Author Topic: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...  (Read 12306 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
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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
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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
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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.

Offline exchange

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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.

exchange

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 :)

Offline Honus

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2011, 08:06:37 PM »
GDG, I don't have another 1oz in the same new NGC holder, only one in one of the older NGC holders and I'm sure the weight is different just because of the different plastic structure of the holder.  Still I weighed them both, the 2003 we're discussing weighs 71.5 grams  and a 2005 in old holder weighs 72 grams.
Eric Liquori
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Offline GDG's

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2011, 08:15:27 PM »
I have an NGC Graded Coin with a sizable rim ding that you cannot see since it's been slabbed. I'm sure the coin is real but I don't go for the 69. Even if it were a 68 I would keep it. I'd put it in the vault and wait 6 months till Gold hit 2k and sell it if I were that dissatisfied. I am a picky buyer though. I almost never never send coins back to dealers even if I don't think it will get a 69. 600 over spot for this coin is a good deal IMO.

Offline badon

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2011, 08:19:42 PM »
I found one overgraded NGC coin that had a large rim ding as well. Big rim dings are rare in modern Chinese coins, so I'm not sure how it should be graded, but I doubt it should have received a 69. As a guess, I think I would have given it a 67. That's the only one I've ever found like that.

Offline Honus

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2011, 08:26:44 PM »
I added a couple more photos.  The lighting is off, but that's as good as I can do with the limitations of my 6mp camera.   And I see exactly what you mean, Badon, about lint marks.  I'm more inclined to think that's exactly the case with the head mark.  Still undecided on the two perpendicular marks.  I may just sleep on it, see how I feel about it in the morning.  On the one hand, Badon's right about going on instinct...in the same way I have questions about it, future buyers may as well.  On the other, GDG isn't wrong about getting a decent deal on it. 
Eric Liquori
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Offline badon

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2011, 08:33:36 PM »
One of the images isn't loading up for me.

Offline GDG's

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2011, 08:35:12 PM »
Honus,

I'm sure it's real and the price is really, really good. My advice is to keep it. If you want to sell it you would get more then you paid for it today IMO.

Offline Honus

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2011, 10:11:17 PM »
All images fixed, thanks guys. 
Eric Liquori
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Offline badon

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2011, 10:19:21 PM »
Still looks like lint marks to me. I see no signs of disturbed metal, and no signs of entry-exit typical of contact with another object. There's a "J" shaped lint mark above the "u" in "Au" that shows up really clearly in one of those photos.

Offline Obsidian

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2011, 11:04:37 PM »
I'd agree with Badon, lint marks or some other irregularity with the frosting.  Not scratches from contact IMO.

Offline badon

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2011, 11:41:22 PM »
For future reference, here's the images attached to this forum post, so others can see what lint marks look like.

Offline Honus

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #25 on: October 29, 2011, 10:22:10 AM »
So it seems the consensus, from a few very knowledgeable people, is that NGC may not have over-graded this one, and as I've researched NGC's grading standards it's because they do not penalize a coin for blemishes that occur during minting.     So if I were to be bummed, I shouldn't direct it at NGC, but rather the mint for being a bit sloppy that day.  Maybe I've just been lucky...every other 1oz Gold I've come across has just looked flawless, even under inexpensive 5x magnification, so I may be a bit spoiled in that regard.  I've seen plenty of rim dings on silver pandas, but minting blemishes on the faces of the gold coins is not something I've had to accept (and I don't include copper spots in that category - copper spots don't bother me that much).

I appreciate everyone's time and help, I'll let you guys know whether I keep it or not.
Eric Liquori
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Offline Obsidian

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #26 on: October 29, 2011, 01:04:35 PM »
Even though / if the marks were caused by the mint, they can still detract from the eye appeal of the coin.  If you don't like the coin very much and the seller has a good return policy, it wouldn't be unreasonable to return it.  That being said, I do agree with some of the others, the price was a good price and you may have a hard time finding another MS69 for that price.  You may however find a MS68 that has as good or better eye appeal for a similar price or less.  That is the dilema with the market right now paying large premiums for 69s.

