Gentle Present: Misleading on-line images


Hover to zoom.

As an skilled on-line coin purchaser, I perceive how numismatic pictures may be unintentionally or, every now and then, deliberately deceptive. It’s my duty, nonetheless, to know the situation, grading, and tips of sunshine.

I contemplate myself an skilled grader, as my earlier articles would possibly attest. Right here is considered one of my first columns in Coin Replace, a 2009 publish about grading abilities.

If at a coin store or present, or in particular person at an public sale, I can inform upon seeing a uncooked coin whether or not it would grade at PCGS or NGC and, in that case, how excessive, inside a degree or so on the 70-point Sheldon Scale.

However regardless of my prowess, I do know that what I see on-line on eBay, Proxibid, HiBid, and different venues, won’t be what I get if I win a coin.

Thus, when you don’t know learn how to grade or are inexperienced in numismatic abilities, bid on cash holdered by PCGS, NGC, ANACS, or ICG. Keep away from the lower-tiered slabs or simply contemplate the cash inside as uncooked.

In a 2012 Coin Replace publish, annoyed by inferior web images of cash, I graded picture samples from A to F and shared these fundamentals, which nonetheless maintain right this moment:

  1. By no means buy cash from an internet vendor who solely pictures one facet of a coin. The obverse may be deep-mirror Prooflike, or DMPL, and the reverse boring and tooled.
  2. All the time ask a vendor or auctioneer about any flaws you watched omitted from the official description, resembling whether or not a coin was as soon as a part of jewellery or whether or not a scratch is on the coin or the holder.
  3. All the time learn evaluations of the vendor or auctioneer to see what different patrons have skilled.
  4. Suppose twice earlier than patronizing a vendor or auctioneer who hypes descriptions of cash or inflates their values, resembling quoting Pink E-book values on self-slabbed cash.

The issue now is just not inferior images, as the standard of numismatic pictures has developed with Adobe Photoshop and different software program. The problem now’s a picture that elevates the situation of a coin by obscuring flaws or inflating luster and eye enchantment.

If I think {that a} picture has been enhanced, normally by manipulating publicity or lighting, I don’t bid, particularly on eBay, except the vendor permits returns. Listed below are two current experiences.

I bought a number of cash from a vendor with an excellent 100% constructive ranking. As I seen every coin, I took benefit of eBay’s magnifier by holding the pc cursor over the complete floor of a coin. I may see some flaws that had been obscured by lighting however determined to go together with the vendor’s descriptions, no less than partly.

A number of of his cash had been excellent, and I stored these. However I did return a couple of, together with this 1903 Morgan greenback:

Once I acquired the coin, I used to be dissatisfied, not with the cartwheel (though luster wasn’t nearly as good as depicted right here), however with the issues that the lighting had hidden:

My very own digicam has a faint yellow tint, so dismiss that. However take a look at the extreme marks by the nostril and cheek. Unacceptable.

One other coin depicted an excellent 1891 toned quarter greenback, and the rainbow was precisely captured.

I defy you to search out the flaw by Girl Liberty’s shoe on the lower-right area of the coin.

Right here’s what I discovered once I acquired the coin:

As the highest picture exhibits, there was a pin scratch that might stop this coin from incomes a PCGS grade. As an alternative, it was getting a particulars scratch label. Unacceptable.

Take into account that I did hold a number of cash from this vendor, a top-notch skilled. I in all probability will purchase cash once more from him. He graciously accepted the returns and supplied a mailing label. That’s ever so necessary today. I keep away from sellers who don’t settle for returns, and I solely return cash when flaws are obscured by some means by digital pictures.

Lighting additionally performs a key position in questionable on-line images. Right here’s one from one other vendor who describes the coin as “extremely cameo! enormous DCAM!” And it actually appears so:

The coin I acquired had a slight cameo and didn’t take a look at all as within the above picture. Nonetheless, as a result of I received the coin near silver soften, I made a decision to maintain it. Right here’s a snapshot:

To indicate how lighting can recreate cameo, watch this video regarding the above coin and be particularly cautious on what you bid on and why. You won’t get what you paid for:

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