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Bimetallic

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  1. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from Coolsmp in Cleaning Mexican Libertads   
    Looks like it could be standard silver tarnish, the cleaning of which is well understood. For the record, silver tarnish is extremely common on pure silver (999 or 9999).
    You're getting bad advice so far. Never use dips or silver cleaning products on bullion. Try soap and water first. If it's still there it's probably tarnish. Then use the aluminum foil and baking soda method:
    Boil some water. Line a plastic or glass bowl with aluminum foil, or use a disposable aluminum foil pan (pie tart pans and single-serving meatloaf pans are ideal) Toss in a tablespoon of baking soda, and a teaspoon of salt (preferably pure salt if you have it – this would be canning and pickling salt). Then pour in the water. Place one coin in, let it rest on the aluminum foil at bottom. Flip it after about 20 seconds, wait another 20, then remove. Your tarnish will be gone. Rinse with water, towel dry, let them air out for a bit before putting them in capsules or Ziploc snack bags (smaller than sandwich bags – ideal).
  2. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from bubbateux in Canadian buyer   
    I can't overstate how bad an idea this is. As far as I've been able to determine, there is never any reason to buy from Kitco under normal circumstances. Three reasons:
    Their prices are significantly higher than many competitors, especially compared to top competitors like Silver.com, BGASC, and SDBullion. Their shipping fees are out of this world. $15 for 30 day delivery? What kind of carrier would take 30 days, or even 20, giving Kitco 10 days to clear a check or whatever they need to do? Will someone arrive at your door on horseback? 30 days? And they charge $35 for "Standard" 3-4 day shipping. Both of these figures are wildly out of step with the market. You can't actually buy normal bullion from Kitco most of the time. For example, try to find a standard 2018 BU Silver Maple Leaf on their website. There isn't one. They sell a "random year" Maple, and they sell rolls of 25 "MintFirst" 2018 Maples. But unlike every other dealer I know of, they don't sell normal, new 2018 Maples straight up, in singles and up. The "MintFirst" business is a gimmick that has spread like wildfire throughout the industry over the past couple of years. Kitco calls is MintFirst. APMEX calls it MintDirect. SDBullion calls it MintCertified. They all seem to mean the same thing. These terms basically translate into "new". They take the rolls from the mints and put a "tamper-evident seal" on them, what you and I would call "tape". Some of them, like APMEX, will sell singles as MintDirect, where they ever so carefully remove a coin from a roll and seal it in a plastic package. It's a gimmick, the kind of thing an MBA would think of to extract more money from customers, and possibly exploits people with OCD over the possibility that their coins had even been touched by human hands... Kitco's prices are bad, but their shipping costs take them out of the picture entirely. There are many, many dealers that will beat Kitco on price, and who don't use horses for 30 day delivery.
    I want to be blunt here. So many people on these boards overpay for bullion and even as a social psychologist I'm dumbfounded by it. When you invest in silver, buy from the dealer with the lowest prices (assuming they're established dealers – any of the major dealers). Pay less, not more. The margins in this business are thin. Be disciplined. Never buy from Kitco or APMEX unless they have a great sale (which they may never have). Buy from the lowest price dealers. I don't understand all you guys who are lighting your money on fire paying more than you have to for silver. Use the internet. Use my upcoming price comparison article. Pay the bare minimum, since we're talking about identical products that are the same across all dealers.
  3. Like
    Bimetallic reacted to ZatStackz in Storage system for my collection/ stack?   
    https://www.onfireguy.com
    I just went through the process of ordering capsules.  They have the same price as air-tites.com for the 25 pack but they had free shipping.
    https://www.airtiteholders.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html
    They are the actual manufacturer of air-tite capsules. If you order over $50 of stuff from them, they ship free.
  4. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from itslikegolddust in Storage system for my collection/ stack?   
    If you use slips or flips, or an album with the same, you'll want to put them or the album in an airtight container like @SouthCoastInvestor does. And anti-tarnish strips or bags work well.
    For small numbers of items, ziploc bags are quite adequate. I especially like the "snack bag" size, which is smaller than sandwich bags and therefore less flippy-floppy for 2-3 rounds. You could throw an anti-tarnish strip in the bag for good measure, but so far I've found that the bag's seal is enough to keep the contents pristine.
    When you think about storage, I recommend thinking about security as well. It would suck if a burglar stole your stack. Here's a brilliant video on how to securely store your stack.