If the coin will really bother you when looking at it with you naked eye, I say return it and pay more for a very nice one.  The pictures we see have the coin magnafied many, many times.  If to your naked eye the spots aren't very distracting, I'd keep it.

Offline Honus

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #27 on: October 29, 2011, 07:31:40 PM »
Thanks for the input, Obsidian.  You're right about eye appeal, and you make a great point about naked eye viewing vs. magnification. 

From what I consider a normal viewing distance of 12 inches or so, regular arms length, with the naked eye, the coin is beautiful and the marks are too small to see.  To the naked eye, it's just gorgeous.  And I'm also farsighted, so my near-field vision is poor anyway.  Other people with better eyesight might be able to squint and see the marks, but I can't without magnification.  Actually, my girlfriend couldn't see them either, and she has younger eyes and great vision.  I love looking at it, and it's visually stunning.

My initial message that started the thread wasn't so much about eye appeal, as knowing the marks are there and wanting to make sure I didn't make a large (for me anyway, I'm far from wealthy) investment in a coin that down the road might be judged poorly by others, or that was over-graded.   On the basis of strictly eye-appeal, it's absolutely a keeper in my opinion.  But I always try to judge coins not only by what my eyes see, but thinking ahead and trying to anticipate what others might think should I face a situation where I had to sell the coin.
Eric Liquori
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Offline badon

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #28 on: October 29, 2011, 07:53:11 PM »
One great thing about seeking advice from this forum is, let's say you want to sell the coin 5 years from now. Even at that point in the future, you can refer interested buyers to this discussion here, so they can see for themselves that the coin is indeed a 69, and the marks on the coin are actually just lint marks.

Also, if you wouldn't mind sharing the certification number for the coin, this topic could serve as a great footnote for your coin's entry in the Coin Compendium. Then you can just refer people to the CC, and they can find all interesting info about this particular coin.

Offline Honus

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #29 on: October 30, 2011, 11:29:53 AM »
Of course, the cert # is 3555228-001.

I am not familiar with the compendium, so I did a search and found the thread discussing it, but not a link to it.  Is it something still in process, or can it be viewed?

Thanks Badon,

Eric
Eric Liquori
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Offline badon

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #30 on: October 30, 2011, 02:28:26 PM »
It is still in active development. There are a few people that have been invited to test it, but for the most part it is closed to the public until it is ready for further testing. It has turned out to be a much more challenging project than I initially envisioned, but it is coming along well.

Offline Honus

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #31 on: November 02, 2011, 06:04:24 PM »
Excellent Badon, I'll look forward to it in the future, and thanks again to everyone for their guidance and information.  It's greatly appreciated.
Eric Liquori
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Offline badon

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #32 on: November 27, 2011, 05:16:03 PM »
I entered your coin into the Coin Compendium with the CC number CC6, and a link back to this discussion.

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #33 on: November 29, 2011, 08:19:17 PM »
Thanks for the update Badon!
Eric Liquori
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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #34 on: December 17, 2011, 02:31:17 AM »
Quote from Badon: "PCGS is more about their idea of eye appeal than technical grading standards like NGC is."   Wow.

Now I usually subscribe to most everything Badon has to say and I have all the respect in world for his knowledge.... But I am not sure where the above statement comes from.  I've been in this business for 18+ years and when it comes to Pre-1965 U.S. Numismatics.... that statement couldn't be further away from reality.... in fact, it's just the opposite.  Any experienced, reputable dealer can tell you that the major knock on NGC is the fact that they often discard 'technical grading' for eye appeal and have earned an industry wide reputation for over-grading.  I could provide a thousand examples of MS/PF-65+ NGC coins that when sent to PCGS for cross-over, were reduced to 63's and 64's or less..... in some cases, the grades were so off the mark it was laughable. In contrast, it was PCGS who from 1986 to the late '90's was heavily criticized for being(ironically) too technical and conservative.... but they have since corrected that issue and are far and away the undisputed leader in third-party grading.... even the Brass at NGC will privately concede this.

Today NGC is still trying to shed their rep for over-grading and when it comes to U.S. Coins they are still far behind PCGS in grading accuracy/consistency. IMO, I find the same to be true when it comes to MC Coins.

