1901S Barber 25c - Altered Surface?
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Hello Everyone,

I am hoping to gain some insight into a recently NGC-graded 1901S Barber 25c.  As shown below, this came back in a "body bag" in a plastic flip holder with a label saying "***NOT ENCAPSULATED*** ALTERED SURFACE".  My primary question is whether this means that NGC has determined this as genuine or not.  While the bottom of the label says "Guaranteed Authentic Only", does this mean that it is genuine, but not able to be slabbed - or does the statement "Not Encapsulated" negate the guarantee at the bottom?

I have included some other pictures below of the obverse and reverse to show more detail.  Any comments on what may have caused this to be considered altered surface would be greatly appreciated.  Any other comments about the condition/details of the coin would also be appreciated.  Note that the scratches on the coin obverse in the picture below appear exaggerated as compared to how they look through a magnifying loupe under the same light.

I am also looking for any suggestions on what the next step may be for this piece.  One possibility would be to send it to PCGS to see what they think.  Another would be to send it to NGC through NCS to see if there is a way to conserve the surface to make it gradable.  Personally, I see no way to conserve the surface in order to improve coin without damaging it.

For those not familiar with this coin, assuming it would receive a VG grade, it could be worth $5,000-$7,000+.  I am very interested in knowing anyone's comments on this piece.  Any information regarding genuineness, altered surface characteristics, grade, conservation possibilities, value, or future grading options would all be greatly appreciated.

Thank You. - SEE PICTURES BELOW

1901SNGCAltSurOverview.thumb.jpg.5bcd7f2e53eef6a1d1084520540f3616.jpg 1901SNGCAltSurBagView.thumb.jpg.363c4645a2f2b12711522a4d5a16df1d.jpg

1901SNGCAltSurLooseObv.thumb.jpg.0e63a1e182435bcc971bdd94a48f508b.jpg1901SNGCAltSurLooseRev.thumb.jpg.786993c9777209b053aebdd60ebf7cff.jpg

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I would call NGC,  provide the invoice number and ask them. In the meantime, my guess is that perhaps a box was inadvertently checked on the submission invoice, requesting that the coin not be encapsulated unless it received a straight/problem-feee grade.

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I would think that the label is just a way to give information to the submitter rather than any type of certification as it means nothing as displayed. The reason: because the coin can be removed and you could literally just put a washer in there.

Good luck

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9 hours ago, MarkFeld said:

In the meantime, my guess is that perhaps a box was inadvertently checked on the submission invoice, requesting that the coin not be encapsulated unless it received a straight/problem-feee grade.

MarkFeld,

Thank you for your reply.  I had several other coins in this submission that came back as slabbed, problem-free, numerically graded as well as others that came back slabbed in details holders with "Improperly Cleaned", "Repaired, Rim Filed", "Whizzed", etc.  In this same submission I had a 1909S Indian 1c that came back the same way as the 1901S Barber 25c, but with a label that says "***NOT ENCAPSULATED*** ALTERED MINTMARK".  The 1909S Indian 1c is packaged the same way with a label that says "Guaranteed Authentic Only", which doesn't make any sense if they consider the mintmark to be altered.

According to other sites I have reviewed, the "Altered Surface" designation is a pretty vague designation.  Some believe that this means NGC is not saying whether the piece is genuine or not.  Others state that the surface may be altered in such a way that it is impossible to know precisely whether or not the coin is genuine or not.  I can understand how a grading company wouldn't want to stick their neck out and say that a piece is genuine and find out later that it isn't.  I just wish they would have provided more details on what form of "Altered Surface" they are referring to.

As before, thank you for the reply.  Any other information regarding genuineness, altered surface characteristics, grade, conservation possibilities, value, or future grading options would again all be greatly appreciated.

Edited by S.J.H.

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42 minutes ago, S.J.H. said:

WoodenJefferson,

Thank you for your reply.  I had several other coins in this submission that came back as slabbed, problem-free, numerically graded as well as others that came back slabbed in details holders with "Improperly Cleaned", "Repaired, Rim Filed", "Whizzed", etc.  In this same submission I had a 1909S Indian 1c that came back the same way as the 1901S Barber 25c, but with a label that says "***NOT ENCAPSULATED*** ALTERED MINTMARK".  The 1909S Indian 1c is packaged the same way with a label that says "Guaranteed Authentic Only", which doesn't make any sense if they consider the mintmark to be altered.

According to other sites I have reviewed, the "Altered Surface" designation is a pretty vague designation.  Some believe that this means NGC is not saying whether the piece is genuine or not.  Others state that the surface may be altered in such a way that it is impossible to know precisely whether or not the coin is genuine or not.  I can understand how a grading company wouldn't want to stick their neck out and say that a piece is genuine and find out later that it isn't.  I just wish they would have provided more details on what form of "Altered Surface" they are referring to.

As before, thank you for the reply.  Any other information regarding genuineness, altered surface characteristics, grade, conservation possibilities, value, or future grading options would again all be greatly appreciated.

You quoted me (Mark Feld), not Woodenjefferson. 

My my guess was apparently, incorrect, and as I suggested previously, I would call NGC and ask them.

 

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“Altered mint mark” indicates that the “S” on the reverse was added somehow, which is really a form of counterfeiting. Such an item cannot be put in a “genuine” holder because it is not a 1909-S Indian cent. It is probably a 1909 Indian cent with an added mint mark.

