Defining “Coin Doctoring” and a busy Central States coin show

By Steve Roach -
First published in the May 14, 2012, issue of Coin World

The just-completed Central States Numismatic Society convention represented a busy week for the rare coin market. On April 17 at the show, the Professional Numismatists Guild’s definition of "coin doctoring" was approved.

Finding a single definition for such a wide range of activities has been problematic in that there is often a fine line between acceptable conservation and unacceptable enhancement. PNG’s final three-point definition is notable for being easy to read and understand from a consumer standpoint, and it enjoyed near universal acceptance from the PNG member-dealers in attendance.

Assuming that the definition is accepted and followed by market-making dealers who create wholesale markets and sell coins to the end-consumer, it is an effective tool for combatting a widespread problem. "Doctoring" harms coin buyers, and can cause long-term and irreparable damage to the coins themselves.

For the coin market, the Central States show was consistent with the pattern of the past year: selective strength at the high end, a surplus of mid-range pre-1933 classic generic U.S. gold coins, broad-based participation in the auctions and dealers lamenting that no fresh, high-quality coins were available to purchase.

On the auction front, Heritage Auctions’ Platinum Night on April 19 brought in just over $12 million. Heritage’s 2012 CSNS coin auction floor total of nearly $22.9 million was comparable to its 2011 CSNS sale total of $25.6 million.

Besides the obvious high-achievers like classic expensive Coronet Proof gold coins, continued interest was exhibited at auction for high-grade, finest-known coins from registry set collectors.

For example, a colorful 1962-D Washington quarter dollar graded Mint State 67 by Professional Coin Grading Service sold for an astounding $18,400. PCGS has graded just one other example in this grade and it is an example of a conditionally rare but otherwise common coin. An average Mint State example of the date typically trades at a shade above bullion value.

Another Washington quarter dollar — this one dated 1932 and also one of the two graded MS-67 at PCGS — brought $40,250. At the same auction an example graded MS-66 by PCGS with a Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker realized $1,380 while an MS-65 example sold for $233.45.

About the Author:

Each week Steve writes the hobby’s most widely-read coin market analysis in Coin World, the world’s largest coin publication where he is associate editor. Steve has worked with ANACS, Christie's, Heritage Rare Coin Galleries and Heritage Auctions. He is also an art appraiser and dealer with experience in estate planning and collectibles, and is an accredited member of the International Society of Appraisers. Visit him online at or follow him on Twitter @roachdotsteve

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