Honus: Your 2003 Gold Panda is indeed OVER-GRADED. Those 'scrapes' definitely count against the grade....  It wouldn't net a 68 in a PCGS slab and if you sent it back to NGC(which is exactly what I would do), I think they would recognize their mistake and re-holder it in a 67 or 66 slab.  NGC would reimburse you for the difference in value so I wouldn't hesitate.  I certainly would NOT try to pass it on to someone else as a 69.     

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #35 on: December 17, 2011, 02:45:52 AM »
Those marks most likely came after the coin was sealed and left the Mint.  I have hundreds of OMP Gold Pandas with the same type of scrapes/scratches.  Keep in mind, that unlike the silver issues(2005 and previous) the Gold BU issues are not double sealed(1999 serif and 2000 Frost are the exceptions) and it is easy for them to get beat up.  The marks on your coin probably started out as tiny indentations from something that was resting on it(possibly another coin) and over time, deteriorated to the point that they resemble scratches or scrapes. Also, since you bought the coin already graded, who knows what happened when it still resided in it's OMP...?

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #36 on: December 17, 2011, 02:59:28 AM »
Doubt it. It would most likely have ht the "9" too since its so much higher.  Would have been near impossible, if still in OMP, due to resistence of thick plastic.


Nice coin. MS68+.   Happy?

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #37 on: December 17, 2011, 03:23:32 AM »
It depends on what caused the marks in the first place.... It is certainly possible and likely that something could have made contact with the coin without affecting the raised devices.  I have several examples of Gold Pandas that have the same issues....  There's no way to tell what really happened to the coin, but that so-called 'thick' plastic in not going to prevent damage.

Again, it's a real simple fix.... Send the coin back to NGC, let them re-holder it and take the reimbursement.  Easy call.

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #38 on: December 17, 2011, 03:27:22 AM »
It depends on what caused the marks in the first place.... It is certainly possible and likely that something could have made contact with the coin without affecting the raised devices.  I have several examples of Gold Pandas that have the same issues....  There's no way to tell what really happened to the coin, but that so-called 'thick' plastic in not going to prevent damage.

Again, it's a real simple fix.... Send the coin back to NGC, let them re-holder it and take the reimbursement.  Easy call.

Right.

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #39 on: December 17, 2011, 06:56:07 AM »
Quote from Badon: "PCGS is more about their idea of eye appeal than technical grading standards like NGC is."   Wow.

Now I usually subscribe to most everything Badon has to say and I have all the respect in world for his knowledge.... But I am not sure where the above statement comes from.  I've been in this business for 18+ years and when it comes to Pre-1965 U.S. Numismatics.... that statement couldn't be further away from reality.... in fact, it's just the opposite.  Any experienced, reputable dealer can tell you that the major knock on NGC is the fact that they often discard 'technical grading' for eye appeal and have earned an industry wide reputation for over-grading.  I could provide a thousand examples of MS/PF-65+ NGC coins that when sent to PCGS for cross-over, were reduced to 63's and 64's or less..... in some cases, the grades were so off the mark it was laughable. In contrast, it was PCGS who from 1986 to the late '90's was heavily criticized for being(ironically) too technical and conservative.... but they have since corrected that issue and are far and away the undisputed leader in third-party grading.... even the Brass at NGC will privately concede this.

Today NGC is still trying to shed their rep for over-grading and when it comes to U.S. Coins they are still far behind PCGS in grading accuracy/consistency. IMO, I find the same to be true when it comes to MC Coins.

Honus: Your 2003 Gold Panda is indeed OVER-GRADED. Those 'scrapes' definitely count against the grade....  It wouldn't net a 68 in a PCGS slab and if you sent it back to NGC(which is exactly what I would do), I think they would recognize their mistake and re-holder it in a 67 or 66 slab.  NGC would reimburse you for the difference in value so I wouldn't hesitate.  I certainly would NOT try to pass it on to someone else as a 69.     

Coinslinger,

I can see you have been a numismatist a long time. I am in 100% agreement with you on NGC/PCGS. I think many sellers send their coins to NGC knowing it will get a better grade and for that reason only. They hype NGC holders in order to sell their coins.There are know it alls and there are numismatists.  David Bowers would say the same in private.

