YoloBagels's Blog

23 Nov 2019

Details coins | A blessing to collectors on a budget

Coins | YoloBagels

Hello everyone.
On my last blog I posted about the draped bust quarter, picturing the reverse of a holed example. Several members replied speaking of their details coins/draped bust type coins, so I decided it would be a great idea to talk about details-graded coins in my next blog. So first we must ask, what is a details coin? In numismatics, a details coin is a strike of coinage that is seen by collectors as having a major flaw or damage that keeps it from receiving a numerical grade-- instead receiving a grade title followed by "details"(i.e. XF details, VF details). This damage usually includes but is not limited to corrosion, holing and sometimes plugging, deep rim nicks, scratches, improper cleaning, polishing, bent coins, PVC/chemical damage, tooling, graffiti, and much more.
A newer collector might ask "Well why would a collector buy a coin with a hole or scratch when they can buy a coin without any damage?" Well, for the same reason you would buy an 1889 CC Morgan dollar in VG-08 as opposed to MS-66; money. While some numismatists may walk through a coin show and purchase any coin that they may like or need for a set, many collectors such as YN's and retired numismatists do not have thousands of dollars to drop on a single coin. Because damaged coins are usually sold for a significantly lower price, it means that a lower-budget collector might be able to own a dream coin or a type coin that usually sells for hundreds or thousands even in lower grades.
For example, one of my favorite coins is a PCGS graded 1879-S Morgan dollar with deep-mirror prooflike fields. (Unfortunately?) There is a scratch across miss Liberties cheek, causing it to grade as PCGS UNC Details. While I bought the coin at the price of $60, a DMPL-graded Morgan dollar of the same date and MM would sell for $650 in MS-64 according to [1]PCGS Coinfacts, meaning that because of a small scratch, the price of the silver dollar was dragged down by severely from its estimated value. Another one of my favorite detailed coin buys is my 1854 O arrows seated liberty half dime. I purchased it while on vacation at Myrtle Beach, SC. The coin itself is small and would be around AU-53 if it were not for the hole on liberties head. I purchased it somewhere around the price of $13, and can sell for $148 in non-details grades according to [2]usacoinbook.com
Please leave anything related to this blog in the comments. I love seeing replies and it would be thrilling to see what other collectors have acquired. It is magnificent that collectors on a budget can purchase such significant pieces and buy coins that we never could see ourselves owning anytime soon.


I. R. Bama

Level 5

I've never bought a coin that was holed but inherited a few. Yes they do detract, but I am like minded and would rather have a coin with some problems than not have a coin that would otherwise be inaccessable to me.


Level 6

I have a details $1 gold coin. I love this coin and I don't mind that it is graded as "Details". Especially if that's what you can afford at the time. Great blog!


Level 2

Interesting conversation, thanks to Yolo and the blog participants - A 'Details' designated coin, in a certification holder, can often be even nicer, with more eye appeal, than a similar, 'straight-grade' coin and yes, the bargain prices are awesome! After all, the coin IS as real as it's 'brothers and sisters and has been proven, by the certification company, to be GENUINE, which is an important factor. Also, a lot of the problems which keep certified coins from getting a 'real' grade, are not so evident. A scratch, or graffiti can be hidden in the coin's design, or underneath dark toning. many cleaning and artificial toning issues are very difficult to tell apart from straight-grade coins. So, I find, the less obvious the flaws, the more pleasing the coin. A few years ago, I found a very nice 1806 Draped Bust Quarter, which was a rare, (Browning 7) variety. It had a big ol' hole, right through the bust. I purchased the coin at a low price, sent it to Stockton Coin Restoration Service, in Kentucky, then to NGC for certification. The quarter came back, 'Good 6 Details' and I was very happy with it. I was able to have a great, rare coin and Mr. Stockton, by preserving the coin, was able to 'rescue' it for future numismatists. It was a win-win all around! :-) Rhode Island collector


Level 4

I got an PF(70) quarter from the YN auction. It is easier to find (70) graded coins in proof grades however.


Level 4

the best detailed coin i own is a MS68 1933 wheat penny


Level 5

I own a very scarce so-called dollar and a Bavarian 2-Taler that are details graded improperly cleaned. I got them because they were bargains. Now the grandaddy of all is an 1889-S Double Eagle from the Saddle Ridge Hoard that without the improper cleaning is easily MS-65 to 66. I figured that those grades were at least $15,000.00 more than what I paid. I don't know who did the cleaning but that cleaning was really expensive but in a good way because it was the only way I could own a Saddle Ridge coin.


Level 4

The pictures of Saddle ridge hoard are insane. Must be very neat to actually have a coin from there.


Level 5

Many of the coins in my collection have details grades. For some coins, you have to purchase what you can afford when you see it. If you pass on a coin it could be months, years or longer before you see another one in your price range.


Level 6

The best detailed coin I have is an 1864 MS60 2 cent pieced, cleaned.


Level 7

I received a coin back from NGC. In a body bag I call it. Plastic bag and it said genuine. What's that it's real? I knew it was real. So I fought back.. Called the seller who bought it from a Nobels auction. Very respectful. I knew it was one of four made. So for three months we went from New Zealand to Portland to Britain who found it. Faxed it to me I sent it to NGC. Three months.It was over. I was sick over this. No explanation. It was slabed MS 64 Bronte . That's when I started saying never give up. Sometimes you have to fight back. There is nothing wrong buying a coin that says details.. And we buy what we like.I have about three of them. They look good to me. Thanks. Great blog. Mike


Level 4

Good on you for being persistent. Alot of people would have tried to return it or just take the damage. Thanks for the reply.

I find colonials with a Details grade are sometimes the best bargains around. As an example I bought a Washington Piece in AU Details with the notation of "reverse graffiti" on the slab. Needless to say, I'm still trying to find the graffiti mentioned. I also find that issues struck in low relief (such as the 1926 Sesquicentennial half dollar) are a bargain in AU Details grades. I'll gladly buy a small scratch as long as the near-mint luster is there.


Level 6

My details best is a gold $ 1 coin. Detail AU. No way I could afford it as a full AU whatever. Some people look down on such things but not me. We all do the best we can. I have seen slabbed coins from the Newman Collection that are details.Maybe someday I can upgrade to a nice AU and sell this so someone else that will enjoy it. By the way, there are people that collect holed coins.. Thanks.

It's Mokie

Level 6

My 1916-D Mercury Dime is detailed grade for the exact reason you cited, Lower Cost. At the same time, just like my holed 1803 Bust Dollar, my Dime has also had honest wear and a long life supporting our economy. I appreciate it as well as other Details graded coins in my collection, including all my Chopmarked Coins that are historically significant but damaged and therefore Details graded. Thanks for your insightful blog, Details grades are just as worthy in my collection as any other coin.

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