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Reholdering Copper Coins
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17 posts in this topic

You all may already be aware of this, but it was news to me yesterday.

 

I had submitted 10 IHC's for reholdering and learned that copper coins beyond the 10 year guarantee limit would not be reholdered at the current grade and color designation if they have darkened or otherwise deteriorated. Essentially they are regraded. One does have the option of reholdering at the lower grade or color designation. Else, the coins may be returned.

 

This seems very fair but I either missed this on the NGC site or it isn't mentioned.

 

Of possible interest I had 4 coins fail to make the cut. Not sure how many of the 10 sent in were over 10 years old. There is a bias in the sense that these slabs had been "circulated" some, so may not have been stored with care to prevent further toning. Nonetheless it illustrates once again to me the need to take care with older holders and copper. If it looks BN, pay a BN price.

 

I have accepted the downgrade on 1 as I love the coin as part of my "permanent" collection and want it in a clean holder.

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I agree that NGC should make it explicit on the website, but if you read the guarantee, it makes sense and is implied. With respect to copper, bronze, or copper nickel coins, the "grade portion of the NGC guarantee will no longer apply after the 10-year anniversary of their date of encapsulation by NGC." Reholdering the coin restarts the clock. My interpretation is also shared by NGC, as it was a NGC employee, I think Max Spiegel, that confirmed this for me a few years ago.

 

As an interesting side note, many of the old, old holders never even had a copper guarantee. The copper color guarantee was first created in April 2000 if I recall correctly and was made retroactive subject to the 10 year limitation.

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"Reholdering the coin restarts the clock."

 

This is the part I was unaware of and is really more than fair. Generous on NGC's part.

 

I should also mention that Melissa and Lisa were super helpful and patient with me on this. NGC is lucky to have them.

 

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I agree that NGC should make it explicit on the website, but if you read the guarantee, it makes sense and is implied. With respect to copper, bronze, or copper nickel coins, the "grade portion of the NGC guarantee will no longer apply after the 10-year anniversary of their date of encapsulation by NGC." Reholdering the coin restarts the clock. My interpretation is also shared by NGC, as it was a NGC employee, I think Max Spiegel, that confirmed this for me a few years ago.

 

As an interesting side note, many of the old, old holders never even had a copper guarantee. The copper color guarantee was first created in April 2000 if I recall correctly and was made retroactive subject to the 10 year limitation.

 

I thought that originally, there was an NGC guarantee for copper, and that it was subsequently watered down to a 10 year time limit? I think I even remember at the time, there was a lot of talk about the fact that PCGS was retaining their guarantee. Either way, PCGS ended up changing theirs.

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This is an opinion or you might called an educated observation.

 

One of the reasons why I stay away from red copper is the problem with the pieces turning in the holder. Red copper is fragile and subject to change. That change can be made MUCH worse if the red color was "enhanced" by chemical treatments. Such coins are inherently unstable in my opinion.

 

I learned this when I was dealer. I watched a couple of red colored Braided Hair large cents from the 1850s change in the holder in a matter of a few months. This was after an expert dealer had told me the Newcomb number on one piece and commented that it was among the finest known in his very expert opinion. I'm not being a jerk here. The guy is one of the best in the business. Nevertheless the coin was turning.

 

Obviously storage while you own it is an important factor, but what was done to the coin BEFORE you bought it is even more important.

 

ONE - My buying parameters are holders that are over 10 years old are the best. If the coin has not done anything up until that time, chances are it's stable given proper storage.

 

TWO - I don't buy red copper that is older than a 1936 Proof cent, PERIOD. I just don't want the headaches. I'll buy R&B and Brown copper. I've never had ANY problems with those coins.

 

THREE - I'll buy Brown copper that is in a new holder that passes my muster. I will consider R&B copper in a new holder IF it passes my muster. What is my "muster?" 50 years of looking at coins. I can't say any more than that.

 

One thing that I learned years ago that "my muster" is NOT good enough for red copper in new holders. I'm not alone. Years ago I saw a couple of Proof Indian cents dated in the 1880s that had literally turned to dust in the holder. The holders said "Proof Red." The stuff that they had been treated with ate them up, and they were in the inventory of a top expert dealer. They got fooled by those coins too.

 

Buy red copper in a new holder is asking for trouble in my opinion.

 

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Thanks, Bill, I agree with your concern regarding RD coins. Given the huge premium on scarce RD copper coins, I've stayed away from them for economic reasons as well. Besides, RB and BN coppers can be spectacular beauties in their own right.

 

The one coin I decided to downgrade and reholder was a 98 PF 66RB. It will now be in a 65+ BN holder. Fortunately, this was a recent purchase from an experienced and reasonable seller, so the price was reasonable for the new grade. Sometimes the coins do speak for themselves in the market. Also, I now have the distinction of owning the only 98 PF 65+ BN graded by either service.

 

As a PS this coin was in what I believe was a pretty old holder. Cert number in the very low six digits. Lots of time to change, especially if stored carelessly.

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I agree that NGC should make it explicit on the website, but if you read the guarantee, it makes sense and is implied. With respect to copper, bronze, or copper nickel coins, the "grade portion of the NGC guarantee will no longer apply after the 10-year anniversary of their date of encapsulation by NGC." Reholdering the coin restarts the clock. My interpretation is also shared by NGC, as it was a NGC employee, I think Max Spiegel, that confirmed this for me a few years ago.

