Increasingly as I scour coin auctions, I am amazed at how both auctioneers and bidders overlook outright mistakes and flaws. There is a distinct lack of numismatic skill more evident than ever on the Internet.
First and foremost, you have to know what you are looking at and why you are bidding. Don’t rely on the auctioneer.
Here’s a perfect example:
Look at the description…
And now the coin…
Find the flaw(s) that determine whether you will bid (answer at the end of this post).
Here’s a close-up of the reverse. Find the flaw(s):
You’ll find the answer at the end of this post.
And now for the third flaw on the reverse of this 1887-O New Orleans Morgan dollar. Find where it is:
Again, answers at the end of this post.
To help your numismatic skill of finding the flaw, access these visual word puzzles:
Visit this website.
Visit this link for more about the above puzzle.
Here’s a really difficult one:
The more time you take to solve these puzzles, the more you will look skeptically at online coins for auction.
Now for the flaws of the above coins.
This is not a small date but a large date. See this link for the difference.
Here’s the flaw, a pin scratch. (The item sold for $1,100 — way too much for a damaged large date 1864 two-cent coin):
How about the 1889 Morgan? Did you catch the problematic “S” (or just plain graffiti where the mint mark should be)?
And finally the flaw in the 1887-O New Orleans Morgan dollar:
A rim ding so severe that this coin probably won’t grade.
You have to inspect each coin as you would a word puzzle. Know the coins first, viewing Coin Update regularly as well as other numismatic publications. And then hone your eyesight so that you catch a flaw and stop bidding.
Otherwise, you’re wasting hobbyist funds.