I'm getting better at predicting the grades I get on my submissions!
I always enjoy preparing my raw coins for submission to NGC, especially my latest submission. Before sending my coins in, I usually take photographs of them and try to predict the grade each one will receive. Especially enjoyable, is predicting what grade my proof coins will receive, knowing that they will likely be either PFUC 69 or 70.
Recently, I purchased four proof First Spouse gold coins, Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Elizabeth Monroe, and Louisa Adams. My ultimate goal for collecting the First Spouse series is to build a complete registry set with PFUC-70 coins. Furthermore, these coins fit nicely into my ?Inspirational Ladies? signature set.
I believe the most cost effective way to build this set is to buy the coins directly from the Mint, hoping that they grade 70, rather than purchasing already graded 70?s. The exceptions are Martha and Abigail; I purchased them for less than what the US Mint currently charges for First Spouse coins. The coins that I submit and return as 69's, I can always upgrade later. If, for some reason, I cannot continue to purchase the gold issues, I can always build a registry set with the medals.
As a coin collector, I am continually working on developing my grading skills. What better way to develop these skills than to compare myself with professional numismatists. Trying to predict coins that grade between MS-63 and 67 are the most challenging for me, and I admit, I have a long way to go. Predicting coins that will grade between 69 and 70 are a little different. Knowing that a coin will likely not grade below 69, I look for features on the coin that will put it over the top.
In my dreams, I would love to spend a day in Florida with one of NGC?s graders on the job. I would probably ask them their reasoning for the grade they assign each coin certified that day. More often than not, the feature I think they look at most is the sharpness of the relief, especially on proof coins with no bag marks. You can tell the difference between a sharply struck coin and one that is not. My guess is that the difference in this instance is the difference between 69 and 70.
With the sharpness of the relief in mind, I assigned my grade to each of the coins. Martha, Elizabeth, and Louisa get 70?s, and Abigail gets a 69. Of the four, I thought Louisa was the strongest candidate for a 70. Yesterday my coins cleared quality control. Excitedly, I pulled up my submission to find I got three of four predictions correct. Martha and Elizabeth got a 70 and both Adams got a 69. I was a little dumbfounded, the candidate I thought was the strongest, got a 69. Oh well, back to the drawing board, the day I stop learning and growing is the day I?ll probably be bored with coin collecting and give up. On second thought, to be fair to myself, NGC?s graders have seen hundreds of these, while I have only seen one. Three out of four, not too shabby I would say.
In all I have two 70?s from this submission that do not have to be upgraded, and of eight coins I own, half are 70?s. Happy Collecting to All!