View Full Version : EAC Grading Guidelines
02-18-2012, 12:34 AM
Can EAC as a group come up with standards for each grading level by copper denomination/type? I know there are ANS, Photograde, and PCGS guides to grade/detail/wear areas, but each one is different. Why can't we take ownership of this and come up with the industry standard. We can divide it up into types with a few members for each to coordinate, put it all together and send it out to the membership to finalize and vote on.
02-19-2012, 04:26 AM
There was an EAC grading committee set up a number of years ago in which a group of respected members would render an opinion on a coin. As I recall, there was next to no interest.
For sharpness grades, I don't think you can beat the PCGS grading guide that is available for free on the Internet and as apps for the iPhone and iPad. The photos are generally excellent, and I don't think EACers would dispute the grades assigned to the coins. Now, if PCGS would always grade according to its published standards, we'd probably all be happy...
The difficulty comes with coins that aren't necessarily nice for the grade. Experienced members will often disagree on net grades. The net grading of problem coins is essentially a price negotiation. Different problems bother different people to different extents. The same nick may look inconsequential to one person and like Grand Canyon to another. Ugliness - like beauty - is in the eye of the beholder.
02-19-2012, 11:54 AM
For late date coins Gary Hahn has a whole section dedicated to EAC grading:
03-02-2012, 01:13 AM
Why not put together your own grading set and have it validated by respected authorities in the copper community.
What I've done (with the assistance of Shawn Yancy and Chris McCawley) is to put together a grading set of classic head half cents. So far, my set includes grades of G-5, F-12, F-15, VF-20, VF-25, VF-20, VF-30, VF-35, EF-40, EF-45, AU-50, AU-55 & AU-58. To date, it has cost me $2,587. I've had other half cent experts look at the set and they have agreed with the grades. What is nice is that it is much easier to compare to actually coins than photographs or short (2 -3 sentence) descriptions (usually of just the obverse).
I asked Shawn and Chris to put the (F-12 to AU-50) set together to teach me how to grade half cents (my area of interest). I've subsequently added G-5, AU-55 & AU-58 coins from other sources. I eventually would like to extend the grading sets to include braided hair, draped bust (and if I can afford it) liberty cap half cents. Using CQR pricing, I estimate it should cost about $2,520 to put together a Braided Hair grading set ranging from AG-3 to AU-55. A Classic Head set (AG-3 to AU-55) should cost $2,855; a Draped Bust set should be $3,310 and the Liberty Cap set an astounding $42,100!
Oddly enough, the hardest coins to find are actually clean no-problem low grade Braided Hair and Classic Head half cents. Doug Bird (who found the G-5 Classic Head for me) has suggested that I find some F-12 examples and used them as pocket pieces for a few years to lower their conditions to VG, G and eventually, AG.
While I'm not suggesting that everyone go out and put together their own large cent grading sets (very pricey for 18th century types), you might consider it for some of the later date types. You'll find it very instructive and it does make it hard for others to say you're way off base, especially if you've had someone like Bob Grellman verify your assumed grades.
Absent that, I would like to see a set of high grade color photographs for each copper type using EAC standards eventually appear in Penny-Wise.
03-02-2012, 03:30 AM
A brilliant approach and reminds me of the idea of a "spin" I had on it for ages, but never mentioned.
Although it may be impossible to improbable. What about approaching some place like the Gallery Mint (are they out of business? - I'm SO out of the loop on somethings that I shouldn't be) to query them about producing affordable grading/color sets? I would imagine that decent replicators would have the knowledge easily on color, and seems to my mind that sending a sharp strike through a vibratory tumbler with the proper media for X hours could reduce sharp detail to approximate a number grade given the time in the unit.
Opining? Let's just make sure not to outsource this sort of work. Could be a great way to be able to salvage the production costs of 2nds.
03-02-2012, 01:10 PM
In one sense, that is a great idea. I would want to have COPY and perhaps the numerical grade stamped in both obverse and reverse fields. I would also leave off the date or put the date as 1700 for Liberty Caps, Chain and Wreaths and 1899 for the other types.
On the other hand, there will be those who object to any copies/counterfeits/etc. that could get into circulation.
Another way to do it (but twice as expensive) is to do uniface samples which would ensure that no sane collector would think that the coin was real (my preference). I would also make sure that EAC retains the dies.
I believe Gallery Mint is no longer in business. Royal Oak Mint might be another source, but I'me really not up on things like this.
03-02-2012, 09:32 PM
I like the idea of the grading sets appearing in pennywise and then some pocket ref. book. Could we each submit pictures of what we think are coin standards for the type/grade, circulate these around and then group them as a set. This would save the cost of one person buying the whole shabang. I wouldn't be adverse to sending any of my coins that were chosen, to a person who will do the photography, keeping the variables the same.
I'm not in favor of the copy scenario, and yes to my knowledge the gallery mint is OOB.
03-03-2012, 01:42 AM
Fagaly, if I might take off with some of your refinements to my idea...
I love your ideas of the mis-dates and the uniface concept. A sub weight (or size also?) uniface grading set with the detail # stamped into the reverse would be brilliant. To add to that, they could even be out of a different metal, so as to make sure that they were not kludged together to deceive, After all, in this realm we are looking at details. I see no harm in this, as the counterfeiters are already doing far too good a job at making copies. WE only need relative details vs. wear to come through.
Your wise insights also provided me a differing idea for the color set. Sub LC size copper blanks that could never be dimensionally confused with a real coin of any sort, but in differing states of color and patination to serve the cause.
