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Large Copper Cents and Grading


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Lately, I've spent some time studying early copper cents as I try to decide my next collection.


So I have to ask--why is there so much variance in the grading of large copper cents, such as the Draped Bust type? For example, here is one version of F-12 (under two light sources):




And yet another "F-12":




A rather noticeable difference that makes me question the grading skills (or honesty) of sellers.

Is it because the average person cannot recognize the correct grading that sellers fudge a bit?

Are buying certified coins the only reasonable approach?

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(((correct grading that sellers fudge a bit)))


Hi Kurt,


When I am trying to grade a coin using the 'Photograde' book I tend to under grade my own coins.

I can see where someone would give a coin a better grade than the coin seems to deserve.

The 1797 draped you show seems to me to be VG-8 obverse because of the lack of definition in the hair that I believe the F-12 should command. Yet, the lettering is still quite sharp. This means one has to chose between the hair and the lettering, and I opt for better definition in the hair and overall for the F-12 grade.


Yes, greed, or as it is otherwise called 'supply and demand', is a big factor in the selling of anything. The lack of knowledge is probably the second most problem in grading coins. The main point is that you noticed the difference and I bet you would not be willing to pay the same price for the 1797 as the other coin, even if they were certified.


Have fun!


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