Results of 15 Morgans Returned from NGC with restoration
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15 posts in this topic

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I am attempting to acquire a nice set of San Francisco Morgans and a coupe of months ago I sent NGC 15 different San Francisco Morgans for grading, not the early year commons. I spent the past 18 months acquiring them raw from various sales, coin shows, etc and felt all were uncirculated MS 60 or better with the exception of one or two that would be in high AU 50's. Because I thought they would all do well and they were for my personal collection I requested each coin have the NGC conservation. What a disappointment when I received them back, here's what NGC said.

1883 S $1 AU Details, Cleaned
1885 S $1 MS 62
1886 S $1 MS 61
1887 S $1 MS 61
1888 S $1 MS 60
1889 S $1 UNC Details, Cleaned
1890 S $1 AU 58
1891 S $1 MS 60
1894 S $1 UNC, Details, Cleaned
1897 S $1 MS 62
1898 S $1 AU 55
1899 S $1 MS 61
1900 S $1 MS 62
1901 S $1 AU 55
1902 S $1 AU, Details, Rev Damage

I'm not a novice, help enlighten me with questions I have. First question, does anyone see a pattern on the grading and value of the coin? How about that they did conservation on each coin, charged me for it and still labeled it cleaned? I know there can be old tell tale signs but it still I saw nothing whatsoever...... How about the 1902 with reverse damage that clearly looks like bag mark scratches from other coins rubbing on it?

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Sometimes cleaning isn't detected until after a coin has been conserved. However, even if the cleaning was apparent at the outset, if you requested conservation, it probably wouldn’t have been NGC’s place to refuse you.

There is no way to address the 1902 without seeing good images. And even those might not tell the full story.

I see no meaningful pattern with respect to the grading and value of the coins.

Edited by MarkFeld

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14,852 posts

NGC does not use harsh cleaning methods for conservation - they won't leave hairlines or polishing marks. It is entirely possible that these hairlines were hidden by surface residues, and didn't become obvious until after the coin was conserved. 

I don't really know you or your experience level, but it is also entirely possible that you just missed it. Again, I don't know your level of experience with grading, but it's entirely possible that you missed a trace of wear on the AU coins. 

If you have the ability, show us some pictures of your coins, and we might be able to assist you further. 

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Coin "restoration" is an illusion. All that can be done is to remove surface contamination, chemically revert some compounds, and stabilize the surface metal. The work cane be extremely good and improve the appearance of a coin, but it can not be restored to some previous surface (with the exception of removing dirt).

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4 minutes ago, RWB said:

Coin "restoration" is an illusion. All that can be done is to remove surface contamination, chemically revert some compounds, and stabilize the surface metal. The work cane be extremely good and improve the appearance of a coin, but it can not be restored to some previous surface (with the exception of removing dirt).

While the thread title includes the word “restoration”, the service utilized was “Numismatic Conservation Services”.  

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3,708 posts

Too late now but I would have bought these coins already graded in the holder I wanted and at the price corresponding to the grade acceptable to me.  I buy most of my coins ungraded but that's partly because it's the only option.

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Not all coins will benefit from "conservation".  Most morgans that look high grade would probably would not.  It's for coins that have obvious surface issues.  Cloudy fields, "green slime" from being in vinyl, tar type residue, tape residue.  And maybe, an unattractive toning.  Although I wouldn't expect them to completely help with a toning issue.

I bought 6 raw 1820s - 30s British sovereigns.  They had small amounts of a black tar like substance just inside the rim.  Being gold I figured it wasn't tarnish or corrosion.  None were in MS state, I guessed xf - au.  Sent them in for conservation and they came back spotless, which I was happy with.  They didn't all come back graded as high as I hoped.  And two got a "cleaned" grade.  Disappointing, but I trust paid expert more than I trust my own eye.  And I know that nothing NGC did caused them to get the cleaned grade.

On the lower grade, later date ones I didn't pay much over melt.  So it wasn't a big deal.  I was just thrilled that they were all real.  And now if I, or my heirs ever go to sell them, other people can be sure they are real too.  

One thing I wish NGC would do is still assign a number grade to "issue" coins.  If I've got a slightly cleaned coin in AU shape, it would be nice if they would tell me if it's a 50, 53, 55 or 58.

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20 hours ago, Lancek said:

Not all coins will benefit from "conservation".  Most morgans that look high grade would probably would not.  It's for coins that have obvious surface issues.  Cloudy fields, "green slime" from being in vinyl, tar type residue, tape residue.  And maybe, an unattractive toning.  Although I wouldn't expect them to completely help with a toning issue.

I bought 6 raw 1820s - 30s British sovereigns.  They had small amounts of a black tar like substance just inside the rim.  Being gold I figured it wasn't tarnish or corrosion.  None were in MS state, I guessed xf - au.  Sent them in for conservation and they came back spotless, which I was happy with.  They didn't all come back graded as high as I hoped.  And two got a "cleaned" grade.  Disappointing, but I trust paid expert more than I trust my own eye.  And I know that nothing NGC did caused them to get the cleaned grade.

On the lower grade, later date ones I didn't pay much over melt.  So it wasn't a big deal.  I was just thrilled that they were all real.  And now if I, or my heirs ever go to sell them, other people can be sure they are real too.  

One thing I wish NGC would do is still assign a number grade to "issue" coins.  If I've got a slightly cleaned coin in AU shape, it would be nice if they would tell me if it's a 50, 53, 55 or 58.

It's hard to understand how there can be a market grade on any cleaned coin.

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7 minutes ago, numisport said:

It's hard to understand how there can be a market grade on any cleaned coin.

If a coin can be graded “AU details, cleaned”, it can also be graded “AU53 details, cleaned” or “AU55 details, cleaned”, etc. I have seen ANACS details-grade coins with specific numerical grades.

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19 posts

Agreed MarkFeld! A numerical grade should be given on cleaned coins rather than just AU or UNC cleaned.

Thank you everyone for your comments.

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With the coins I have owned, NGC will also "net grade" a "details" coin.  I'd rather they just assign the numerical grade based upon the wear and add a description of the problem.

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The fact that the OP's highest grade is a 62 tells me he does not know what nicer coins look like, and is missing some level of experience. In this day and age, a 62 is a pretty rough looking "hombre".

Edited by VKurtB

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3 hours ago, VKurtB said:

The fact that the OP's highest grade is a 62 tells me he does not know what nicer coins look like, and is missing some level of experience. In this day and age, a 62 is a pretty rough looking "hombre".

You may be correct, however I recently sent in two Morgans for grading both which also received a 62 grade.  And neither one was "rough looking", and yes I know the difference as I have many in my collection that grade MS65 and better.

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Inconsistency, absence of clear objective criteria, and lots of "opinion" prevent meaningful coin "grading."

Just an opinion.

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