KK - understand your issues as well and I thank you for the commentary and the OOB confirmation. One reason that I 'd love to have a physical "set" is for in hand comparison. Photos are great, but I can't tell you how many times I've dragged out an "in hand" example that was vetted by a major player to compare my own grading to before making an assessment. I think that properly thought through and managed, there would be a way to do it w/o worry.
It might end up being costly, but we all know the slings and arrows of cost to having good research and ref materials. On the other hand, if many were interested, it might be cheaper than anyone could imagine.
My next most desired "research tool" is going to be the $3K DVD/overlay thingy that I'm too sleepy to actually recall the name of at the moment, but you all know of what I speak. Now to just convince those interested parties in that product to either lower the price and sell more units or arrange a time payment option, but that is fodder for another thread.
03-03-2012, 03:47 PM
Is the idea to make the dies properly worn to the grade or to wear the coins down to make the grade. To get a master engraver to do this might become expensive. I do understand your wanting the physical coins in hand. Can't beat the one on one comparison.
I still think photos with detailed descriptions would be very helpful and way cheaper. That's what I'll shoot for over this summer. I may ask members to submit photos of those coins they believe are grade examples.
03-03-2012, 11:09 PM
Hey Ken -
My idea was to have perfect dies, but then to wear the detail off my means of perhaps vibratory tumbling with a proper abrasive and/or steel shot for finishing. It would take some trial and error, but I would imagine that one could come up with a fairly reliable production scheme of X days in X media = X numeric grade. Engraving each level would just be a cost and artistic nightmare.
03-04-2012, 01:04 PM
I like the idea of a photos. It wouldn't be as good as a uniface set, but will be much cheaper. Making an EAC grading book (like Whitman's "Making the Grade") would be a worthy project. There are a number of really good half cent (Cohen’s “American Half Cents, the "Little Half Sisters,"”; Manley’s “The Half Cent Die State Book 1793-1857”; W.C. Noyes’ “United States Large Cents” books) and large cent books (W.C. Noyes’ “United States Large Cents” books; Wright’s “The CENT Book 1816-1839”; Grellman’s “Die Varieties of United States Large Cents 1840-1857’; etc.). However, none of them really are useful for grading. This could be a very good EAC project and I’m sure that it wouldn’t be a problem to get EAC members to loan coins (especially if the resulting photos are attributed) for this project. I’m more than willing to loan my Half Cent Classic Head grading set (see my earlier post #4), along with other half cents for this project.
It might be worthwhile to have a couple of photos for each grade. Or have pictures of an "Average", "Choice" and "Scudzy" example for each grade. Ideally, we would have a single photographer for all the coins to ensure absolutely identical lighting conditions for every coin. Perhaps we could enlist someone like Doug Bird and/or Bob Grellman to be the “finalizer(s)”.
The real question is who would be willing to take the lead on such a project. My suggestion would be to gather additional comments from the readers of this thread and
then post it to the Region 8 Newsletter for further comments from a wider readership. Then distill the comments and make a proposal at the EAC meeting in Buffalo.
As far as the finished product, it could either be a hardbound book or have a spiral (like “Making The Grade”). In any case, it definitely has to be in color with high quality printing. It could either be privately published (like a number of EAC relevant books mentioned earlier) or we could go to someone like Whitman (and collect royalties as it would be exposed to a wider audience).
Anyone else care to comment. criticize or add to my thoughts?
03-04-2012, 01:25 PM
As far as the uniface grading set...a guy can dream - right? Although it would be a great thing to have, it may prove far too costly and difficult to produce. Along with that would be the sheer bulk of such a thing that may also well make it impractical.
That said, I simply love the idea of the book! Consistency in photography would be very important, as would the position of a "finalizer". Would your thought be to seek choice examples for a numeric grade? Although it may add to the scope of the book and make it unmanageable, it would be interesting to use examples that were numerically correct, but have a brief explanation for why they would net lower. Then again, perhaps that's a whole different book!
03-04-2012, 04:18 PM
I love the idea of floating the suggestion at Buffalo. I unfortunately cannot attend. There have only been 4 participants in this thread so we would definitely have to put it on the Region 8 newsletter. I would prefer a spiral book and the idea of average, choice and scudzy would be nice, but maybe problematic as there are a number of variable that could place a coin in one category. I'll send an e-mail to Matt Yohe (Region 8) to see if this topic and referll to Copper Notes can get into the next issue. Is that today? There is about 3 times as many subscribers to Region 8 as there for Copper notes. I wonder why?
03-05-2012, 10:00 AM
Gary Hahn's approach is a good one - having MULTIPLE coins in the same grade for comparison. For early coppers one can't simply have one coin for reference. Case in point: 1798 S-145 (flatly struck obverse) vs. 1798 S-187. Plus I believe all his coins are Grellman graded, which provides the consistency factor.
Region 8 Admin
03-05-2012, 12:14 PM
I will certainly shop this project to the greater EAC population in next week's newsletter if there are no objections from the thread participants. We would undoubtedly get a flood of input, both pro and con, and if such a guide is possible, I think it would benefit from as much collaboration as we could generate.
03-05-2012, 05:24 PM
No objection (in fact, encouragement) from me (and I suspect everyone else). I assume you will summarize our thoughts. And please remind Region 8 subscribers to join CoinFacts.
03-07-2012, 12:18 AM
Hey all -
I LOVE the idea of the book AND having a 3 tiered photo set for each grade. I think that for folk newish to EAC grading, it would be a boon. It took me a long time and a lot of frustration before I could decipher CCR. Main reason for that is that most of my collection at the time (and currently) is "scudzy", but at the time it seemed "average" to me.
