What happened to the love of toned coins?
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I remember several years ago when toned coins were all the rage and AT coins and coin drs were the discussion dominated the message boards over at PCGS. This was 15 years ago or so. Now it seems as though "blast white" is the choice. For example, I think this coin has a very nice, original surface. I'd prefer coins with surfaces like this example over a dipped blast white coin any day. I consider dipped coins doctored.

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I just realized this is the same Morgan I had asked opinions for in another post. Either something screwy is going on or I got confused. This coin is graded XF40 by NGC. I would have sworn another seller had this exact coin listed, but I obviously got confused. Unless I'm missing something, I think this coin is nicer than XF40

Edited by the_Thing ®

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I think toned coins are more popular then ever. They still sell for many multiples

of typical white coins. Eye appeal has never been more important.

 

mark

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Although it is a semantic difference, most people distinguish between "toned" coins and "original" toning or skin. Multiples of price guide only come into play when talking about coins with vibrant color. Coins with original skin are still sought after, though.

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Although it is a semantic difference, most people distinguish between "toned" coins and "original" toning or skin. Multiples of price guide only come into play when talking about coins with vibrant color. Coins with original skin are still sought after, though.

 

Concur.

 

mark

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There is a bit of subtlety you are missing in your post. The Morgan you show is "original" in that it has not been dipped recently or mistreated. It exhibits "toning" in that it has a patina, but I wouldn't necessarily call it "toned."

 

In the strictest sense of the word, "toning" refers to any discoloration on the coin due to surface reactions with environmental conditions. This is the same effect you see on your silverware, and is removed because it is brown and ugly. However, usually when discerning collectors use the word "toned," they are referring to a coin that has attractive coloration. Through environmental conditions and a bit of luck, the patina has formed such that there are attractive colors which enhance the eye appeal.

 

When this toning is particularly attractive and displays a wide range of colors, usually in a cascading effect, it is referred to as "rainbow" toning. To qualify as "rainbow", there must be several shades of the rainbow arranged in a a rainbow fashion.

 

I will show three examples. The first is an attractive, original coin that has a nice patina, but few would call it "toned". This 1815 Bust half doesn't exhibit much color on the obverse, but it has "toning" in the strictest sense of the word. Next, we have an 1835 Bust have that has a good bit of color. The obverse here has quite a bit of toning, and is very attractive. The reverse is much nicer (although I'm not showing it), enough to earn a Star from NGC. This is not a Rainbow, but it has very attractive toning. Finally, the last picture is of an extraordinarily attractive Bust half. This is Rainbow Toning, showing a clear progression of the rainbow colors.

 

To answer your original question, today's collector tends to pursue "attractive originality." Attractive coins are prized, and original coins are prized, but if you get an attractive original coin, it will fetch the highest prices. Five to ten years ago, there was an increased focus on originality above everything else, but it seems people have realized that "original" doesn't necessarily mean "attractive." The discerning collector today values both.

 

The coin you posted in your OP is original, but isn't the most attractive. It will garner a higher price than a dipped or cleaned coin, but it won't get a high price just because it has a bit of brown.

 

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1813CBHrevHR03_1.jpg

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After viewing those links to Legend auctioned Morgan toners I've concluded that these people don't have a 'love' for toned coins they have a disease that can only be cured with more money for more outrageously expensive coins. This is great for the hobby to some extent but where does it stop.These owners should certainly stay anonymous for obvious reasons. To get a better idea of what I mean visit JHON E. CASH toned Morgans exhibit on line, its kind of cool.

Edited by numisport

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I've had "original" coins that were very hard to sell with or without cac stickers after grading because many collectors want untoned coins. So you pay NCS to conserve the coins and hope that cac stickers them again. It is pretty amazing how incisive experts can see through the toning any issues underneath. Actually toning often protects the coin, not sure how that works but I have heard it.

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As opposed to gold, silver is a highly reactive element. When exposed to the environment it will react with a number of contaminants to form tarnish. Sometimes this is attractive, especially when a thin film of tarnish reflects (refracts) light in a certain way. All sorts of pretty colors can result and the exact color depends (mostly) on the thickness of the tarnish layer. Once the tarnish forms, it is more difficult for contaminants to attack the metallic silver underneath the toning layer.

 

The toning itself forms a protective layer and acts as a partial barrier to further toning. Some coins tone more nicely than others (Morgans tone beautifully and Peace dollars don't). This is probably due to the specific alloy, surface treatments prior to striking, or the exact crystalline structure of the surface on a molecular level. Different designs and die surface preparations result in different strain hardening of the coin's surface.

 

The problem with dipping is that the protective layer is stripped away, leaving fresh, raw surfaces. In many cases even freshly struck coins originally left the mint with some sort of surface layer - oils, oxides, leftover chemicals from acid baths, etc. Putting the coin back in the environment with raw surfaces invites a second round of aggressive attack. Sometimes this works out (nice secondary toning) and sometimes it goes sideways (ugly secondary toning). Either way, the original surfaces are slowly disappearing, along with the microscopic flow lines that are responsible for luster. Anything that speeds this up is harming the coin. That's why originality is so highly praised by those who value true protection and conservation of the coin.

