Fascinating 1933-S Walking Liberty half dollar
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https://forums.collectors.com/discussion/995161/raw-1933-s-half-just-sold-for-10k-in-czech-auction

The strike is phenomenal. And contrary to a number of posters on the PCGS forum, I am not convinced that the coin is a counterfeit. Apparently, neither were (at least) the top two bidders, who supposedly bid thousands of dollars on the coin. I have to believe that no unknowledgebale bidders would bid anywhere near that high on an uncertified example, which was lacking any hype in its catalog description. 

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Juiced image ? Relief too high. Maybe not, Coin Explorer shows PCGS AU details coin sold recently with that strike and color.

Edited by numisport

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Mark, I'm not convinced that piece is legit. It has either been re-engraved, or is a straight up counterfeit. But either way, it's off. 

There is no way any reasonable or sane person is going to pay $10k for an AU. That's approaching 66+ money. 

More likely, you had someone who was buying it to get it off the market, and they'll get a full refund from the auction house once they prove it's bad. 

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6 minutes ago, physics-fan3.14 said:

Mark, I'm not convinced that piece is legit. It has either been re-engraved, or is a straight up counterfeit. But either way, it's off. 

There is no way any reasonable or sane person is going to pay $10k for an AU. That's approaching 66+ money. 

More likely, you had someone who was buying it to get it off the market, and they'll get a full refund from the auction house once they prove it's bad. 

Jason, your theory for the astronomical price realized makes sense. I’m not saying I’m convinced that the coin is genuine, only that I’m not convinced it isn’t.

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I would say that the odds that it is some kind of specimen strike are less than 1%, while the odds that it is counterfeit are probably north of 75%. Your heuristic for the day.

PS Mark I'm sorry we never got to have that lunch. I hope Heritage is treating you well.

Kind regards,

George

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The strike on both sides is TOO good for a business struck Walker...something is wrong or right with my gut reaction.

 

 

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I used to know one guy that went around to the mostly small shows that I have done for years, and all he ever bought was 1933-S halves, any grade, as long as the price was reasonable-to-not-too-highish. He wouldn't pay moon money. He told me he had hundreds of them, it was just his thing.

Kind regards,

George
https://VDBCoins.com

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I don't have an answer with respect to this particular coin, other than that the strike is too bold to be a normal production piece. Here are my thoughts on the 1933-S halves in general: https://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/5096/USA-Coin-Album/

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Having looked at the images multiple times, I am of the opinion that the coin is genuine. And quite possibly, specially made.

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After the unique overlay, I'm going to keep an open mind. What if it turns out to be the size of a drink coaster?

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10 minutes ago, WoodenJefferson said:

After the unique overlay, I'm going to keep an open mind. What if it turns out to be the size of a drink coaster?

Do you really think that the bidders who bid thousands of dollars, would have done so, had the piece been the size of a coaster?

Edited by MarkFeld

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1 hour ago, MarkFeld said:

Do you really think that the bidders who bid thousands of dollars, would have done so, had the piece been the size of a coaster?

Stranger things have happened, I have no idea how this Czech auction company operates, lot viewing etc. so it's anybody's guess...that's how far fetched we can get by just looking at images.

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4 hours ago, MarkFeld said:

Having looked at the images multiple times, I am of the opinion that the coin is genuine. And quite possibly, specially made.

Would you have paid that much for it, either as a well struck minted-for-commerce coin, or as a special strike or presentation piece?

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7 minutes ago, Just Bob said:

Would you have paid that much for it, either as a well struck minted-for-commerce coin, or as a special strike or presentation piece?

In order to be willing to pay that price, I would need to be convinced the coin was an MS67 or better circulation strike or a presentation piece. Based on the images, it doesn't appear to be the former. And I believe that without documentation, it would (and should) be extremely difficult to get the coin attributed as the latter. Not being a big risk taker, it's highly unlikely I would have been willing to pay the required amount to win it.

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I would believe it was real if it was a special made or pattern piece. Other than that, it just looks strange to me. 

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9 hours ago, RWB said:

Counterfeit.

Not leaning one way or the other but curious, if the 1933-S Walker depicted is 'counterfeit' how did the counterfeiters produce a Walking Liberty half dollar in such detail, why even better than what a US Mint facility could produce?

