Sorting Keepers From Spenders?

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Snyderart
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Sorting Keepers From Spenders?

#1 Unread post by Snyderart » Fri Nov 15, 2019 2:57 pm

Hello everyone! This is my first post here besides my introduction post. Thanks for having me aboard!
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In October, I asked a friend who isn't a collector if he had any spare change laying around to sell to me and he said, "I have a few pennies". The "few" pennies turned out to be 173 lbs. of pennies that have been sitting in an old glass water cooler bottle for 20-50 years! He said it had been sitting in the house full and they didn't know how to move or empty it. Most of the pennies are from 1960-1999 (with a few wheaties in the mix). I have them sorted by decade and have started to go through them (I found a 1998 wide AM so far!). I was tossing the ones that had even the smallest hint of a blemish, fingerprint, scuff, or carbon (sulfur) spot.
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During my error search, I started doing more research by reading books, posts in forums and blogs, and watching videos. All of them said to compare what I'm looking at to already graded coins. After watching a ton of videos on grading and comparing hundreds of examples from PCGS and Heritage, I'm starting to rethink the condition of the coins I'm tossing into the spend pile. I'm not sure if I'm "micrograding" these coins (the pennies you see in the images are the ones I was tossing). I have Ziplock bags full of pennies without any marks I separated out while sorting into decades, but haven't looked at them for errors yet.
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On the sites I mentioned previously, I saw MS coins with dings and spots and initially, I was surprised by the high MS grades, but then realized that the MS scale is like a mini-scale within the overall scale. It is not a continuation of the scale after AU58, but a different classification (the three buckets: circulated, about uncirculated and mint state). It took a while to wrap my head around that there is a distinct separation between an AU coin and an MS coin. An AU58 coin can look better than a MS60 coin. The difference is wear in the high points that makes it an AU coin. The MS60 is at the low end of a group of uncirculated coins. I hope I'm on the right track with this.

So my question is, even though there are some minor dings and spots on these coins, if there is no wear on the high points, they fall into the MS grade (bucket), correct? From there, I then determine how far up the MS scale they would go based on surface preservation, strike, luster (they all seem to have that), and eye appeal.
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It's hard to back out of error search magnification and look at each coin for what it is for grading purposes. After reevaluating them against what I've seen online, and some of what I see online makes me scratch my head on how they came up with a particular grade, these pennies that I initially had in the toss pile look good if not great. I would hate to look too closely, micrograde them, and toss them! Thank you all in advance for any help you may have.

Happy hunting!



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Re: Sorting Keepers From Spenders?

#2 Unread post by pahwa » Sun Nov 17, 2019 5:04 pm

I am sorry I cannot help you with the grading question. Daniel or others on here will have much better help with that. But 173 pounds, what a great discovery. That reminds me, my mail carried was suppose to get with me with a bunch of pennies.. But anyway, great find, I wouldn't throw any out right now. Just like you are doing sort them into decades, maybe keep the BU's separate tho. Check each decade and look for the key dates for varieties, then sort the decades into the key dates or particular varieties you like or wish to find. Then the remainder can go to the bank. But what a blast to sort. Great fun.
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Re: Sorting Keepers From Spenders?

#3 Unread post by Daniel » Sun Nov 17, 2019 8:16 pm

Congrats on the Wide AM and yes coins with no wear would be UNC but they need to be MS67 and up to be worth saving.

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Re: Sorting Keepers From Spenders?

#4 Unread post by Snyderart » Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:28 am

pahwa wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 5:04 pm
I am sorry I cannot help you with the grading question. Daniel or others on here will have much better help with that. But 173 pounds, what a great discovery. That reminds me, my mail carried was suppose to get with me with a bunch of pennies.. But anyway, great find, I wouldn't throw any out right now. Just like you are doing sort them into decades, maybe keep the BU's separate tho. Check each decade and look for the key dates for varieties, then sort the decades into the key dates or particular varieties you like or wish to find. Then the remainder can go to the bank. But what a blast to sort. Great fun.
Thank you for your reply. Yeah, I was quite surprised when his "few pennies" came out to be a water cooler jug full. He said his grandfather had started putting pennies in the jug when he owned the house and then when my friend and his wife bought the house, they continued to fill the jug. The latest pennies in the jug are from around 2000. I took them home in eight plastic shopping bags. I stood on the scale with each of the bags, did some math, and it came out to 173 lbs. There were a few wheaties, but not many. The earliest is a 1909 (I haven't checked it yet for VDB. I'm saving it for last. :thumbsup: ). So far, I have them separated by decade in six gallon-size Ziplock bags. I started with the 90s and I'm working my way back looking for errors and varieties. I have a checklist of what to look for and watch YouTube videos for each year before I dive in. So glad I asked about this early before I tossed possibly valuable pennies! There's a lot of knowledge on here!