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #40 on: December 17, 2011, 10:15:22 AM »
Thanks for the input gentlemen, I appreciate it.  Let me ask you from a practical standpoint, Coinslinger.  I've read through NGC's guarantee thoroughly, and I'm sure if I called them I might get a more in-depth, even subjective, explanation of it by phone from one of their customer service reps.  But in real-life practical terms, how would you imagine it might play out if I asked NGC to honor the guarantee for this particular coin?     

You don't have to take a lot of time and try and answer that question, just think through it with me.  My thought process (which may be faulty!) goes like this...gold has fallen $140 per ounce since my purchase, and the 2003's are somewhat thinly traded, so establishing fair-market value would not be as easy as, say, the fair market for an MS63 1900 $20 Liberty.   Because of the limited supply of this date, in any grade, someone could make the argument that there is no longer a large difference in value between, say, an MS67 and MS69.   Throw all of that in a blender and I can imagine getting the coin back in an MS67 holder with a check for $90 and a "have a nice day" note. 

This fear may just be my inexperience talking - maybe you guys have exercised your NGC guarantee rights many times and know how the game is played.  But again, if this were a 1900 $20 Liberty, it would be easy to determine fair market value.  On a 2003 gold panda, I see potential for the process having an unhappy ending.  And it's been almost 2 months since I received the coin, and as I work toward completing my collection of MS69 1oz Gold pandas I find that I'm not embarrassed to have this particular 2003 in my collection.  Yes, I still wish I'd received a pristine example, but I don't lose any sleep over the transaction, and I don't stare at this coin and brim with anger.  I don't want to use the NGC guarantee if I don't think I can increase my happiness level in the end.

Thanks again for the input, everyone.
Eric Liquori
Anvil Fine Wares
www.anvilfinewares.com

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #41 on: December 17, 2011, 03:50:30 PM »
This is more about getting the coin properly re-holdered than it is about the money you would get..... I've sold MS-69 2003 G500Y 1 oz. Pandas recently for as high as $2695.00.  NGC would not dispute a reasonable market value with you, they're actually very good about quickly making things right.  An MS-67 could be about a $600-to-$700 drop.  That's not a bad comp.  I always have them(NGC) put reimbursements toward future submissions, so it really works out quite nicely.  If you opt to have the $, then they will ship a check to you.  But we all need to do our part when it comes to keeping over-graded coins off the market.

Look, Honus.... if you plan on keeping the coin, then all of this is irrelevant.  But you started this thread for a reason and I'm certain you're not happy with the coin otherwise we wouldn't be having this discussion.  If you do send it back to NGC, you could sell the downgraded coin and then use the accompanying reimbursement to buy a problem free piece for what you originally paid.....in fact you might actually make a few bucks....?

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #42 on: December 17, 2011, 05:34:54 PM »
Quote from Badon: "PCGS is more about their idea of eye appeal than technical grading standards like NGC is."   Wow.

Now I usually subscribe to most everything Badon has to say and I have all the respect in world for his knowledge.... But I am not sure where the above statement comes from. 

It comes from the fact that NGC will still give a 69 grade based on objective technical merits, while PCGS may overrule the technical merits to mark the grade down in favor of their subjective standards for eye appeal. The result is what you perceive as NGC's loose grading, and PCGS's strict grading. Each grading style is a matter of preference.

Those marks most likely came after the coin was sealed and left the Mint.

I disagree. My analysis dictates that the marks could only have been formed under evenly-applied high pressure (a die strike).

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #43 on: December 17, 2011, 07:22:14 PM »
Badon....  I have a strong working relationship with both NGC and PCGS.  I talk to to these guys on a daily basis and many years ago I almost became a grader for PCGS, if not for the fact that I would've had to give up trading(at the time, if you graded for PCGS you could not actively buy/sell as a dealer) I would have taken the job.  So I'm just going to let my experience in this area speak for itself. What I'm offering isn't speculative.... I'm not trying to formulate an opinion. It's just the way things are. 