  5. Thanks
    Bimetallic got a reaction from intelinside in Storage system for my collection/ stack?   
    As far as coin capsules are concerned, they're sure to be cheaper on Amazon than from APMEX. APMEX prices aren't competitive for anything, so I recommend avoiding them in favor of dealers like SD Bullion, Silver.com, and BOLD Precious Metals (see my article comparing North American dealer prices for different bullion order scenarios).
    Air-tites.com also has lower nominal prices for capsules, typically 55 cents for small orders, 50 cents each for 100 capsules, and 36 cents each for 250. However, they overcharge for shipping, so I'm not clear how their true prices compare to Amazon. You'll have to do the math for your specific volume. The applicable links are:
    Small orders: https://www.air-tites.com/Air-Tite_Direct_Fit_Coin_Holders.htm
    "Wholesale" orders (100, 250, etc.): https://www.air-tites.com/Wholesale_Direct_Fit_Air-Tite_Coin_Holders.htm
    Their shipping charges are alarming, especially this message near the top of their site: "$9.95 Promo Shipping on orders $50 and over!" Ouch! That's pretty much the opposite of a shipping promo, and it makes me wonder what they charge for orders under $50.00. In any case, they're overcharging because it doesn't cost anywhere near that much to ship what they're shipping, especially if they use USPS First Class Package Service. Again, you'll have to do the math for your scenario and compare their total price (in their checkout screen probably) with what you find on Amazon.
  6. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from itslikegolddust in Storage system for my collection/ stack?   
    If you use slips or flips, or an album with the same, you'll want to put them or the album in an airtight container like @SouthCoastInvestor does. And anti-tarnish strips or bags work well.
    For small numbers of items, ziploc bags are quite adequate. I especially like the "snack bag" size, which is smaller than sandwich bags and therefore less flippy-floppy for 2-3 rounds. You could throw an anti-tarnish strip in the bag for good measure, but so far I've found that the bag's seal is enough to keep the contents pristine.
    When you think about storage, I recommend thinking about security as well. It would suck if a burglar stole your stack. Here's a brilliant video on how to securely store your stack.
  7. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from itslikegolddust in Storage system for my collection/ stack?   
    If you use slips or flips, or an album with the same, you'll want to put them or the album in an airtight container like @SouthCoastInvestor does. And anti-tarnish strips or bags work well.
    For small numbers of items, ziploc bags are quite adequate. I especially like the "snack bag" size, which is smaller than sandwich bags and therefore less flippy-floppy for 2-3 rounds. You could throw an anti-tarnish strip in the bag for good measure, but so far I've found that the bag's seal is enough to keep the contents pristine.
    When you think about storage, I recommend thinking about security as well. It would suck if a burglar stole your stack. Here's a brilliant video on how to securely store your stack.
  8. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from KDave in anyone stacking for SHTF?   
    Negative, bro. Hardly anyone owns silver (or gold), which means that it won't be used as currency in a SHTF or zombie apocalypse situation. You can't trade what you don't have, and most people simply don't have it.
    In Puerto Rico, cash was king during their power outage. In a prolonged SHTF situation, I think clean water, food, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, ammunition, and fuel will be the currency or barter goods.
  9. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from Lr103 in My North American dealer price comparison article   
    Hi all -- I finished my research on North American online dealers. The article is here.
    My spreadsheet with all the prices is linked an article.
    In the article, I also discuss what you can do to reduce your net price if you absolutely have to use a credit card. And I discuss the carrier programs that allow you to take more control over your shipments from dealers and reduce the chance of theft. Enjoy, and let me know if I should add any dealers.
  10. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from Lr103 in My North American dealer price comparison article   
    Hi all -- I finished my research on North American online dealers. The article is here.
    My spreadsheet with all the prices is linked an article.
    In the article, I also discuss what you can do to reduce your net price if you absolutely have to use a credit card. And I discuss the carrier programs that allow you to take more control over your shipments from dealers and reduce the chance of theft. Enjoy, and let me know if I should add any dealers.
  11. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from KevinFlynn in Shortage of privately minted silver?   
    Hi all -- I received a very interesting email from Provident Metals today (they're a major American dealer). It has significant implications, and instead of trying to summarize it I'm just going to share the whole thing:

