US Coins

Cleaning 1892-S Morgan dollar brings lower price

When it comes to the adjectives used to describe problem coins, an altered surface can be particularly tough to spot, and such pieces can be awarded a “No Grade” label. As Professional Coin Grading Service explains, “This No Grade covers anything added to the surface of the coin to either ‘improve’ its appearance or to cover marks. Surface alteration methods include adding: dental wax, putty, lacquer, nose grease, etc.” Altered surfaces are a form of coin “doctoring” designed to make a coin look better and can make rarities more affordable for collectors willing to live with a problem coin.

The Lot:

1892-S Morgan dollar, Uncirculated Details, Altered Surfaces

The Price:


The Story:

Expensive Mint State Morgan silver dollars are also prone to receiving an Altered Surfaces designation and this 1892-S dollar, graded PCGS Genuine, Uncirculated Details, Altered Surfaces, is a textbook example of how tricky these enhancements can be.

As Heritage reports, “The rarity of this San Francisco issue in Mint State demands extra diligence from the grading services, particularly because the 1892-S attracts skilled attempts at surface improvements and ‘doctoring.’ While we detect a light cleaning, no overt surface alterations are readily apparent to our eye.”

COIN VALUES: How much is your 1892 Coronet double eagle worth?

It sold for $16,450 at Heritage’s January 2016 Florida United Numismatists auctions, about the same price that a nice About Uncirculated 58 example might bring, but far less than the $30,550 that one graded MS-60 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. realized at a 2014 auction.

There is more to this Market Analysis! Keep reading about recently sold altered coins:

1857-S Coronet $20 buffed to remove contact marks earns 'altered' label

'Enhanced' 1886 Coronet $20 double eagle realizes less than perfect price

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