Count me in for any way that I can help and assist. Would be a fun and worthwhile project. I guess that my inner nerd (bigger than the Sheldon one) got stirred up working on RR's envelope project.
One other suggestion that will likely get called down. In reference to banter on another thread here, I move that we replace "scudzy" with "grizzled" and petition Jack to do the same in the next edition - lol!
03-07-2012, 12:44 AM
My preference is to stay with "Scudzy". I've owned (ands still own) more than one. Using what some would describe as a derogative term makes it easier for me to pass on a scudzy coin and (reluctantly) wait for the same variety to show up in an average or AVE- condition.
Back to the question at hand. Maybe the first thing to do would be for someone to volunteer to create a registry of coins that EACers would be willing to lend to the project to be graded and photographed. Anyone who wanted to loan his or her coin(s) to the project would send the "Registrar" the coin listing type, estimated grade and an existing photograph if they have one.
This way, we could see roughly how many grades/type we might be able to document. If there is a sufficiently wide enough range of grades, then we could proceed to the actually gathering of (loaned) coins, grading, photography and eventual publication of the grading book.
Other things to consider (but not today) is who would be the grading team, who would do the photography, and who would do the actual printing of the grading book. We might also want to offer presubscriptions for the book to gather some $$ to pay for postage (getting the coins from the graders to the photographers and then back to the coins owner's) and other expenses that will be incurred during this project.
We should also think (again, not today), what would be a reasonable price for the grading book.
03-07-2012, 01:12 AM
All valid points, Bob, and I agree at this hour that today is not the day to sort out the points that you mention. It's 9+ PM on my coast and my sensibilities are fading. Will churn this around a bit in my head in the morrow.
I'd welcome the input on those who have done printing before and the associated costs. Are any of the print on demand places like CafePress, Lulu, etc any good? Anyone have good or bad on them? Having a viable POD place would certainly be a boon in not having to have a large initial press run. I champion a spiral bound volume.
I "know" that grizzled won't fly, but the thread that it came up on was too funny to ever forget. Although I usually only buy avg - as a low anymore, my first children are a little more tolerable as grizzled and having battle scars than just plain ugly - lol! Just a bit of jest on the suggestion.
03-07-2012, 12:29 PM
I also appreciated the jest. As far as printers, I suspect that is a topic we can table for the immediate future. I see this project as taking up to a year to finish. The big thing is to see how much interest there is from EAC members (both in willing to donate coins and in buying the finished book). Perhaps a Region 8 poll (or could someone set up a poll on Copper Notes)?
A few other thoughts:
- should the book attribute (in some manner) the coin photos to their donors? (my vote is yes)
- if the book is in color (or have some color pages), should there be a small section on coin color?
- should there be a section on surface (quality) with accompanying photos of different surfaces (e.g., pristine, corroded, dinged, etc.)?
- should there be a section on net vs. detail grading?
- what other chapters/sections should be included?
I would think that such sections might have differing section authors.
Hopefully, Matt will be able to summarize everyone's ideas for the Region 8 unveiling of this idea.
03-07-2012, 01:32 PM
Hey Bob -
I think that a well responded to R8 poll will answer many of the questions for us all. I think that we also need yo figure out if we're looking to put out a book the physical size of PP or CQR or something more along the lines of Noyes or Grellman. Input and target price commitment from a R8 survey would help here.
To opine on the points that you enumerated -
A few other thoughts:
- should the book attribute (in some manner) the coin photos to their donors? Yes
- if the book is in color (or have some color pages), should there be a small section on coin color? Love to see a section IN color on color
- should there be a section on surface (quality) with accompanying photos of different surfaces (e.g., pristine, corroded, dinged, etc.)? Yes
- should there be a section on net vs. detail grading? Yes
- what other chapters/sections should be included? I shall noodle upon this
I would think that such sections might have differing section authors. Excellent idea
My personal preferences would be to go for the largest tome that we could manage, given the fact that we are bringing the "black arts" of EAC grading into the light of day. I'm thinking Noyes size, but not as voluminous as a Breen size.
I'll further complicate the issues and presentation. 2 other thought spring to mind as ways to monetize the overall project. Assuming that we have a "big book", I think that a smaller spiral bound guide that just distilled the photos on the net grading issue down to a small pocket/briefcase guide could be an easy derivative work. I know that there are MANY times I would have loved such a volume. If that distillation was a good idea, one would also have a decent core/skeleton of an app/reference for mobile devices and/or readers.
03-07-2012, 09:27 PM
I feel that this would be a kick in the "arse" for our hobby, allowing more individuals to come into copper collecting once the standards have been brought down from the mount. people I meet at general shows shy away from coppers because of the complicated grading and attribution.
In this day and age finding a printer should not be an issue, look at all the fine coin catalogs produced. I am not a photographer but I would be more than willing to create a spreadsheet to organize the potential submissions. yes we should credit submitters, but in the front of the book, I'm sure that would be OK with most egos. Coins change hands too quickly to credit individuals below each of their coins. We're all EACers.
Region 8 Admin
03-07-2012, 10:03 PM
A possible summary:
A proposal to embark on a journey wherein we appeal to the greater Region 8 population to express their opinion regarding the feasibility of creating a tome defining EAC grading guidelines; that such tome be 3 tiered, with examples judged "scudzy", "average", and "choice", the grading to be arrived at by the consensus of a grading team to be determined.
That said tome will require an initial registry of coins, submitted by members, the registry specific to denomination and major type, to be professionally photographed by an individual photographer to preserve consistency, and said photos to be provenanced to the donors in the final print.
