Why Are Nice Coins So Hard to Find?

October 28, 2012 in Coins, Gold, Gold Coins, USA Coins

By Doug Winter On October 24, 2012 (

Douglas Winter Numismatics.

When I’m at shows or talking to collectors and dealers over the phone, I hear a common refrain: nice coins are very hard to find. This appears to be the case in nearly all strongly collected series, be it Indian Cents, Civil War era gold or Morgan Dollars. I have a few theories about this which I’d like to share.

The first is simple: not everyone has the same concept of what is a “nice” coin. I like dirty, original 18th and 19th century gold and a coin with the aesthetics that I find appealing is clearly not going to be the same for someone who likes coins that are bright and shiny.

I don’t think the moaning about a lack of nice coins is new and I’m guessing that collectors in 1912 were complaining in some of the same ways that collectors in 2012 are.

Let me share a theory with you that is basically speculative but which I think has some real merit. As I have stated many times, grading is a continuum. A “grade” is actually a range which can be expansive. As an example, let’s look at the MS63 grade.

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