As far as what your analysis dictates(?)... I'll give you a prime example that simply dismisses your theory.  I have a really nice 1998 100Y 1 oz. Lg. Date in OMP.  I picked this piece up at a small show a few months back and after carefully examining the entire coin under 10x, 20x, and then finally 30x maginfication, it was spotless.... a can't miss 69. I photographed the coin and put it in a small box of coins designated for grading in my transitional safe.  A few weeks later when I was putting together a submission list for NCS, I noticed two small 'scratches' @ about 10 o' clock on the Reverse(Panda side) directly underneath the .999 and above the 100Y near the rim....virtually identical to the marks on Honus' 2003 500Y Au Panda.  Now they weren't there before and I have no idea how they got there.... what I do know is they were clearly NOT a result of a die strike.  Now that's just ONE example.... I could give you a THOUSAND more, in fact I could inundate this thread(forum) with hundreds of images proving my point.

The bottom line is this, you can analyze it until you're blue in the teeth, but you cannot predict random chaos.  There's no mystery here Guy's.... the coin has scratches on it and none of us supposed geniuses can definitively tell you how they got there.  End of story.

         

Offline Panda Halves

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #44 on: December 17, 2011, 07:44:37 PM »
Let's all talk in absolutes and play the end of story game!
I think this is a beautiful coin that deserves a 69 grade.
End of Story.

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #45 on: December 17, 2011, 08:06:25 PM »
As far as what your analysis dictates(?)... I'll give you a prime example that simply dismisses your theory.  I have a really nice 1998 100Y 1 oz. Lg. Date in OMP.  

...

A few weeks later when I was putting together a submission list for NCS, I noticed two small 'scratches' @ about 10 o' clock on the Reverse(Panda side) directly underneath the .999 and above the 100Y near the rim....virtually identical to the marks on Honus' 2003 500Y Au Panda.  Now they weren't there before and I have no idea how they got there....

...

The bottom line is this, you can analyze it until you're blue in the teeth, but you cannot predict random chaos.  There's no mystery here Guy's.... the coin has scratches on it and none of us supposed geniuses can definitively tell you how they got there.  End of story.          

The diagnostic criteria for a field flaw formed under pressure is the lack of a raised burr. The photos aren't as nice as I would like them to be, but it is clear that the marks on Honus's coin are deeper than average. Naturally, a deep scratch would require significant force, and would push up a conspicuous burr, but I see no burrs. The only way a mark can be created without burring is if the mark is formed under pressure that literally holds down the burr, like the face of a striking die does.

That's primarily how scratches and lint marks are distinguished (although there are other possible diagnostics in special circumstances, or other parts of a coin). Scratches usually have burrs, and lint marks usually don't. The deeper the mark, the bigger the burr, if it is a scratch.

I see no evidence that the flaws on Honus's coin are anything more than lint marks. I think NGC graded his coin correctly using technical grading standards, although PCGS may have penalized it on the basis of subjective eye appeal. I personally prefer NGC's grading methods, but there are pros and cons to both. If I were a pro grader myself, I would probably tend to grade using PCGS's style. That's how I grade my own coins, privately.

When buying coins other people have graded, I appreciate NGC's technical objectivity, so I can make my own subjective determination based on how much I like the coin.

Offline badon

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #46 on: December 17, 2011, 08:12:39 PM »
I think Honus's coin is a beautiful coin. The marks are small, and are in a location where they don't detract very much from the overall eye appeal. Only under high magnification in the photos can you see them clearly. End of my story :)

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #47 on: December 17, 2011, 08:21:12 PM »
Also, key is the radiant lustster and fur details plus sharp lines and raised reliefs.
The strike on this one is exceptional. (possible early strike)
Other than lint marks and a couple of frost breaks there are no major detractions.
No post mint damage apparent.
Anything greater than simple 5x magnification to verify a flaw is 70 territory anyway, not 69.

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #48 on: December 17, 2011, 08:27:58 PM »
Here's what I will offer: Honus, Ship the coin to NGC and I will personally guarantee the coin.... that is, if NGC downgrades the coin(and they will) and they don't reimburse you, I WILL.  Of course this is nothing more than a rhetorical exercise... I already know the outcome, NGC will reimburse you. I just want prove that the coin will indeed go down from a 69.

