Scott V. writes: I’ve recently purchased some commemorative certified coins from various sources over the net. In a few cases, I’ve seen MS65-66 coins that are almost black with tarnish or that have various unattractive tonings. Does eye appeal not have importance for the grading services? Also, are they as impartial in their grading as is assumed? Thanks.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but grading is a qualitative call. Don’t buy the coin, no matter what the grade, if YOU don’t find it pleasing. I personally don’t like black coins because they don’t reflect light making it difficult to see the surface and luster. However, most coins will have some oxide coating and therefore some patina. Blazing white 19th century coins are suspect as they were probably dipped in antioxidant. Though some collectors want their coins to be untoned, dipping them will eventually ruin them. The grading services generally do a decent job considering that grading is such a subjective art. I still want to evaluate the coin myself. I guess I’m picky!