The 1901-S quarter looks genuine to me, but it has been cleaned with some scratches and hairlines evident. As such it should have gone into a slab if NGC decided that it was genuine. Give the high price for this issue, even a problem piece is worth the cost of grading. As the others have said, I'd talk to NGC about it.

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I've had a couple of significant coins come back from NGC as an 'altered surface'. Mind you, the 'surfaces'appeared just fine to me. NGC did not encapsulate them. The first time this happened, I called them. It was explained to me that when a coin has an 'altered surface', it can't be certified. Even after speaking with them, I came away not knowing what an 'altered surface' is.

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6 hours ago, MarkFeld said:

You quoted me (Mark Feld), not Woodenjefferson. 

My my guess was apparently, incorrect, and as I suggested previously, I would call NGC and ask them.

 

Sorry about that Mark.  I edited my post above to properly cite you.  I believe I will contact NGC just to see what they have to say though.

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2 hours ago, thebeav said:

I've had a couple of significant coins come back from NGC as an 'altered surface'. Mind you, the 'surfaces'appeared just fine to me. NGC did not encapsulate them. The first time this happened, I called them. It was explained to me that when a coin has an 'altered surface', it can't be certified. Even after speaking with them, I came away not knowing what an 'altered surface' is.

the beav,

Thank you for your reply.  In NGC's "Understanding NGC Details Grading" article, there is a section labelled as "Coins NGC Will Not Grade at All".  Within that category that include items such as Added Mintmark, Altered Date, Not Genuine, Questionable Authenticity, and Altered Surface.  Alongside the term 'Altered Mintmark', they say the following:

     "ALTERED SURFACE is a general term used to describe a coin whose surfaces are clearly not natural but whose exact treatment is uncertain. Among the  deceptive processes that fall into this category is the application of pastes to either hide contact marks or to simulate Cameo frosting or Prooflike brilliance."

I dislike the ambiguity of the above definition, where it seems to be more of a 'catch all' designation when there is uncertainty of coming to a precise decision on an item.

Since coins with an altered surface will apparently not be encapsulated by NGC, I see three possible next steps:

  1. Resubmit the coin back to NGC and see if it still comes back as altered surface or ends up in a regular details holder.
  2. Use NCS to see if they can conserve the surface somehow and then go to NGC to see how they grade it.
  3. Go through PCGS and see if they will slab it as PCGS Genuine Altered Surface.

What do all of you think about this?  Any other information regarding genuineness, altered surface characteristics, grade, conservation possibilities, value, or future grading options would again all be greatly appreciated.

Thank You.

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7 hours ago, S.J.H. said:

the beav,

Thank you for your reply.  In NGC's "Understanding NGC Details Grading" article, there is a section labelled as "Coins NGC Will Not Grade at All".  Within that category that include items such as Added Mintmark, Altered Date, Not Genuine, Questionable Authenticity, and Altered Surface.  Alongside the term 'Altered Mintmark', they say the following:

     "ALTERED SURFACE is a general term used to describe a coin whose surfaces are clearly not natural but whose exact treatment is uncertain. Among the  deceptive processes that fall into this category is the application of pastes to either hide contact marks or to simulate Cameo frosting or Prooflike brilliance."

I dislike the ambiguity of the above definition, where it seems to be more of a 'catch all' designation when there is uncertainty of coming to a precise decision on an item.

Since coins with an altered surface will apparently not be encapsulated by NGC, I see three possible next steps:

  1. Resubmit the coin back to NGC and see if it still comes back as altered surface or ends up in a regular details holder.
  2. Use NCS to see if they can conserve the surface somehow and then go to NGC to see how they grade it.
  3. Go through PCGS and see if they will slab it as PCGS Genuine Altered Surface.

What do all of you think about this?  Any other information regarding genuineness, altered surface characteristics, grade, conservation possibilities, value, or future grading options would again all be greatly appreciated.

Thank You.

I think the odds of success via the first two steps are extremely low and would try PCGS before either of them.

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Quote

Thank you for your reply.  In NGC's "Understanding NGC Details Grading" article, there is a section labelled as "Coins NGC Will Not Grade at All".  Within that category that include items such as Added Mintmark, Altered Date, Not Genuine, Questionable Authenticity, and Altered Surface.  Alongside the term 'Altered Mintmark', they say the following:

I understand the NGC policy on all of these problem categories completely except "Altered Surface." Perhaps this is due to the fact that some counterfiet coins with altered surfaces found their way into PCGS and NGC holders. The counterfeiters used the cleaning to remove some of the production problems with their product.

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4 hours ago, BillJones said:

I understand the NGC policy on all of these problem categories completely except "Altered Surface." Perhaps this is due to the fact that some counterfiet coins with altered surfaces found their way into PCGS and NGC holders. The counterfeiters used the cleaning to remove some of the production problems with their product.

Is there a library that can be looked at for educating ourselves Bill...

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If I knew how to post more than one picture here in a post. I would try to show you the 1803 half cent that fooled NGC. I don't know how to post more than one picture per post, so I won't try.

The coin in question was marked for "Improperly cleaned." The give away was that the variety is known for a weak spot on the reverese in the word "HALF." This one was strong in that area, which made it suspect. You really had to be a half cent collector to know that. Otherwise the coin looked to have been cleaned with a bit of artificial toning. The cleaning had been done to remove defects in the surface of the counterfeit.

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