    -----------
    The bullion marketplace has two sides – and sometimes they can act very differently from each other. What do we mean by that? There are two ways to trade precious metals: physical product and paper metal. The former category is what Provident does: buying and selling bullion in the form of coins, bars, ingots, rounds, etc. When we enter into a transaction, actual metal is bought, sold, and physically transferred. In the paper market, however, bullion is traded in the form of futures contracts, ETFs, derivatives, and other promises.

    In theory, both the physical and paper markets involve buying and selling metal. However, there’s one major difference. In the paper world, it’s easy to lose sight of how much physical metal actually exists. Traders can (and often do) buy or sell more metal than is readily available in the physical marketplace. Exchanges like the CME publish how much metal exists in approved warehouses versus the number of open futures contracts. More often than not, traders have agreed to buy or sell MUCH more metal than is available in the physical market

    Why are we mentioning this today?

    In recent months, the supply of newly-minted physical silver has steadily declined. In fact, it appears that demand is far outpacing the amount of coins and bars available. Granted there are numerous factors in play, but there’s one major reason for this supply shock. Two of North America’s largest precious metals refiners have shuttered – and no one has filled the void. Over the past two years, Dallas-based Elemetal and Miami-based Republic Metals have both ceased operations.

    Private mints like Elemetal and Republic played a vital role in the bullion marketplace. While there are numerous world mints that can belt out coins, only a select few facilities are available to make low-premium bars and rounds. It’s no surprise that just a handful of companies are available to serve this role. The silver bullion market is intensely competitive with exceptionally tight margins; it requires a tremendous amount of capital, patience, and infrastructure.

    Consider what goes into making just one silver round. A private mint must buy raw metal, refine it to 99.9% purity, form it into thin sheets, stamp out blanks, mint the blanks, package the rounds into tubes, and then ship them to distributors. This process requires maintaining a large staff and buying extremely expensive machinery. Furthermore, it’s a cash-intensive process; all of this metal must be carried and financed while it’s being fabricated into product.

    All of this effort is worthwhile when the market is upbeat and healthy. During periods of strong demand, private mints enjoy an excellent flow of orders. Even though the margins are thin, they benefit from strong volume and non-stop activity. However, when conditions are quiet, mints are stuck with massive overheads and fixed costs. It’s truly a “feast or famine” existence for private mints – and this might be why so few exist in the United States.

    While it’s unclear exactly what led to the downfall of Republic Metals, they were one of the few refineries willing to produce low-premium silver rounds and bars. Following their departure, it’s become increasing difficult to source this product. Low-premium silver has become extremely scarce in the marketplace. While Provident is able to offer a wide variety of live rounds and bars, many refineries are quoting a 2-6 week delay for new orders!

    A Look Ahead

    There are two potential outcomes to this scenario. The first is that premiums will rise as inventories dwindle. The harder it become to find live silver, the more buyers will pay for it. Secondly, refining capacity may catch up with demand. The existing field of private mints will expand production, run more shifts, and find a way to satisfy the growing need. While it’s possible that new firms would enter the market, the massive capital and infrastructure requirement will be a barrier to entry. It seems unlikely that more private mints will open any time soon.

    What does all this mean for you as a silver buyer?

    Chances are that low-premium silver will be increasingly scarce in coming months. Refineries have been caught off-guard and did not anticipate this surge of demand. Between renewed interest in precious metals – and two major firms existing the market – a shortfall of product has developed. Mints will do their best to catch up and increase the output of supply, but in the interim, it’s more likely that premiums will head higher.

    The bullion market is more active now than six months ago, but it remains a far cry from what it was a few years ago. During periods of intense demand, silver bars and rounds have traded for close to $2/oz over spot. Now, today, many top-quality products can be had for less than a $1 premium. If you’re looking to add cost-effective silver to your holdings, now may represent an excellent time to lock in. Between upwardly trending spot prices and rising premiums, we see multiple reasons why silver could be more expensive soon.
  12. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from KDave in anyone stacking for SHTF?   
    Negative, bro. Hardly anyone owns silver (or gold), which means that it won't be used as currency in a SHTF or zombie apocalypse situation. You can't trade what you don't have, and most people simply don't have it.
    In Puerto Rico, cash was king during their power outage. In a prolonged SHTF situation, I think clean water, food, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, ammunition, and fuel will be the currency or barter goods.
  13. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from KevinFlynn in Here's a systematic price comparison spreadsheet for North America   
    Hi all -- Tomorrow I'll publish my article comparing silver online dealer prices in North America. In the meantime, you can check out the Google spreadsheet here. I notice a lot of people overpay for metal, hence the article and spreadsheet.