Thank you!

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Re: Sorting Keepers From Spenders?

#5 Unread post by pahwa » Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:50 am

I guess I missed the fact that you found a wam. Awesome, congrats. I have been looking for a wam and cam for a long tme. You don't know how many resumed finds these guys said that weren't when I posted one I thought that was many years ago. I am still looking pennies a bazillion, me 0. I took a little time off from coins but have been migrating back into it as I looked at boxes of unsearched pennies around the living room. Horrible. lol As for the wam Daniel is correct in a way. If you are looking to sell the coin or have the goal to get it graded then yes UNC MS68 if it grades there you got it made, anything less, it probably isn't worth the money it will cost you to have it attributed and graded. Now if it is nice, want it graded and slabbed for yourself then it doesn't matter what the grade is. Now if you are like me, I hunt for the hunt. For instance, if I have a UNC MS70 wam I would put it in a flip and call it good. I am not after the money things, to me I want to find every example of the varieties listed for a particular date. Now I say that but if I am sitting with that MS70 I would probably send it in for attub and grading but not sell it. Unless we are talking about like high 5 figures or above. So to me, if it is a gunky dirty ol' coin but I can confirm that the coin is a wam or cam confirmed with the markers/initials, other variety or errors I like I keep it. It is just for me. Just a feather in my cap. But to me, it is cool to find just a filled letter but find the progression where you can see the beginning and the coins as it fills. Most collectors could care less or have ever seen one. I have seen some pretty cool progression and they are cool! I would love to find a crack progression. Now post mint damaged coins I don't mess with. Get the coin books and always upgrade your coins with a better grade coin but don't get rid of that old coin. Who knows you may want to start a book for your kids, or grandkid like I am doing, neighbor kid, niece, nephew the lists goes on and on. Whatever type of a collector you are the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy it. People can search their whole lives and not ever find that one big $ coin and then one person can buy a single roll or check his pocket chance and find a life-changing coin.
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Re: Sorting Keepers From Spenders?

#6 Unread post by Snyderart » Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:39 pm

pahwa wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:50 am
I guess I missed the fact that you found a wam. Awesome, congrats. I have been looking for a wam and cam for a long tme. You don't know how many resumed finds these guys said that weren't when I posted one I thought that was many years ago. I am still looking pennies a bazillion, me 0. I took a little time off from coins but have been migrating back into it as I looked at boxes of unsearched pennies around the living room. Horrible. lol As for the wam Daniel is correct in a way. If you are looking to sell the coin or have the goal to get it graded then yes UNC MS68 if it grades there you got it made, anything less, it probably isn't worth the money it will cost you to have it attributed and graded. Now if it is nice, want it graded and slabbed for yourself then it doesn't matter what the grade is. Now if you are like me, I hunt for the hunt. For instance, if I have a UNC MS70 wam I would put it in a flip and call it good. I am not after the money things, to me I want to find every example of the varieties listed for a particular date. Now I say that but if I am sitting with that MS70 I would probably send it in for attub and grading but not sell it. Unless we are talking about like high 5 figures or above. So to me, if it is a gunky dirty ol' coin but I can confirm that the coin is a wam or cam confirmed with the markers/initials, other variety or errors I like I keep it. It is just for me. Just a feather in my cap. But to me, it is cool to find just a filled letter but find the progression where you can see the beginning and the coins as it fills. Most collectors could care less or have ever seen one. I have seen some pretty cool progression and they are cool! I would love to find a crack progression. Now post mint damaged coins I don't mess with. Get the coin books and always upgrade your coins with a better grade coin but don't get rid of that old coin. Who knows you may want to start a book for your kids, or grandkid like I am doing, neighbor kid, niece, nephew the lists goes on and on. Whatever type of a collector you are the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy it. People can search their whole lives and not ever find that one big $ coin and then one person can buy a single roll or check his pocket chance and find a life-changing coin.
Yeah, I was pretty excited when the 1998 WAM showed up. I had to do a double take, then check it again. Yep, it's a WAM!
1998 Wide AM.jpeg
I just got started so I have no interest in selling anything right now. Plus, from what I've seen all over the web, it's risky business sending in coins to get graded that you're not absolutely sure will make the grade you have in mind. I'm collecting for the fun of it. I have the books full and replacing as I go and looking for errors. I'm putting the really nice ones in flips and storing the others in rolls. All of the higher grade pennies I'm finding in this bunch, I'm tucking away. Who knows, the Lincoln Memorial Cents will one day be the next wheaties! As far as collecting for the fun of it and not getting rid of old coins, I'm finding myself drawn to the deep orange/red ones that are just beginning to turn brown. They look like they are cut out of amber. Most are low to high AU coins, but I love the look of them. I've gathered a quite a set of those so far. I think once I'm done with this batch of pennies, I won't want to see another penny for a long time. I've got a gallon Ziplock bag each of quarters and dimes waiting for me after the pennies are done.