And yes Badon, you're right about the fact that the images of Honus' coin aren't clear enough to make a definitive call.... but my 1998 has NO burrs(burrs can easily be flattened over time) and I'm only using 'scratches' as a euphemism because the whole point is no one can say with any certainty what those marks are or how they got there.  The only thing I am sure of, is that the coin is NOT an honest 69 and will surely drop if resubmitted.  My apologies to Panda Halves and everyone for being so absolute.  ;)


 

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #49 on: December 17, 2011, 08:37:10 PM »
That's a pretty bold move by coinslinger.
Let me check my inventory and see if I can pull any coins to qualify for te coinslinger guarantee.  :biggrin:
Indeed, there are two sides to every coin.
Speaking of....
Honus, would you mind sharing the registry number with us or providing detailed pics of the temple side?
Also, I know there were some NGC reps lurking around here a while ago.
Perhaps one of them can chime in?

PH

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #50 on: December 17, 2011, 08:43:08 PM »
Something else... I currently have an MS-68 2001-D G500Y Panda that I have re-submitted three times to get a 69.... I finally had to call one of my contacts there so I could get an explanation as to why my coin couldn't achieve a 69.  The explanation given was that on the very edge of the coin there were two tiny little indentations @ about 1 o'clock and it was NGC's assertion that those minor detraction's took place AT THE MINT and thus prevented the coin grading at 69.  Now most of us know the notorious rep of the 2001-D.... they don't grade well and it's usually because of pre-packaging Mint flaws.....  I'm open to any thoughts.....?    

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #51 on: December 17, 2011, 08:51:45 PM »
The high points on the gold 2001D/2001/2002 gold panda relief are higher than some issues making them prone to damage in the original mint packaging.
The forehead, nose bridge, and nose are easily damaged and difficult to detect if you don't know what to look for. The nose bridge and forehead exhibit the typical "panda rub" but the nose is mirrored and even more difficult to ascertain post mint damage. The high points are very high, and they are in the center of the coin thus the pandas get scuffed in those areas very easily during shipping, transportation, and storage. 2001D in particular is prone to be afflicted by red, blue, or even purple spots that can typically be removed by NCS. This is all on top of potential other forms of post mint damage that makes these dates particularly hard to grade.

PH

Offline badon

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #52 on: December 17, 2011, 08:55:21 PM »
And yes Badon, you're right about the fact that the images of Honus' coin aren't clear enough to make a definitive call.... but my 1998 has NO burrs(burrs can easily be flattened over time) and I'm only using 'scratches' as a euphemism because the whole point is no one can say with any certainty what those marks are or how they got there.

Burrs don't flatten themselves, except perhaps with some exotic nickel-titanium alloys under unusual conditions. Since this is gold, and the burrs are in a heavily frosted area, anything pushing down the burr would, at the very least, disturb the frosting. I checked for that, and I could see no evidence of it.

As for what the marks are and how they got there, I think they are either from particles of steel grinding swarf, or cardboard specks. They're a little on the big side for grinding swarf, and I can't see them well enough to tell if they're composed of short fibers from some sort of paper product like cardboard. And, their shape is unusual for both grinding swarf and paper products. Their shape leads me to believe they could possibly be planchet damage, but I think that's unlikely, especially for a gold coin with such a good strike as this one has.

Further study could do a better job of narrowing down what produced the "lint" mark. True "lint" marks usually have long, thin fibers, and I don't see anything like that here. I'm sure if we really wanted to know what caused these marks, it could be done. Traces of the object are probably still inside the marks, and their composition could possible be determined inexpensively with common XRF technology, especially if a solid particle fragment of the object is still trapped somewhere in the marks.

I don't think that's important to figure out, other than as a fun exercise to prove you can. I'm satisfied with the lint mark determination.

I have two 70 coins that have lint marks in much more conspicuous locations. They detract from the eye appeal, but they remain technical 70's because it's not post-minting damage. Further study of Honus's coin might show that there are NO post-minting marks on the coin, which could qualify it for a technical 70 grade as well. It wouldn't be the first time I've seen that happen.

The ugliest coin I've ever seen was a very early American silver dollar that had filing marks all over it (to reduce the weight slightly). It was truly hideous, but because the filing was done before the coin was struck, they were not damage, and did not reduce the grade. If the filing were done after striking, the coin would be scrap metal. The coin had so many filing marks on it because it was one of the first silver dollars made - I think it was a test strike coin - and it sold for well over $1 million.