    The prices were gathered on New Year's Day, when silver trading was suspended for most of the day, and the spot price hovered around 15.45 USD. The point of the spreadsheet is not to provide right now prices, since we'd need live feeds or APIs to do that in an automated way. Rather, the point is to show relative prices, comparing dealers to each other at a time when the spot price was stable.

    These relative prices are consistent beyond New Year's Day. SD Bullion and Silver.com consistently offer the best or near-best prices for most items, especially coins like the ASE, Maple Leaf, Britannia, and Kangaroo (I call these the Four Eyes countries, which is the Five Eyes minus New Zealand).

    The spreadsheet includes those four coins bundled into Order 1 (one of each coin), with shipping added. It then punches through the free shipping threshold of most dealers ($99) by showing some six ounce orders, then 10 ASE, 20 ASE, a monster box of ASE, cheapest 10 oz bar, 10 oz Royal Canadian Mint bar, 10 oz Britannia bar (which are a great value right now; low premiums), cheapest kilo bar, and a Freedom Girl round.

    With the exception of the Freedom Girl, I skipped rounds because the brands and mints vary so much by dealer (or they have anonymous mintage), and they're not as prized as coins and bars. Freedom Girl was designed by artist Heidi Wastweet, and I think it's one of the most beautiful round/coin designs I've ever seen.

    I earn affiliate commissions from some dealers, but I let the chips fall where they did regardless of affiliate opportunities -- for example, Silver.com has no affiliate program, but they did very well and you should always check in with them (and SD Bullion) when you shop around.

    I still have some minor clean-up to do with the spreadsheet, but it should be quite usable in its current form. As you can see, some dealers don't offer all four of the above-mentioned coins. Some don't offer specific year, or current year coins -- they just sell random year, which is going to be secondary market (previously owned). I put NA in those cases. It breaks the spreadsheet's computation for Order 1, but that's fine – the computation should be aborted for any dealer that can't actually fill the order, though I wish I could figure out how to replace the error message with NA.

    Thoughts? Feedback? Let me know what you think. Perhaps there are other orders I should include, or other dealers? (I'll write subsequent articles comparing dealers in Oceania and Europe/UK, as well as gold in every major region.)
  14. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from KevinFlynn in Here's a systematic price comparison spreadsheet for North America   
    Hi all -- Tomorrow I'll publish my article comparing silver online dealer prices in North America. In the meantime, you can check out the Google spreadsheet here. I notice a lot of people overpay for metal, hence the article and spreadsheet.

    The prices were gathered on New Year's Day, when silver trading was suspended for most of the day, and the spot price hovered around 15.45 USD. The point of the spreadsheet is not to provide right now prices, since we'd need live feeds or APIs to do that in an automated way. Rather, the point is to show relative prices, comparing dealers to each other at a time when the spot price was stable.

    These relative prices are consistent beyond New Year's Day. SD Bullion and Silver.com consistently offer the best or near-best prices for most items, especially coins like the ASE, Maple Leaf, Britannia, and Kangaroo (I call these the Four Eyes countries, which is the Five Eyes minus New Zealand).

    The spreadsheet includes those four coins bundled into Order 1 (one of each coin), with shipping added. It then punches through the free shipping threshold of most dealers ($99) by showing some six ounce orders, then 10 ASE, 20 ASE, a monster box of ASE, cheapest 10 oz bar, 10 oz Royal Canadian Mint bar, 10 oz Britannia bar (which are a great value right now; low premiums), cheapest kilo bar, and a Freedom Girl round.

    With the exception of the Freedom Girl, I skipped rounds because the brands and mints vary so much by dealer (or they have anonymous mintage), and they're not as prized as coins and bars. Freedom Girl was designed by artist Heidi Wastweet, and I think it's one of the most beautiful round/coin designs I've ever seen.

    I earn affiliate commissions from some dealers, but I let the chips fall where they did regardless of affiliate opportunities -- for example, Silver.com has no affiliate program, but they did very well and you should always check in with them (and SD Bullion) when you shop around.

