Altered Surface
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I sent a Seated Dollar in twice to see if it was real. Both times it came back as Altered Surface. I never could get NGC to tell me if it were real or not. I spent a lot of money for no answers.

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Altered Surface means that the coin is genuine, but it has been cleaned/polished/tooled/puttied/altered in some way that it cannot be slabbed as a problem-free coin. 

If it were counterfeit, it would come back in a plastic flip with a label that said "Not Genuine." 

Post pictures of your coin, and we may be able to tell you what was done to it. Depending on the date and remaining detail, this coin may still have some value. 

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Was the Seated dollar returned to you entombed in a plastic slab with the label stating 'Details' ?

If so, you should have done some research to unveil exactly what you paid for the first time.

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You DID get an answer. You just need to do a little research to understand it...

https://www.ngccoin.com/coin-grading/coins-we-grade/not-encapsulated/

 

Quote

“Altered Surfaces,” indicates a coin whose surfaces have been deceptively altered (for example, a “Mint State” coin is made to resemble a “Proof” coin). Coins with altered surface will be returned raw and the full grading fee will apply.

 

 

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Whether or not the coin was encapsulated really is the key here. If NGC declared Altered Surfaces and still slabbed the coin with a details grade, it is a genuine coin. It is also possible for NGC to decide that Altered Surfaces make it impossible to confirm authenticity, and to send the coin back to you a so-called "body-bag."

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The coin was returned to me in a plastic flip that said Altered Surface can not encapsulate. I emailed and ask if it were real because I bought it on ebay and wanted to return it if it were not. I was told by NGC that it might not be real, and to send it back in and ask for a grade. They returned it again saying the same thing Altered Surface. I emailed them again but they only offered me a $30 credit to my account. I never did find out if it was real and the seller won't return my emails. I have seen a lot of counterfeit Seated Dollars on ebay, and I guess that I should only buy the ones that are already slabed.

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So you asked an expert and they can't be certain it's genuine. That's pretty well your answer.

It's unfortunate that CS didn't realize you had already submitted the coin and received the answer after the 1st submission. I think the $30 should have been returned vs. credited to your account (unless you are a frequent submitter).

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Seated coinage has been a recent target of modern counterfeiters.  The fakes are amazing and at least one that fooled the TPGS's was published in Coin World.  I don't think this is the case with your coin BUT: 

Sometimes the surfaces of a coin are so messed up that there is no way ANYONE can be 100% sure of the coin's authenticity.  This did not happen very often in the past when counterfeits were not very deceptive.  A coin such as yours should either be returned for a refund or sent to another grading service that will slab and grade coins with altered surfaces.  

NGC has given you a credit as they did not give you an opinion on the coin's authenticity.  IMO, that is very good customer service. 

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