Edited by WoodenJefferson
I wasn't curios, I was curious

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On 3/1/2018 at 6:37 AM, WoodenJefferson said:

Not leaning one way or the other but curious, if the 1933-S Walker depicted is 'counterfeit' how did the counterfeiters produce a Walking Liberty half dollar in such detail, why even better than what a US Mint facility could produce?

When making counterfeits, they often go back over the die and strengthen the details by hand. 

Edited by physics-fan3.14

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On 2/27/2018 at 9:09 AM, MarkFeld said:

And quite possibly, specially made.

Any time you engage in speculation of that sort, you have to ask: why would it have been made? And where is the evidence? Is there a history of random pieces being "specially made" (especially in the middle of a series)? And, finally, what benefit does starting rumors and speculation like that give? 

Let's use Occam's Razor, and the solution very quickly becomes clear: a good counterfeit. 

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I was opining on the appearance of the coin and the price it reportedly realized. Perhaps that is of no benefit to anyone, but I don’t think it is of any harm, either.

And I don’t think the circumstances make for a good case of Ocam’s razor. I believe the coin is genuine, as do a number of highly knowledgeable numismatics who have viewed the image and spoken. Ditto for at least two bidders who were willing to bid thousands of dollars for the coin.

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If this Walker gets into private hands and never submitted, we may never know exactly what you have here. If it were to one day re-appear at this auction house then you can mostly believe the bidder found out the truth and returned the coin.

 

Note: which brings up a question, if this Walker were submitted to NGC in Europe (Munich, Germany) are the graders their proficient with US coinage as in the states?

Edited by WoodenJefferson

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18 minutes ago, MarkFeld said:

I was opining on the appearance of the coin and the price it reportedly realized. Perhaps that is of no benefit to anyone, but I don’t think it is of any harm, either.

And I don’t think the circumstances make for a good case of Ocam’s razor. I believe the coin is genuine, as do a number of highly knowledgeable numismatics who have viewed the image and spoken. Ditto for at least two bidders who were willing to bid thousands of dollars for the coin.

I don't grade from images, as I have stated many times, because I don't know how. But, that is not important. The logic posit you present is a bit illogical. Considering the supposed "value" of this piece, and the potential numismatic importance....whether a special strike or a superlative example that resets (possibly) how all high end pieces for the type are evaluated..... as presently determined by the auction price, I would expect any knowledgeable numismatist to want to examine the coin in hand, weigh the coin, and compare it to known high end pieces, and THEN make a pronouncement.

I appreciate the knowledge and experience of the individuals that have stated the coin is genuine, BASED ON IMAGES ONLY. That is not a bar that should be used, though, in a determination.

What happens when 3, or 10, or 20 similar pieces emerge? 

I recall a very special piece we both examined in hand,and declared an opinion of and a value of same, and it was resubmitted 2 grades and 65% value higher. I may not have been an expert, but.....declaring a piece genuine from an image is a heck of a lot different that declaring the value explanation the coin brought at auction. We don't know the extent of knowledge of the individuals that bid on it and brought the piece to the final impressive price, and we don't know if the bidders are in possession of like pieces, whether genuine of not. What I don't expect is knowledgeable bidders determining the piece is worth the value and I don't expect the piece to be rare in this day and age, because I don't expect a seasoned numismatic auction house to have submitted it for grading if it is genuine and special. Setting aside the auction venue (and the price the coin started from), and setting aside the other pieces offered in the auction venue, why would knowledgeable numismatists drive it to the value height, without knowing the coin was submitted to a TPG or 4PG prior?

If I want to buy a 63 split window original production Corvette with low miles and factory fresh paint and interior, I am not going to do so from an image. I would also not expect a knowledgeable numismatist with a sterling reputation to declare the piece genuine from an image.

That is illogical logic, especially when OP money is on the table. less indiscretion has toppled many knowledgeable numismatists.

Something is very wrong here, and where there is illogical logic, there will behealthy skepticism (or should be).

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2 hours ago, Mr.Mcknowitall said:

I don't grade from images, as I have stated many times, because I don't know how. But, that is not important. The logic posit you present is a bit illogical. Considering the supposed "value" of this piece, and the potential numismatic importance....whether a special strike or a superlative example that resets (possibly) how all high end pieces for the type are evaluated..... as presently determined by the auction price, I would expect any knowledgeable numismatist to want to examine the coin in hand, weigh the coin, and compare it to known high end pieces, and THEN make a pronouncement.

I appreciate the knowledge and experience of the individuals that have stated the coin is genuine, BASED ON IMAGES ONLY. That is not a bar that should be used, though, in a determination.