    I still have some minor clean-up to do with the spreadsheet, but it should be quite usable in its current form. As you can see, some dealers don't offer all four of the above-mentioned coins. Some don't offer specific year, or current year coins -- they just sell random year, which is going to be secondary market (previously owned). I put NA in those cases. It breaks the spreadsheet's computation for Order 1, but that's fine – the computation should be aborted for any dealer that can't actually fill the order, though I wish I could figure out how to replace the error message with NA.

    Thoughts? Feedback? Let me know what you think. Perhaps there are other orders I should include, or other dealers? (I'll write subsequent articles comparing dealers in Oceania and Europe/UK, as well as gold in every major region.)
  15. Thanks
    Bimetallic got a reaction from Don626 in Storing   
    My uncle built his own home. I think he served as his own general contractor and contracted out the specialty work (electric, plumbing, concrete foundation, etc.). This is not uncommon in the US. Anyway, he built a hidden storage nook/room in his closet, with a hidden door. It was pretty neat. They were never burglarized, so we never got to find out if it worked... You don't need to build a house from scratch to build a false wall/hidden nook.
    With silver storage one thing to keep in mind is that, unlike gold, silver tarnishes if it's not sealed. It's very disappointing to see on new(ish) silver coins. An economical solution is ziploc bags. I especially like the snack bags size, which is smaller than a sandwich bag. You can put a couple of coins or bars in each bag, and probably not worry about tarnish. Of course, you could put all your coins in capsules, but that's more expensive. If you'll end up with a large stack, it can be economical to buy capsules in bulk.
  16. Like
    Bimetallic reacted to Pete in Which silver is best to buy when price is so low?   
    Don't we Brits just love the exchange of info from fellow USA stackers, debating the dollar over premium prices they have to fork out etc when we have to do our outmost to avoid a tax premium of 20%. Not only can our USA cousins buy cents over spot they can often get free delivery as well , not to mention the many second-hand coin shops where you can really get a bargain and not be screwed as we are over here.
  17. Haha
    Bimetallic got a reaction from Ablist in Automated coin grading   
    But an automated system wouldn't be subjective, at least not in the normal sense we use that word. Of course anyone could say that in their opinion a coin is a higher grade than my hypothetical Automated Coin Grading system determined, but that's not a knock on automated grading. That's just shady people.
  18. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from JCRJM in Automated coin grading   
    Hi all -- I've been thinking about the prospect of automated coin grading. Slabbed coins from PCGS and NGC seem overly expensive, and people here have been reporting problems with them (e.g. the recent red spots thread).
    Would you personally prefer an automated solution, if it was cheaper? By automated, I mean computerized, using machine vision and perhaps various multispectral scans of the coin beyond human vision. I know a bit about machine vision, and an automated solution to coin grading seems inevitable. I think it would be a somewhat easy task for machine vision experts, relative to the kinds of problems they solve currently, like understanding what's in an arbitrary photograph (faces, people, sky, balls, grass, cars, etc.). Coin grading would be a smaller, more delimited problem for them – the software would always know what coin it was grading and what it's supposed to look like at various levels of quality. It wouldn't have to worry about arbitrary objects in an image.
    I'd be all for it if it cost a couple of dollars. It would also be nice if a service offered a more careful slabbing process, using a nitrogen atmosphere or vacuum sealing.
  19. Thanks
    Bimetallic reacted to greendragon in Would you rather have tarnish resistant silver alloy than pure silver?   
    do we really think maples,Britannia,s and Queen,s Beasts will be melted when we sell them?
    dealers may only pay spot price for them ,but would they turn down the chance to sell them again with 30 or 40 % added?
    if they are selling on, it is irrelevant  what it is alloyed with.
     