Good luck with the WAM/CAM search and happy hunting!!!!

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Re: Sorting Keepers From Spenders?

#7 Unread post by pahwa » Thu Nov 21, 2019 2:27 am

It sounds like you have a plan. One thing, but you probably already do this but each time you search your coins, and it sounds like you have sorted them, you cannot clean your hands enough. Once you have washed the outer couple layers of skin off (j/k) be sure to wear cotton gloves to search your coins. Especially the BU's, UNC's, those ones you like the rich color, copper or red mirrors. One partial fingerprint will ruin a coin's grade. Gunk off of dirty grimy coins can transfer to those shiny high-grade coins too. It doesn't take anything to take a coin from MS 67+ to MS 67 and then each grade lower. That plus could mean 100$ or 1000$ in value. I recommend and again there are people in here with a ton more experience than I have, but if I find a coin with exceptional qualities I will immediately put it into a 2X2 flip to protect it the best I can. Hold everything by the rim if you can as well. But gloves are a necessity in my opinion. I am fortunate living in an agriculturical I could buy very lightweight cotton gloves by the dozen very cheap. More disposable than anything else. Anyway enjoy the hobby and good luck, you found a WAM, there is more in there, no doubt about it. ;)
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Re: Sorting Keepers From Spenders?

#8 Unread post by Djaramillo2911 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:08 am

Wow.... How exciting!! You can never be bored or say you have nothing to do... Lol
I get excited just searching through a single penny roll!!!

Have fun with your findings

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Re: Sorting Keepers From Spenders?

#9 Unread post by BABAKAFSHAR » Sun Nov 24, 2019 5:46 pm

You got it right so far. An AU coin is the one that has some minor wear on the high spots and can be without any dings or scratches and MS coin has no wear on high points but can have a lot of dings or contacts mark from other coins during the handling and... most important things in grading them is luster, if you check graded coins online you will see some coins with dings or scratch but they have a higher grade than another one just like it with no dings or scratch, that’s just because of the better luster and by better luster I mean the coin has to glow when you hold it under light and you have to be able to see dark spots on your coin which has to change immediately as you turn your coins around.

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Re: Sorting Keepers From Spenders?

#10 Unread post by Snyderart » Fri Dec 13, 2019 1:24 pm

Thanks for everyone's help in this thread. To get further answers to my grading questions, I put "MAKING THE GRADE: Comprehensive Grading Guide for U.S. Coins" by Beth Deisher and the "Official ANA Grading Standards for United States Coins" on my Christmas list. I also found the "U.S. Coins Mega Red" (3rd Edition) book at a local thrift store for $3.00. Couldn't pass it up! I also attended my first coin show last weekend. My goal wasn't to purchase anything, but to ask questions and look at slabbed coins and see how they were graded by the TPG companies. I spoke with an ANA representative for over an hour and he steered me in the right direction. A few dealers were very helpful in pointing out what they look for when grading their coins and showing me examples from their table. Overall, I think my visit to the show was a success.

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