So I was looking through my search results and main categories on eBay and I was shocked at the number of certified problem coins being offered at 70-80% of trends or more! When did this happen? Why are they not discounted to acknowledge the problems. Why would I want to buy a damaged coin when I can by an undamaged coin for the same or better price? This I don’t understand. This you need to be careful of when you purchase your coins!
There are very, very few reasons that I would shell out hard earned cash for a known problem coin. By known problem I’m talking about TPG’s that tell you through their labeling that the coin has been damaged and is not a good an example. While “buy the coin, not the holder” is really sound advice, pay attention to the holder if the coin is third party graded! There is information there you can use.
PCGS labels coins as “Genuine” that it feels are problems. They are not shy about telling you the problem either. The coin receives a “Details” grade with the problem identified in words and by code. Here is a link to the PCGS grades including problem identification.
NGC labels coins as “Details” that it feels are problems. They are also not shy about telling you the problem. The coin gets a “Details” grade with the problem identified in words. Here is a link to the NGC glossary of “Details” grading.
ICG also labels coins as “Details” on their holders with the problem identified in words. I could not find a published list of ICG grading standards or what would make a coin a candidate for this type of designation.
ANACS grades the coin as normal but gives the grade a “Details” label. In addition to the label, they also tell you in writing what they feel the problem with the coin is. Here is a link to the ANACS FAQ page showing their “Details” grading standards.
ICCS grades the coin as normal and uses the comment line to make any notes. I could not find a published list of ICCS grading standards or what would make a coin a candidate for a problem comment.
CCCS grades the coin as normal and uses the comment line to make any notes. Here is a link to grades including items that will make the comment line on a CCCS holder.
The other problem I see are coins that are obviously cleaned, altered, damaged etc. but are not indicated on the holder whatsoever. It all makes one’s head spin. Use your eyes for all aspects of the coin and the holder. Even if the holder doesn't indicate a problem, if the coin doesn't look right, if your gut is telling you there is something wrong, the colour is off, there are wiz marks etc. don’t buy the coin. Leave problem coins where they are! Once a problem - always a problem. They will not serve you well in your collection and will disappoint you when it becomes time to sell them. You are certainly better served waiting for a good example to come your way. At least that’s how I see it.