In addition to the grading section (this to be the main function of the volume), chapters pertaining to color/original vs. cleaned, and general surface quality, i.e. corrosion, pitting, rim dings, etc., and an introduction regarding net vs. standard grading have been proposed.
This being a summary of the Copper Notes discussion on the future publication of a Guidebook to EAC Grading, or as one member put it, "The Black Arts of EAC Grading" (wink), we do hereby submit our request from the Region 8 membership for further input.
Whaddya think? Too pompous? I can dial it back. :)
03-08-2012, 02:24 AM
Ken - I couldn't agree more! It would be a boon to the hobby. This very thing is what kept me from being a "serious" collector for years. I bought early copper haphazardly and cheaply because I simply had no idea of what was being spoken of in the auction catalogs. Understanding the R# is about as far as it went for me before my eyes started to glaze over. Photo examples of nice coins are abundant, but mine were "grizzled" and I simply didn't get it. The epihany came upon buying a sight unseen Reiver AG3, The light came on and I then new why what I thought was avg was grizzled and why that coin was avg+ to choice for the grade. THAT'S when I got serious, because I finally got it!
Matt - I love it! Don't dial back a word, If anything - ramp it up!
I certainly WOULD like to see a distinct section on color. The Holmes color set escaped my total comprehension as a relative noob, and have been advised by others that the really nasty looking cents that I have been perusing on eBay for experimentation with cleaning and recoloring are going for a mint due to people working on "color sets".
HALP!!! - Kirk
03-08-2012, 08:16 PM
Matt that sums it up in a nutshell. Hope we get a response other than us 4 or 5 on Copper Notes.
03-08-2012, 08:45 PM
I'll humbly chime in and cast a vote for Matt's suggestion. Such a reference would be quite useful. I often find myself referring to the Holmes Auction to study die varieties. Perhaps, some of the examples could be drawn from that or past EAC auctions? Just a thought ...
03-09-2012, 01:37 PM
Hope that the R8 response comes through well and with more hands that want to be involved. At worst - the few of us nerds here could handle the task, but it would take a while - yes?
03-09-2012, 07:49 PM
The real question now is who wants to take the lead (or be on the committee) for this project? Volunteers?
03-09-2012, 08:21 PM
In whatever capacity I can serve I'll participate. Consider that statement as volunteering. Even though it would be a photographic guide, there still is the need for descriptive comments. Perhaps as a start we can formulate the descriptive comments for the detail grading for each general type of half/large cents. ANA and photograde might be good places to start.
For instance starting with the late issues (Braided Hair):
AG-3 OBV: Outline of head worn away details. Stars, date weakly visible as are only parts of "ERTY".
REV: Parts of design worn entirely away. 9-12 letters in the motto discernible
Let's all comment, revise and move onto G-4, G-5 & G-6.
Yes I think we should do the intermediate grades. What about you guys? what about also F-12, F-15, VF-20, VF-25, VF-30, VF-35, EF-40, EF-45, AU-50, AU-55, AU58. Mint State? That has a lot to do with bag marks, not wear. Is there a numerical way to tally dings and nicks? If people want it we'll do it.
Once we do a large cent type we can modify it for the corresponding half cent type. Because of the smaller size adjustments may be needed.
03-10-2012, 12:55 AM
Ken (and all) -
I'm game to help in whatever manner I can too. Although my wife isn't available for me to query at the moment, she is a P-Shop and Illustrator whizkid (IMHO) and may be able to help us out.
I like the idea of the 5 point increments in going up the ladder. On the editorial side - I think that some notes as to particular "problem" years of striking might also be of value.
Would it be a waste of paper and time to cover Fr and Basal? This was one of my largest stumbling points when I was a complete noob. I think even if we don't do photos, at least an editorial commentary would be due.
I'm hosed for the weekend on weighing in on the details portion of the discussion, but will jump upon it next week when a little more spare time arises.
03-10-2012, 01:05 PM
Add me in as one who wants to work on this
As far as the written descriptions, we could start with the ANA wording, adjust for EAC standards and then fold in Jack Robinson's CQR grading. We would also have to create descriptions for those grades where the ANA doesn't have descriptions (VF-25, VF-35)
03-10-2012, 08:00 PM
Robinson's grading really isn't for details, it is more so for condition, and where he discusses details it is very general and not type specific. Look at what I wrote for AG-3 on the braided hair type and see if that's acceptable. I took it from both ANA and Photograde descriptions. Comments please.
03-11-2012, 06:03 PM
I was just starting to think of what should be put in the written descriptions of the various grades. I suspect it will take a fair effort to come up the descriptive words that a sufficient majority of EAC members will agree with.
More importantly, do/should we grade half cents and large cents to the same standards, obviously for each common type (Capped Bust, Classic Head, etc.)?
My initial thoughts are that the descriptions of each grade — for a given type — should be independent of the denomination. Obviously, consideration has to be taken (and mentioned) for strike (e.g., the traditional weakness of HALF CENT on many early Liberty Cap half cents, the die break on the 1804 large cent, etc.)
03-11-2012, 08:13 PM
Die state should fall in is this book some where. So maybe a section or chapter on die state.
03-11-2012, 11:22 PM
Bob and Ken -
Like the ideas on melding ANA/Photograde descriptions and then sprinkling in some CQR. I think that the description that Ken wrote was great and that's the road that my mind was headed down.
Gary brings up a great point about die states. I think that winnowing down some of the Breen details might help, or at least a little expanded iteration of Noyes points. Where would the line get drawn on what dies states to cover? That could be another tome unto itself.