 

The most original coin of course is the one that never toned at all and looks exactly like it did when it left the mint. There are genuine red copper pieces that are 200 years old, but such coins are the exception and not the rule. Most will show an age-appropriate patina, which is the next best thing to a perfectly original coin.

Edited by orifdoc

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One of the best, most concise explanations of this complicated topic that I have seen in writing. Good job!

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Unfortunately one of the problems also is that IMO (and in the opinion of many others I know), the major TPG's are slabbing all sorts of AT stuff these days... stuff that makes you shake your head and wonder WHAT is happening at the TPG's.  I can understand Market Acceptable (MA) coins making it into slabs, but take a look at some of the coins out there that are toned in ways that no one has ever seen before for those Type/Date/MM that are not only getting slabbed, but are also getting grade bumps for their toning.

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30-35 years ago you did not see these wildly toned coins on the bourse floor...sure, you had a variety of toned coins that dealers offered but few to none specialized in handling these types of coins. The past 10 years has had a significant rise in the amount of toners on the market and it has been exponential. I just don't know where all these toners magically came from and began to flood the market. Don't get me wrong, I love beautiful coins that have a natural patina to them, but to see a purple lavender Peace dollar is upsetting.

OK, I'm going back under my rock.

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I can appreciate toners like to the next collector, but some folks are so awful dad-gum proud of them when it comes time to sell, they wind up hanging on to them for a while and wonder why nobody wants to pay what they think that the coin is worth.

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1885-O%201%20REV%20MAX.jpg

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10 hours ago, WoodenJefferson said:

30-35 years ago you did not see these wildly toned coins on the bourse floor...sure, you had a variety of toned coins that dealers offered but few to none specialized in handling these types of coins. The past 10 years has had a significant rise in the amount of toners on the market and it has been exponential. I just don't know where all these toners magically came from and began to flood the market. Don't get me wrong, I love beautiful coins that have a natural patina to them, but to see a purple lavender Peace dollar is upsetting.

OK, I'm going back under my rock.

I always enjoyed the original skin subtle pastels you used to see at the bourse. They have faded from the scene, and that is sad.

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I think the love for toned coins is even stronger now than ever before....

I had to take a hiatus from the hobby for over a year due to a the passing of my mom but now that I am back in and researching prices, I cannot believe what I am seeing.

Granted its Ebay but still the premiums have increased since I last looked in 2014-2015, almost across the board. (Morgans I dont look at so I dont know if they dropped).

But for my specialty, Im seeing toned Peace $ than should be $500-$750 are now $1000-$1200 coins. Toned Jeffs that were $50 to $75 coins are now over $100. And the ones that were $400 are now at $1000. The price of toned Lincolns also seem to be through the roof.

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I've been a collector for about 40 years although I admit I never got around like many others. However like WoodenJefferson I cant remember seeing these crazy color toned Morgans back then. Can anyone really say they saw these coins 30 years ago ? They must have been color toned back then if they are natural.

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33 minutes ago, numisport said:

I've been a collector for about 40 years although I admit I never got around like many others. However like WoodenJefferson I cant remember seeing these crazy color toned Morgans back then. Can anyone really say they saw these coins 30 years ago ? They must have been color toned back then if they are natural.

I saw a number of such coins - among other places -  in mint bags back in the 80's. Additionally, with the aid of the Internet, a great many people are being made aware of countless things (including "crazy color" coins) they would never have known about, otherwise.

As just one example, I used to collect tin Popeye toys (usually with their original cardboard boxes) that were made in the 1930's and 40's. Based on what I saw at antique/toy shows and in auctions and heard from long-time dealers, certain ones seemed to be quite rare. But once the Internet (and EBay) took hold, the known supply increased dramatically, over time. And in some instances, prices dropped dramatically.

 

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MF collects Popeye toys?  Wow.  you learn something new every day. ;)

I wasn't collecting "back in the day" and I'm too young to have any memory of silver dollars in circulation, but I do have a copy of Wayne Miller's Silver dollar book from 1983.  The perspective of collecting in that era is interesting.  The book has a few color pages that show several nice Morgan toners.  That said, none of them seem comparable to the "Monsters" that are constantly showing up at auction now.  Maybe it's the photography.  Maybe it's just the tremendous attention that the best coins are receiving in the always-front-and-center age of the Internet.  I have my own suspicions that some of what is "out there" now was manufactured in basement labs.  I have no idea to what extent this is true.

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Like MarkFeld in the early 80's mainly at the Silver Dollar Conventions I saw quite a few Morgan Dollars with what I call great toning that were fresh out of Mint Bags. Many had what some collectors today call crazy toning. I also meant to say that I still own quite a few Morgans that came out of these bags.

 

Edited by ArtR
For got to add something

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ArtR posted...wow.  That HAS to be the same ArtR who posted at PCGS all those years ago.  Good to hear from you.

As to toned coins: I've never been interested myself unless they are:  Bust quarters or Bust dimes or Bust half dimes or Mercs or Buffalos or SLQ or.....

5c-1833_53p_zpsnebgfq51.jpg

 

jom

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