Professional Coin Grading Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corp.
announced at the March 2010 American Numismatic Association National
Money Show in Fort Worth, Texas, that they would be adding “plus”
grades to Mint State coins. PCGS co-founder David Hall explained that
“plus” grading recognizes that the best coins in a grade trade at a
premium to others in the marketplace: “The high end for any particular
grade represents the top 30 percent of the scale within a grade and I
estimate that the plus designation would apply to approximately 15
percent to 20 percent of the coins within any individual grade.”
Not all inscription ‘misspellings’ are true
misspellings: Mike Diamond reports on coins that, at
first glance, appear to have misspelled legends or dates but, with
closer study, are found to have die defects that are misleading.
This MS-63+ coin that sold recently in an online auction shows that
collectors are willing to pay for a plus sign.
1919-D Walking Liberty half dollar, PCGS MS-63+, green CAC sticker
An MS-63 coin need not be perfect and PCGS grading standards allow
for an average or slightly weak strike with moderate marks or
hairlines. For some issues, a weak strike is the norm, as seen on
1919-D Walking Liberty half dollars, where Liberty’s hand and head are
rarely found fully defined on the obverse, and the eagle’s central
feather details on the reverse are usually weak. Many Mint State
examples have only modest luster and unattractive toning, so this
moderately brilliant example with a touch of gold color at the rims
and graded PCGS MS-63+ with a green Certified Acceptance Corp.
sticker, from the Centurion Collection, is particularly appealing.
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A massive price jump between MS-63 and MS-64 coins of this issue
places pressure on nice MS-63+ coins, and this one sold for a sliver
under $13,000 on Feb. 25. The price was well above the $7,500 that a
typical PCGS MS-63 example brought at Heritage’s January Florida
United Numismatists auction, but less than half the $28,800 that a
solid MS-64 piece brought at Heritage’s recent February Long Beach sale.