In closing - I highly approve of the title "The Black Arts of EAC Grading" ;)
P.S. Bob - Just noticed that you are also in So Cal. Anywhere near Pasadena where I am?
03-12-2012, 12:59 PM
We should also consider what information exists in other books:
e.g., Noyes' four books on United States Large Cents 1793-1794; 1795-1797; 1793-1814 & 1816-1839. Wright’s The CENT Book 1816-1839, Breen's Encyclopedia of Early US Cents 1793-1814, Grellman's Die Varieties of United States Large Cents 1840-1857 and Boka's Provenance Gallery of the Year 1794 United States Large Cents.
Cohen's American Half Cents, the "Little Half Sisters" , Breen's Encyclopedia of United States Half Cents 1793-1857, Heim's Quickfinder for Attributing Varieties of United States Half Cents and Manley's Half Cent Die State Book.
As far as die states [personal bias mode on] to keep the book from being too large, I would have a chapter discussing it and show some examples (e.g., 1811 Cohen-1 ending with the 4-star break [personal bias mode off] along with some large cent ones — sorry, I'm a half cent guy and don't know which large cent die breaks to cite). Since printing costs tend to mirror volume size, we should try not to duplicate information that is available elsewhere (not to mention the human effort).
Unfortunately, I will not be at EAC Buffalo this year. Would someone be willing to take the lead and put together a session at EAC to discuss the grading guideline project? For those of us in Southern California (I live in Carlsbad), we could also have a meeting in conjunction with the May 31 - June 2 Long Beach Coin Show as a follow-up to the EAC session.
P.S., for those of you who would be interested in working on the Grading Guidelines project, could you also indicate where you live. That way, it would make it easier to meet as the project progresses.
03-12-2012, 08:32 PM
I also think the idea of an EAC grading guide is a great idea. A number of months ago I put together a rough draft of a grading guide on middle dates for myself. I really never found the ANA guide very useful, primarily because, the descriptions were much too general. With a couple of exceptions I used photos of my own coins which had assigned grades by major copper dealers or in EAC or Goldberg auctions. I then reviewed the grades assigned to various middle dates in some of the most recent auctions. For example the following is my description of the VF35 Obverse. " In the 35 coin, the matron head now shows considerable roundness in the face around the chin, cheek, nose and eye. The right edge of the nose and mouth are clearly separated from any flatness on the face. There is a small area of flatness directly below the LIB of LIBERTY and the hair strands above the eye are starting to show some definition and beginning to emerge from the flatness that still exists on the forehead. The curl before the ear is in most cases complete and shows definition from the surrounding facial area. The finer details in the hair to the upper left of the ear and below the coronet line are becoming much clearer. The eyelid is distinct and shows clear separation from the small area of flatness on the forehead. The hair above the coronet is mostly complete with only very small spots of flatness remaining above the ER in LIBERTY and at the edges of the hair bun. The hair cords are complete sharp and rounded. The main curls of the matron's head show considerable fine detail with only small flat spots on the highest points. The curl on the shoulder is now complete and shows some definition from the surrounding area. If the stars are sharply struck the centers will show considerable detail; however in many cases the stars will not be sharply struct and thus will appear flat." Anyway, this is my first draft of VF 35. I did something similar for all the other grades. I am sure there are some who feel that because wide divergences in striking such a detailed definition is not appropriate but it helps me and at least may generate some discussion. I will bring my draft guide to Buffalo if anyone is interested. Thanks Pete
03-13-2012, 03:57 AM
Pete and Bob -
Great points and finely crafted. It will be interesting to see in the initial stages of development how large the volume may be. Although it would swell the size of things, I think it wildly important to make reference to the important and already standard refs that Bob mentioned.
A question to all involved or willing to be involved. IF we put something together that was huge, do we come out with one huge and pricey work, or do we divide it up into a few volumes that ultimately comprise the whole? Perhaps released over a few years like Noyes.
I'm more excited about this than I could express, and much like RR's project, am seeing this as an opportunity of like minded banding together at the perfect time to make something happen now that may not happen again for a long while, if ever. This would be a "first" in this area and I'm starting to think more along the lines of creating it as the definitive work for decades to come rather than the overdue footnote.
I'm Pasadena area of So Cal and would love to see the locals get together at the next LB. More later, but approaching midnight -
03-13-2012, 07:24 PM
I suggest we complete the large cent type and then adapt/tweek the descriptions for the little sisters. I do not think die states should be included as this should just be a detail grading book. I will move onto G-4 over the weekend.
03-13-2012, 09:08 PM
I agree with the concept of writing the large cent descriptions and then modifying them (as needed) for half cents. Re: the size (single perhaps huge vs. several smaller), Let's see where this takes us. As far as where to start, let's think about how much text we want to describe each grade.
If we assume ~2" for the size of the coin photos (enough to have up to 4 pictures side by side), I would assume that we could have two grades per (8.5" x 11") page.
If we want to include photos of Scudzy and Choice examples (beyond the total of 4 pictures/grade), that would add to the page count.
I also assume the following grades: AG-3, G-4 (or Gd-5), VG-8, F-12, F-15, VF-20, VF-25, VF-30, VF-35, EF-40, EF-45, AU-50, AU-55, AU-58, MS-60, MS-63, MS-64, MS-65 for a total of 18 "grades" per coin type. For some coins (e.g., 1793 half cent) there will be less "grades" as there may be no known examples of the highest grades (or even some intermediate grades). In those cases, we could substitute Fr-1 and P-1 (BS-1). Or should we include P-1 and Fr-2 to the 18 types for a total of at most 20 grades/type.
