over spot.

 
Mintage of 36,300.

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Offline GDG's

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2011, 07:30:18 PM »
Just checked mintage. 120K authorized 36,300 according to Peter Anthony's book.

Honus,

I believe you are like me. I am very picky with any coin that is a modern mintage coin. I believe it should never have been given an MS69. Perhaps a dealer who gives NGC a lot of business? I have no such marks on any of my 1 oz. PCGS MS69 coins. But if I bought that coin for what you paid I would keep it. That's just my opinion.

Offline badon

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2011, 07:36:35 PM »
Thanks for the response Badon, much appreciated.  I don't know what lint marks are, unless you mean a speck of lint on the surface of the coin (the type that can be gently blown off if it hadn't gotten stuck under the plastic).  That's not what this is...by turning the coin against the light, I can see the shiny metal underneath the surface finish

A lint mark is not debris on the coin, it is debris on the die. So, with a speck of something on the die, that part of the design will have a mark on it where the speck is pressed into the surface of the coin.

Here's some good photos (scroll down):

http://www.coingrading.com/isitproof1.html

As you can see, the lint mark is shiny inside, while the scratch is not. Also, the lint mark starts and ends abruptly, while the scratch starts and ends gradually (starts out thin, gets thicker, then thins until it disappears). There are technical reasons for this, but the picture is worth a thousand words in trying to figure out which is which.

Offline badon

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2011, 07:42:35 PM »
I believe it should never have been given an MS69. Perhaps a dealer who gives NGC a lot of business? I have no such marks on any of my 1 oz. PCGS MS69 coins.

There are 2 reasons for this. Firstly, PCGS mostly grades American coins, which are made with more attention to quality in cleaner facilities, so lint marks are much more rare. Secondly, PCGS is more about their idea of eye appeal than technical grading standards like NGC is. I prefer to decide for myself what is appealing to my eyes, but this policy of PCGS's is one reason why they have a reputation for being stricter in grading.

Mostly the noticeable difference isn't because they're stricter in grading per se, so much as PCGS might just refuse to grade a coin that has unusual markings. Since most Chinese coins have lint marks, I think NGC's grading standards make more sense, and indeed, it's probably one reason why NGC dominates the Chinese coin market (though I think other reasons are more important).

Offline GDG's

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2011, 07:50:32 PM »
Honus,

You probably have a digital scale. Weigh your 2003 and compare against other 1 oz in same NGC slabs and let us know if the weight matches. Also I do not agree with with badon that those are necessarily burrs or lint marks particularly that they are close and perpendicular to each other. Still it's a very good price and you won't lose money IMO.

Offline badon

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2011, 08:01:42 PM »
I can't discern any evidence of post-minting damage in those two marks. They're large enough and deep enough that it would have required a fair amount of force to produce them, and since the lettering and the rim nearby are undamaged, it's unlikely they're anything but lint marks. Also, they're discontinous, and irregularly shaped too, which is very uncharacteristic of normal metal damage, especially with no visible evidence of burring.

Given the quantity of lint marks on this coin, without actually examining it in person, I think there are enough good reasons to call them lint marks for now. I'd bet the coin on it :)