 

As an interesting side note, many of the old, old holders never even had a copper guarantee. The copper color guarantee was first created in April 2000 if I recall correctly and was made retroactive subject to the 10 year limitation.

 

I thought that originally, there was an NGC guarantee for copper, and that it was subsequently watered down to a 10 year time limit? I think I even remember at the time, there was a lot of talk about the fact that PCGS was retaining their guarantee. Either way, PCGS ended up changing theirs.

 

My recollection was that NGC never had a copper color guarantee. Here is a press release from 2003 announcing the creation of the 10 year guarantee, and it indicates that "NGC has not previously offered a grade guarantee for these coins."

 

https://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/107/

 

Edited: So it looks like the guarantee went into effect 2003 and not 2000. I was off on the date.

Edited by coinman_23885

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Same thing happened to me a few months back. This is part of the reason you see so many coppers in older scratched holders. PCGS holders must have softer plastic because they are usually scratched up whereas NGC uses optical quality plastic of late. But keep in mind that you buy the coin if you are a collector and you buy the plastic if you are a speculator. And I agree with Bill Jones that if you dabble in copper older than 1936, you should expect red brown mellow as natural tone. Is that what you meant Bill ?

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I agree that NGC should make it explicit on the website, but if you read the guarantee, it makes sense and is implied. With respect to copper, bronze, or copper nickel coins, the "grade portion of the NGC guarantee will no longer apply after the 10-year anniversary of their date of encapsulation by NGC." Reholdering the coin restarts the clock. My interpretation is also shared by NGC, as it was a NGC employee, I think Max Spiegel, that confirmed this for me a few years ago.

 

As an interesting side note, many of the old, old holders never even had a copper guarantee. The copper color guarantee was first created in April 2000 if I recall correctly and was made retroactive subject to the 10 year limitation.

 

I thought that originally, there was an NGC guarantee for copper, and that it was subsequently watered down to a 10 year time limit? I think I even remember at the time, there was a lot of talk about the fact that PCGS was retaining their guarantee. Either way, PCGS ended up changing theirs.

 

My recollection was that NGC never had a copper color guarantee. Here is a press release from 2003 announcing the creation of the 10 year guarantee, and it indicates that "NGC has not previously offered a grade guarantee for these coins."

 

https://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/107/

 

Edited: So it looks like the guarantee went into effect 2003 and not 2000. I was off on the date.

 

Thank you.

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And I agree with Bill Jones that if you dabble in copper older than 1936, you should expect red brown mellow as natural tone. Is that what you meant Bill ?

 

Yes, that's what I met. Even the older copper coins that get the Red designation have a subdued look to them if they are really original red. The piece pieces that flash like hub caps make me nervous. I don't want them.

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When I first got back into collecting, I was fascinated by red coins, especially large cents. However, after hearing horror stories of unstable coins turning in holders, I decided to stay away and admire them from afar.

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I completely agree with Bill Jones. Older copper with fully "red" surfaces are extremely suspect to me. Obviously, many famous pedigreed red large-cents (and half-cents) exist that have been plated numerous times over the years, and one can view the old photos and see that they have retained their vintage red color. But my personal belief and experience has been that over the last 30 years, a huge explosion of fully red copper coins has appeared on the market - large cents, half cents, Indian cents and early wheat cents. How many of them were created from formerly red-brown example?

 

The red-brown surface is substantially more stable than a red surface, particularly a "created" red surface.

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I don't buy expensive old RD wine either. Have had too many turn in the bottle.

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I completely agree with Bill Jones. Older copper with fully "red" surfaces are extremely suspect to me. Obviously, many famous pedigreed red large-cents (and half-cents) exist that have been plated numerous times over the years, and one can view the old photos and see that they have retained their vintage red color. But my personal belief and experience has been that over the last 30 years, a huge explosion of fully red copper coins has appeared on the market - large cents, half cents, Indian cents and early wheat cents. How many of them were created from formerly red-brown example?

 

The red-brown surface is substantially more stable than a red surface, particularly a "created" red surface.

 

How is a red surface created from a red-brown surface?

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How is a red surface created from a red-brown surface?

 

The same way that tarnish is removed from a silver coin. A mild acid solution is used to remove the oxidized metal.

 

As it is with silver coins, the newly exposed metal is more vulnerable to elements. Toning forms a shield that helps to protect the coin. This is one of the reasons why dipped copper coins are more prone to toning and sometimes turning ugly. The chances of that go way up if the piece has not been properly rinsed.

 

It's hard to tell if they have been properly rinsed. That's what happened to those Proof Indian cents that turned to dust in the holder. No doubt they looked good immediately after the dipping was done.

 

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How is a red surface created from a red-brown surface?

 

The same way that tarnish is removed from a silver coin. A mild acid solution is used to remove the oxidized metal.

 

As it is with silver coins, the newly exposed metal is more vulnerable to elements. Toning forms a shield that helps to protect the coin. This is one of the reasons why dipped copper coins are more prone to toning and sometimes turning ugly. The chances of that go way up if the piece has not been properly rinsed.

 

It's hard to tell if they have been properly rinsed. That's what happened to those Proof Indian cents that turned to dust in the holder. No doubt they looked good immediately after the dipping was done.

 

I have a red copper piece that unfortunately has a partial fingerprint on one side. Is this, or is there, a recommended way to remove this? Or is it better to just leave it.

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I would leave that fingerprint alone. It has been my experience that such marks can't be removed without leaving something worse. The fingerprint oil works its way into the surface of the coin. That's why you avoid handling coins and hold them by the edge when you do.

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