What happens when 3, or 10, or 20 similar pieces emerge? 

I recall a very special piece we both examined in hand,and declared an opinion of and a value of same, and it was resubmitted 2 grades and 65% value higher. I may not have been an expert, but.....declaring a piece genuine from an image is a heck of a lot different that declaring the value explanation the coin brought at auction. We don't know the extent of knowledge of the individuals that bid on it and brought the piece to the final impressive price, and we don't know if the bidders are in possession of like pieces, whether genuine of not. What I don't expect is knowledgeable bidders determining the piece is worth the value and I don't expect the piece to be rare in this day and age, because I don't expect a seasoned numismatic auction house to have submitted it for grading if it is genuine and special. Setting aside the auction venue (and the price the coin started from), and setting aside the other pieces offered in the auction venue, why would knowledgeable numismatists drive it to the value height, without knowing the coin was submitted to a TPG or 4PG prior?

If I want to buy a 63 split window original production Corvette with low miles and factory fresh paint and interior, I am not going to do so from an image. I would also not expect a knowledgeable numismatist with a sterling reputation to declare the piece genuine from an image.

That is illogical logic, especially when OP money is on the table. less indiscretion has toppled many knowledgeable numismatists.

Something is very wrong here, and where there is illogical logic, there will behealthy skepticism (or should be).

I would love to be able to examine the coin in hand, etc., but I don’t have that luxury. I have not pronounced it as genuine, but rather, opined that it looks genuine to me, based on the images. To me, at least, those are two very different things.

The coin had already sold in a public auction before I posted about it here, so the bidders could not have been relying on my opinion (or pronouncement, had I made one). I do not recommend and as far as I know, have not recommended, that people buy coins, based solely on images. 

I am admittedly speculating on the (strong) knowledge level of the top two or more bidders. However, I don’t see a reason that unknowledgeable bidders would bid anywhere near that amount on an uncertified coin, with its appearance, especially when catalogued with little or no fanfare. On the other hand, knowledgeable bidders frequently bid certified, as well as uncertified coins to very high levels, based on their in-hand assessments. They often do so, regardless of the grade on the holder or lack of third party grading. They knowingly engage in financial risk, attempting to calculate the potential downside and upside, as well as the odds of each.

 

 

 

 

Edited by MarkFeld

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1 hour ago, MarkFeld said:

I would love to be able to examine the coin i, etc., b I don’t havet nat luxury. MyI have not prono iunced it as genuine, but rather, opined that it looks genuine to me, based on the images. To me, at least, those are two very different things.

The coin had already sold in a public auction before I posted about it here, so the bidders could not have been relying on mynion (or pronouncement, hadmany I made one). I do not recommend and as far as I know, have not recommended, that people buy coins, based solely on images. 

I am admittedly speculating on the (strong) knowledge level of the top two or more bidders. However, I don’t see a reason that unknowledgeable bidders would bid anywhere near that amount on an uncertified coin, with its appearance, especially when catalogued with little or no fanfare. On the other hand, knowledgeable bidders frequently bid certified, as well as uncertified coins to very high levels, based on their in-hand assessments. They often do so, regardless of the grade on the holder or lack of third party grading. They knowingly engage in financial risk, attempting to calculate the potential downside and upside, as well as the odds of each.

 

 

 

 

I think you interpreted a personal admonishment directed toward you. It wasn't. Your opinoion though  Is read by many of your observations as a pronouncement of sorts on this type of issue as a declaration. I realize you don'tmean it to be. You would concede you have opined toward the genuine side, I am sure. My Position is that such an opinion from a very respected numismatist on a coin of this type is best offered after physical examination, and that it is logical to do so, especially when a logic posit is required. I suspect you understand my reasoning and my questioning the illogical logic of an expert opinion based on an image. An opine by someone of your stature is considered a pronouncement by many.

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On 3/1/2018 at 6:37 AM, WoodenJefferson said:

Not leaning one way or the other but curious, if the 1933-S Walker depicted is 'counterfeit' how did the counterfeiters produce a Walking Liberty half dollar in such detail, why even better than what a US Mint facility could produce?

It appears to be made from a false copy die that was manually "improved." The original models did not have the sharpness of detail nor the presence of certain details that seem to be on the fake coin. A coin cannot be struck that is better than the dies and no WL half dies were ever like those pictured.

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