We also know that there are five half cent and seven large cent types. Assuming a maximum of 20 grades, and two grades/page and 1 page of introduction material/type, this works out to 132 pages for the grading photos/descriptions.
The next question is, do we want to include something on grading Colonials? Perhaps we coiuld include two Colonials that are available in all grades, e.g., New Jersey. Granted, this gives Colonials short shrift, but we are limited at some point. However, including a couple of Colonials should give their adherents a starting place for accurate grading.
Listed below are my thoughts on section breakdown of the EAC Grading Guidelines book (how’s that for a title?). The page count is a SWAG, but I thought we could start thinking about what the finished product might look/feel like. Right now, I’m guessing that we might be looking at something on the order of 250 pages. If we had Scudzy and Choice photographs for every grade, that could increase the page count by 100 (to an estimated total of 350 pages). Compare that to the 500 pages of Breen’s half cent book or the nearly 800 pages of his “Complete Encyclopedia of US and Colonial Coinage”.
EAC Grading Guidelines (title pages, etc. ~ 5 pages)
Introduction (~10 pages)
- history of grading (Sheldon, etc.)
Basics of Grading (~10 pages)
- EAC detail vs. net grading
Color (10 ~ 20 pages)
- cleaned vs. original
Surface & Quality (~10 pages)
- w/ photos of different surfaces (e.g., pristine, corroded, dinged, etc.)?
Die States (~10 pages)
- not an exhaustive tome, but sufficient to show examples and point the reader to other references
Grading Half Cents (~50 pages + 1 page/type for general comments = ~55 pages)
Grading Large Cents (~70 pages + 1 page/type for general comments = ~77 pages)
(optional) Grading Colonials (~20 pages + ~3 pages for general comments = ~23 pages)
Conclusions Chapter (~5 pages)
Acknowledgements (~5 pages)
References and Index (~10 pages)
Please add your comments and modify my page counts. If I’ve omitted a chapter, propose it and let us know what it should cover.
03-14-2012, 03:50 AM
In general I agree heartily with your previous post and will reply at length after some thought and a time where I have more than 2 grey cells to rub together.
Brief thoughts -
I'd likely keep the colonials out or save for another project. I collect colonials too, but would like to see this work in a very specific trough.
Given the estimated page counts and the lack of some higher end examples to illustrate, I'd like to see some examples with a "1" shown. As a noob in the game for many years, it was really tough for me once we got down to a 3 or below to properly make a call on the 0-3 arena. I may still have some that are in error on my own grading. A 1 to compare to a 3 in particular areas would help a noob, IMHO.
In the "color" section - I'd love numerous and photo realistic examples of the Sheldon color set, if available, even if in reduced size. All about color, and a reduced version of the right tome would serve just fine. Perhaps half cent size? Cleaned vs original would be an interesting sidebar, and I have a great candidate for that. A formerly 63 Starr coin and in the Noyes CC that was cleaned, recovered from that poorly, and now would not even make the Grellman census even if Bob recolored it. Bob and I have talked about this one at length.
Title sounds good, but I'd simply love to see the "Black Arts" line included on a selfish manner as much as a fun manner. Although I realize that we are attempting the unthinkable and it's to be a scholarly tome, I also think that it couldn't hurt to keep some of the editorial comment light and humorous enough to keep folk engaged even when they are drowning in detail that may be brand new to them.
In closing for the eve - what think anyone of the "derivative works"? Distilled "pocket guide" and/or app? This would certainly come at a later date, but just curious as to thought/interest.
P.S. I propose a mid day meeting of those that can make LB the next time around at The Tilted Kilt for further discussion. Who's in?
03-14-2012, 07:28 AM
All the best on your efforts.
03-14-2012, 12:57 PM
I agree that we should show P-1 and Fr-2 examples. For some types, (e.g., Braided Hair), it may be difficult to find clean very low grade coins.
We should also have a chapter on Counterfeits (another 5~10 pages?).
More thoughts on the project: One stumbling block would be the cost of the Grading Guidelines book. Even before we have a completed manuscript, there will be costs associated with photography, grading, etc. At some point, we need to start making estimates, especially if there will be up front costs required.
I would hope that the Buffalo meeting would select a committee to nominally be in charge of the Grading Guidelines project (and set up subsequent convenient regional meetings (e.g., during the upcoming Long Beach Coin Show) to continue our efforts. I also suspect that we will not have enough information about the level of effort, costs, prospective publisher, etc. to make a formal request of the EAC membership that this be a formal EAC effort (my preference) rather than a private project. I would propose that the Grading Guidelines project be an “informal” project with the intent that, at some point, a formal detailed proposal be made to the EAC board at a later (but not late) date.
One topic for discussion at Buffalo would be how to solicit and collect representative coins for each grade.
Another topic is the need for a grading committee, once the representative coins are gathered.
After grading, comes photography. For photography, we will need to decide what resolution (pixels/inch) is needed, lighting, color (which coins/chapters), etc. What we will need are some volunteers that with expertise in coin photography who are willing to donate their services. Ideally, we would have one camera set-up to assure consistent photography for every coin.
P.S., has anybody contacted the EAC Buffalo organizers to set up a session? If not, would someone volunteer for this (and then post its progress on Copper Notes).
P.P.S., for the Long Beach Coin Show Grading Guidelines meeting, we need to choose a day to meet. What about Thursday, May 31st (my preference)? For those of you who want to join us, e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org with your preferred day and I’ll summarize the results before finalizing a day/time (unless someone else (Kirk?) wants to be the point of contact—if so, “speak now or forever hold your peace”:p).