     
  20. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from MickD in Would you rather have tarnish resistant silver alloy than pure silver?   
    Hi all -- Take a look at Argentium Silver to see what I mean. It comes in 935 and 960 fineness. 935 exceeds the sterling standard (925), and 960 exceeds the classic Britannia standard (958). Argentium is much more tarnish resistant than 999 or 9999 fine silver.
    I think the key alloying metal is germanium.
    Would you rather have bars and rounds made of this? I'm leaning yes. They're also harder and less scratch prone, and the metal looks great.
    Problem: They probably charge some kind of licensing fee, which would increase the premiums on these things.
    Non-problem: You'd still get a full ounce of silver (or 10 ounces or whatever). Alloys used in PM bullion are typically handled in such a way that the coin or bar contains the full amount of silver or gold – thus they weigh a bit more than an ounce. See the American Gold Eagle and the Krugerrand, or the pre-2012 silver Britannias, which were 958.
    Edit: There are other alloys like Argentium, such as Sterlium and Silvadium. See this breakdown. They're all designed to be worked by jewelry makers, melted, reformed, etc.
  21. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from intelinside in Which silver is best to buy when price is so low?   
    I don't think any metal normally sells at spot from retail dealers. Spot is the price in formal high-volume trading on commodities markets. I think COMEX uses 100 oz bars as the trading unit – someone correct me if I'm wrong. To get metals at spot, you need to find a sale or promotion. I've heard some PM dealers will sometimes offer their house silver rounds or bars at spot as part of a promotion. I've never seen it for platinum group metals though.
  22. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from intelinside in Which silver is best to buy when price is so low?   
    Hah! Is there any effort to reform the laws in Britain? Currencies and bullion shouldn't be taxed. That's just sound economics.
    We Americans might have to start paying sales taxes on bullion in some states because of a recent Supreme Court decision about sales tax in ecommerce. Some states exempt bullion, and some don't. Of course sales taxes here are usually in the 7-8% range, depending on state, county, and city. We don't have any national sales tax or VAT, but I'd take a VAT if it replaced all income taxes. I don't know how you Brits manage to prosper with high VATs and high income taxes.
  23. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from JCRJM in Automated coin grading   
    Hi all -- I've been thinking about the prospect of automated coin grading. Slabbed coins from PCGS and NGC seem overly expensive, and people here have been reporting problems with them (e.g. the recent red spots thread).
    Would you personally prefer an automated solution, if it was cheaper? By automated, I mean computerized, using machine vision and perhaps various multispectral scans of the coin beyond human vision. I know a bit about machine vision, and an automated solution to coin grading seems inevitable. I think it would be a somewhat easy task for machine vision experts, relative to the kinds of problems they solve currently, like understanding what's in an arbitrary photograph (faces, people, sky, balls, grass, cars, etc.). Coin grading would be a smaller, more delimited problem for them – the software would always know what coin it was grading and what it's supposed to look like at various levels of quality. It wouldn't have to worry about arbitrary objects in an image.
    I'd be all for it if it cost a couple of dollars. It would also be nice if a service offered a more careful slabbing process, using a nitrogen atmosphere or vacuum sealing.
  24. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from JCRJM in Automated coin grading   
    Hi all -- I've been thinking about the prospect of automated coin grading. Slabbed coins from PCGS and NGC seem overly expensive, and people here have been reporting problems with them (e.g. the recent red spots thread).
    Would you personally prefer an automated solution, if it was cheaper? By automated, I mean computerized, using machine vision and perhaps various multispectral scans of the coin beyond human vision. I know a bit about machine vision, and an automated solution to coin grading seems inevitable. I think it would be a somewhat easy task for machine vision experts, relative to the kinds of problems they solve currently, like understanding what's in an arbitrary photograph (faces, people, sky, balls, grass, cars, etc.). Coin grading would be a smaller, more delimited problem for them – the software would always know what coin it was grading and what it's supposed to look like at various levels of quality. It wouldn't have to worry about arbitrary objects in an image.
    I'd be all for it if it cost a couple of dollars. It would also be nice if a service offered a more careful slabbing process, using a nitrogen atmosphere or vacuum sealing.
  25. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from JCRJM in Automated coin grading   
    Hi all -- I've been thinking about the prospect of automated coin grading. Slabbed coins from PCGS and NGC seem overly expensive, and people here have been reporting problems with them (e.g. the recent red spots thread).
    Would you personally prefer an automated solution, if it was cheaper? By automated, I mean computerized, using machine vision and perhaps various multispectral scans of the coin beyond human vision. I know a bit about machine vision, and an automated solution to coin grading seems inevitable. I think it would be a somewhat easy task for machine vision experts, relative to the kinds of problems they solve currently, like understanding what's in an arbitrary photograph (faces, people, sky, balls, grass, cars, etc.). Coin grading would be a smaller, more delimited problem for them – the software would always know what coin it was grading and what it's supposed to look like at various levels of quality. It wouldn't have to worry about arbitrary objects in an image.
    I'd be all for it if it cost a couple of dollars. It would also be nice if a service offered a more careful slabbing process, using a nitrogen atmosphere or vacuum sealing.