tab1962 wrote:I will go to the local coin dealer store near my house and inspect the coin first along with the PCGS cert. No more mail orders...
Local inspection is always best, but seldom will it find the coins you may be looking for. We've all been burned at this. You just have to learn to "read" the pictures, or ask for more! Don't be concerned about ruffling feathers... there are just too many scams out there. Always ensure there is a return policy! Once you find a good dealer, let them know why you like them and treasure them. If the coin is going to cost you a lot, it should be slabbed, unless you have a good return policy and the equipment to inspect it. Slabbed only means the coin is genuine... nothing else. Paul's example is great! It is slabbed, has environmental damage and a gouge, yet earned a MS66.
When you start photographing your coins... it'll happen... you'll find how much you can manipulate the photos, which helps you recognize false coloring, blurred areas, etc.
I congratulate you for stepping out and desiring a quality Indian Head Cent! One of my favorite coins! But, when buying raw, it is best to have:
1. Experience looking at the local dealers coins for the type of coin you want.
2. Large, clear photos of the coin.
3. A simple digi-cam microscope ($25) to learn some photography of coins.
4. Books!!! If you don't have the books, then ask the local dealer to show you coin characteristics in his books that you think are questionable. (ie. Is it a Closed 3 or an Open 3) Any good dealer will be happy to show you.
Of course, I have some examples of raw coins (IHC and George) and slabbed coin (Kennedy) I use to show how photos can be "altered". Each type coin below is the same coin photo'd with a different technique. Which one do you think the seller would use to get you to buy the coin? That's not even trying to post-process the photos other than cropping and putting them together.
Last comments... If you want some help BEFORE you buy the coin, just post the seller's picture here and the guys/gals will be happy to give you their verdict! I've saved a lot of bucks not buying cleaned coins based on picture feedback.
That coin dealer that stated it was "chemically" cleaned... well, do you trust his opinion? Or, was he trying to get you to sell the coin for a loss? Get a second opinion.