03-15-2012, 02:43 AM
Mostly agreed, but I'm likely sunk on intelligent or in depth banter until the weekend when I have a few good St. Pats day Guinness in me - lol!
If I may gracefully bow out of being the point man on the LB meet but assist you as a 2nd in any and all ways possible, it would be appreciated. After a long and gaping morass of underemployment, I have gotten busy again and am attempting to backfill the financial hole that was Q4 '11 and most of Q1 '12.
I'd prefer a LB Th, as well. That said - Id like to shoot for a noonish to early afternoon? My biz and other things aren't friendly to early AM or later PM shenanigans.
03-15-2012, 10:49 PM
There is no rationale to have so many pages in this grading guide book. I want something to carry around with me to shows, not bring to church and pray out of. We have enough copper books for that Let's use the KISS principle. Just detail grading. No colonials, one page with contributors names, no net grading as that is very subjective, no intro other than that this is a grading book, no history of copper, plenty of books for that. I think I just cut off 300 pages. Now we're right where wee should be.
Spiral bound, open it up lay it flat and you see 4 grades, example: GD-5, VG-8, F-12, F-15. If we have 13 series (did I count right) and 5 maybe 6 pages per series you get maybe 80 pages, make it 90 with all the other stuff. You get a nice small compact book. Useful to carry around.
Please, let's not reinvent the wheel. Let's not get bogged down in layers upon layers of committees. Let's just get a detail copper grading guide produced.
03-16-2012, 12:57 AM
My sentiments exactly...sort of...
I'm torn. I like the idea of the huge coffee table book as an exhaustive reference on the subject, but would also like something about the size of CQR or PP to stick in my briefcase. Initially - this is why I mentioned such a thing as a derivative work to the larger volume that I envisioned.
Perhaps I put the cart before the horse. What think everyone of bringing out the more compact version that Ken suggests first?
That said - I really would like to see a disturbingly large volume come out of this at some point. It's been how many years without one? It may be another forever before a bunch of knuckleheads like us decide it's a good idea in the future.
I tender the official idea of 2 volumes - the wee one comes first - and the large volume that will make people's brains tie up in a knot and eyes bleed to follow. I would have benefited greatly from a visual ref as an early collector with no clue and I'd love to see a 5 point stepping and all the other minutiae that I cheered for previously.
There is the part of me that wants to reinvent the wheel - as this wheel has never been made.
03-16-2012, 12:59 AM
For this project to be successful, we need sufficient volunteers to 1) determine the scope of (and effort needed for) this project. If we don't have enough people, we should let this die rather that end up with a mediocre plan that will go nowhere.
I'd like to start finding out if we have sufficient interest to get a Grading Guidelines project off the ground. Since no one else has yet stepped up to the plate, I'm going to throw my hat in the ring (at least until someone else wants to take the reigns).
Since EAC is less than two months away, we need to flesh out the many suggestions that have been made. So, would those of you who are interested in participating in this project (at any level) please private message me with
- your name,
- contact info (e-mail/phone/?),
- your area of interest (writing, photography, grading of the actual coins, etc.). If you are just interested in general, and are willing to help, but don’t have a specific area, mention that —we will always need people.
- and if you are going to EAC Buffalo, the May Goldberg auction and/or Long Beach Show (or any other National show) so that we can plan meetings at those shows.
I'm not asking for firm commitments, just levels of interest (which can be anywhere from "yes, I'd like to know what's going on, but I won't really do much" to "ABSOLUTELY, I want to be heavily involved and will write every grading description known to mankind"). At this point, you are not signing your name in blood, just expressing interest.
I'll gather the list and summarize it to this thread, updating it as time goes on.
With appreciation, Bob Fagaly (EAC5866)
P.S., if anyone thinks I am being presumptuous and wants to take the lead, please feel free to throw your hat in the ring.
03-16-2012, 03:18 AM
Will contact you via PM. but please see my previous post and let me know what you think. Slid in here almost simultaneously with your latest.
03-16-2012, 11:56 AM
My thoughts are to flesh out the larger volume to see what would be covered and what could easily be accomplished in a reasonable time. The key content would be the section/photographs on grading. This section could be a spiral bound separate publication (and need not wait for the rest of book to be completed before it goes to print).
We do need to realize that this will not solve all our grading problems, but to paraphrase one of the major copper dealers who agrees “in principle on the EAC grading book, but bottom line is that it will still be subjective, because everybody treats problems, hence the net grade, differently. But I still think it would be useful.”
So, let’s get started.
03-19-2012, 08:56 PM
1. It is unlikely that EAC will want this to be an "Official" project, as the previous projects have all been done without the club's official involvement. This does not mean that EAC would not be involved. It might be possible, for example, for some of the Garvin fund money to be available for this (I say this as one who is not on the Garvin Committee, so I have no idea if it's true, but it MAY be true). So, go ahead and do this, but don't expect it to be an official product of EAC any more than any other product that we use is an official EAC product.
2. Despite what some members may say, it is by no means necessary to get all worked up about the striking characteristics of particular varieties. For a particular variety the drapery might be weak; for another the hair might be weak, for another the leaves. That does NOT change the grading standards. You don't grade a coin by a single area of the surface. If you want to be encyclopedic, you could just indicate which varieties are generally weakly struck in which areas. These details are not iron-clad, however. 1806 C4 half cents are usually weak at the draperies, but a few are weak at the top of the head instead. I've never seen one that wasn't weak somewhere.
3. Don't reinvent the wheel. Where there are already easily-obtained standards that you like, use them, but don't worry about going beyond them.
4. Remember that it is very difficult to tell the difference between MS and AU in photographs. An unworn coin with no luster is no better than EF45 (some might say AU50), and photos never capture both details and luster accurately.