Offline badon

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #53 on: December 17, 2011, 08:59:26 PM »
Something else... I currently have an MS-68 2001-D G500Y Panda that I have re-submitted three times to get a 69.... I finally had to call one of my contacts there so I could get an explanation as to why my coin couldn't achieve a 69.  The explanation given was that on the very edge of the coin there were two tiny little indentations @ about 1 o'clock and it was NGC's assertion that those minor detraction's took place AT THE MINT and thus prevented the coin grading at 69.  Now most of us know the notorious rep of the 2001-D.... they don't grade well and it's usually because of pre-packaging Mint flaws.....  I'm open to any thoughts.....?    

This may be a misunderstanding of grading. Technical grading is done based on post-minting flaws. Any flaws that are post-minting will be counted against the grade. Note the word MINTING, not PACKAGING. Damage that occurs at the mint after striking IS counted against the grade, even if the mint is responsible for it, and even if it happens before the coin is packaged.

Offline Honus

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #54 on: December 17, 2011, 09:40:51 PM »
This has turned into one hell of a thread, and the best thing that's come from it is some good education.  I find great value in the differing opinions as well.   I can't believe how much I've learned, and about more than just this particular coin and this particular year.

I don't remember if it's come up yet in the thread, but it's probably important to mention that I paid $2350 for the coin.  So it may be safe to say that whatever grade people assign it, I probably didn't pay MS69 money for it.   At the time I bought it (end of October) I think that was probably MS68 pricing, so my cost basis may be lower than some people realize.

Coinslinger, I completely appreciate the need to protect the integrity of numismatics, and to not dilute the value of the grading system with coins that have been over-graded.  But given the price I paid, coupled with the $145 drop in the price of gold (meaning I might take a hit on the sale of mine just on the price of gold, not even counting any grade change), I'm not sure that re-submitting it makes things better for me personally.  Between any money I'd be reimbursed by NGC, plus the proceeds from sale of mine, I'm not sure I'd find myself with only enough funds to purchase an MS68, and possibly one that doesn't have the eye appeal that mine does.  My eyes see this the way Panda Halves sees it - the strike is fantastic, and the luster is beautiful.  It's possible that I'd end up in a position to "upgrade" on the coin, but the numbers, as I calculate them, tell me I'm just as likely to end up with no improvement in my situation.  And if there's a spike in the price of gold, between the time I sell mine and locate a replacement, my situation worsens.  If that stance, of placing as much importance on my own financial situation in this particular case as on the integrity of the grading industry, earns me some scorn and flame, I'll have to don the flak jacket.

Panda Halves, the NGC reg number is 3555228-001.  There are images on the NGC site, though I don't know that they're much better than mine. 

I will try to take some better photos, though I may have already reached the maximum ability of my camera's lens.

Honus
Eric Liquori
Anvil Fine Wares
www.anvilfinewares.com

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #55 on: December 17, 2011, 09:57:11 PM »
This thread is very interesting, I lack knowledge in the minting process and the various artifacts it may cause on coins. Badon, about scratches, I had posted a thread in the past about a strange looking scratch on one of my imperial coins. It does not look like a normal test mark, and even KONDi was not sure if it was made during the minting process or afterward. Would you mind sharing your opinion about it? http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=4218.0
I would be very grateful if you could share your knowledge about this one as well!

Offline dobedo

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #56 on: December 17, 2011, 10:13:40 PM »
Always fun to learn, especially from different perspectives. This one coin looks like a keeper to me. Some wise person once said buy/keep a coin for the coin's sake, not its slab. What do you think?

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #57 on: December 17, 2011, 10:41:16 PM »
Posted! The short version is that the scratch was made after minting, which was determined by the large raised burrs on both sides of the scratch.

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #58 on: December 17, 2011, 11:13:34 PM »
I think this demonstrates Badon's explaination on the 2003 issue quite well. Scratches leave raised areas, like shown here.
Dents, not as much.  Lint, maybe none.

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #59 on: December 17, 2011, 11:21:28 PM »
Thanks a lot for this answer!