5. Be careful about trying to quantify the number of points to take off for a particular problem. The location of the problem is important, and its size relative to the size of the coin and any nearby features is important. Also, a mark of a particular size and depth might be perfectly acceptable on a VG coin and yet considered terrible damage on an AU. As grade increases, the tolerance for damage decreases. By how much? That is really up to the individual.
6. Bottom line: Don't be overly concerned with precision. Grading is a matter of aesthetic opinion - no more, no less. If you doubt this, look at any of the Holmes catalogs and compare the Grellman, Noyes and Bland grades. We all probably agree that each of these gentlemen is highly skilled at grading large cents, and they usually agree within 5 points, but they frequently do not agree exactly, and those 5 points can mean a lot of money.
7. Most importantly, enjoy the process, learn from it, and enjoy the camaraderie with the others involved. That is what EAC is really about.
03-20-2012, 03:29 PM
Let it forever be known as Eckberg's fourth rule: it is very difficult to tell the difference between MS and AU in photographs. An unworn coin with no luster is no better than EF45 (some might say AU50), and photos never capture both details and luster accurately.
Consider making your project a video (s) with spoken word descriptions. I carry my iphone everywhere I go.
03-21-2012, 09:43 AM
I would be willing to lend photography skills to the project.
03-21-2012, 03:01 PM
Great to hear that, Tom! Will be greatly appreciated.
I think that the inclusion of several of the Eckberg rules should likely be folded into the foreword of the book. 4,5, and 6 would work nicely to explain exactly what it is that we're attempting to do.
Region 8 Admin
04-27-2012, 06:33 PM
It's official! The EAC Grading Guidelines book project is going to be a topic of discussion at the annual EAC Board of Governors meeting May 5th at the Buffalo convention! The agenda was just sent out to the Board members and the project is included under New Business.
I hope you're all as excited as I am! It's been great to watch this idea develop here and progress to the next step so quickly. Congratulations to all involved!
Region 8 Admin
05-07-2012, 12:11 PM
Hi guys! Here's a summary of our discussion on the EAC Grading Guidelines project.
It was generally agreed that a publication that explained the overall processes by which EAC grading is accomplished was a good idea. EAC grading is daunting to many collectors who have become familiar with "traditional" grading and we would like to alleviate that initial fear new collectors of early copper have regarding our grading methods.
There was some concern as to the scope of the book. We all know EAC grading is VERY subjective. One type of flaw that one person deducts 10 points for may not bother another collector nearly as much. I for one hate rim dings. It's a deal breaker. I'll take a lower grade undamaged coin over a high grade with rim dings every time.
The consensus was that the project is very beneficial. It's still in the initial stages of development and a tight plan of action needs to be hammered out. But the project can expect the support of ther club once the particulars are finalized and a draft is in the works.
Guys, this should be viewed as a victory. The project is viewed as a legitimate endeavor and we just need to see some forward movement on a plan of action. I'll tell you publishing a definitive catch all volume on the ins and outs of EAC grading in full color the size of a Breen isn't going to be successful or even achievable. I think we need to focus on shedding as much light as possible on the characteristics that affect grade AND condition. Let's read our CQR all over again and then take a look at what we can realistically accomplish with this volume.
One other note: Greg Heim, our Region 2 chairman, has expressed his interest in being a part of this project. Expect him to weigh in soon!
05-07-2012, 06:05 PM
OK, it's Greg Heim and I am going to weigh in:
"EAC Grading" is a philosophy and methodology which essentially evolves the thought process with respect to a coin's evaluation and valuation. To express it with pictures, and in some ridiculous large tome is not only impractical, but downright absurd and has no utility.
THINK ABOUT THIS:
Most mainstream collectors in any numismatic area who use commercial grading standards often suffer from a fatal flaw: THEY OVER-EMPHASIZE THE AMOUNT OF DETAIL, OR SHARPNESS OF A COIN WITH RESPECT TO ITS ACTUAL VALUE.
On the other hand, many seasoned, forward-thinking collectors IN ANY NUMISMATIC AREA often think like this:
I have an 1896-S Barber Quarter. This AG3 is a really awesome coin loaded with tons of eye appeal, but this G06 coin has that sharpness, but there's a mark on there that my eye is focusing on every single time I look at it. At this point, I am not concerned as to which coin the guy buys because it's subject to personal preference and not germane to my point.
What just happened? This non-copper collector just employed inplicitly the thought process of the "matrix method" of Jack Robinson's CQR (Copper Quotes by Robinson). In all deference to Jack, Jack's presentation of the process is not the best, and therefore it is difficult for the neophyte or in many cases the intermediate collector to master with precision and efficiency.
In my talk at EAC 2012 on "The Reality of Die Variety/Marriage Attribution," I discussed that the best way for beginners to attrubute coins efficiently and accurately was to have them answer questions that are asked OF THEM. When it comes to the topic of "EAC Grading," it is imperative for the individual to come up with the questions that they need to answer. Think about it, there's a big difference.
Getting back to the CQR Presentation, what needs to occur is an actual, physical matrix chart illustrating the relationship between sharpness, net, and condition ALL IN ONE, NEAT PACKAGE with the proviso that there can be some variation off of this - call it a mild, artistic difference.
When people learn things for the first time, they need a solid frame of reference to work off of. That frame of reference is not a cure-all, for with experience it can be tweaked - but you need experience and expertise in order to do that.
Clear, concise, contemporary. Can be done, needs to be done.
Thanks for listening.
Region 2 Chairman for NY and NJ
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