Offline badon

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #60 on: December 17, 2011, 11:33:35 PM »
Thanks even more for the question! It was, after all, the question that led to things being cleared up.

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #61 on: December 18, 2011, 02:30:33 AM »
The American Silver Dollar that I think Badon is referring to, is the 1794 Flowing Hair Neil/Carter/Contursi Specimen that sold for a record $7,850,000.00(w/Buyers Premium).  It has a Silver Plug center with several 'file' marks along the rim and is considered to be the first Silver Dollar ever struck. It was graded(generously) by PCGS @ SP-66.(SP= Specimen Strike).  As Badon alluded to, it is for sure one the ugliest coins ever to receive such a grade. Here is a link for those who are interested...

http://news.coinupdate.com/silver-dollar-sold-for-world-record-price-0286/

Sadly, ultra rarities seem to get way beyond the benefit of the doubt and are routinely over-graded based on their pedigree and notoriety. At a recent grading seminar, a group(including myself) was asked to grade this very coin strictly on it's own physical merits and NOT it's reputation and rarity status.... the consensus was that it should grade @ AU 53 to 55.  The coin(and I have held/examined this coin on several occasions) has many luster breaks and wear marks that would normally preclude it from Mint State status.

A true 70 has to be literally perfect.... NOT TECHNICALLY perfect.  Die breaks, lint marks, collar damage, etc, etc.... eliminate the possibility of a true 70. As we have trading opinions tonight on this subject in this thread, I contacted a couple friends who grade for PCGS and NGC(one for PCGS the other for NGC). They both agreed that Honus' 2003 G500Y Panda was an oversight and would receive a downgrade if resubmitted.  As current graders they cannot participate in this forum, but I think I've managed to talk a former grader who worked for PCGS, NGC and ICG into creating an account and giving his opinions.  If anything, it will be a great education as he was a grader from 1986 to 2008.

 

 

Offline badon

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #62 on: December 18, 2011, 02:54:04 AM »
Yes, that's right, I was referring to the Contursi specimen. Good catch. In that case, PCGS laid aside their normal subjective eye appeal criteria for a special coin - that's one reason I don't like subjective grading as much as technical grading. Technical grading can be studied and understood, while subjective grading cannot (easily), since it changes.

I don't think I would be hasty in downgrading the Contursi specimen below mint state. It has a weak strike, which is to be expected for a test specimen, since the die pressure had not been set yet. The weak strike leaves flattened details on the high points that are easily mistaken for wear. Indeed, it is difficult to distinguish from wear, except under very close examination.

I am skeptical that PCGS would discard both their subjective standards and their technical standards for just one high profile coin. I think instead, they studied the weakly struck high points in detail to determine whether they exhibited wear, or original planchet surfaces instead. Original planchet surfaces usually have characteristics that will distinguish them from worn surfaces.

The line that is drawn in defining a "true 70" is what also defines "technically perfect", for practical reasons. It is actually very difficult to mass produce anything that is "truly perfect" - just ask the semiconductor fabrication people. It CAN be done, of course, just not for mundane objects like coins.

I have I think all of my 70 coins have some sort of a contact mark on them somewhere - It just takes a lot of hunting under high magnification to find them. The slightest touch will rub some gold or silver off, and that can actually be detected if you really want to look hard enough for it. I do sometimes, just for kicks, but I like NGC's standard where if you can't see it under 5X magnification, then it isn't there for the purposes of grading.

Oddly enough, I usually detect flaws the best without any magnification. I then switch to my 10X loupe to characterize the flaw as post-minting damage, or not. I assume that's how the pro graders do it also, except with a 5X instead of a 10X.

Offline SANDAC

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Re: Opinions on new 2003 MS69 Panda Gold - I'm bummed...
« Reply #63 on: December 18, 2011, 11:18:48 AM »
Thank you all for an informative discussion.  As a student of the Historical Figure series, 1984-1993, I can report that fading or missing features, excessive frostings and weak strike are common place on this modern series, but they do not seem to affect the grading at all.  I have a PF69 1992 Cai Wenji with 3 characters of her poem unreadable, and a PF69 1990 Zheng He with a missing ship mast.  NGC doesn't seem to mind them.  This leads me to believe that NGC grading (up to PF69 anyway) is mostly technical.