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Liam84

Old Sovereign advice

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Hello everyone,

I hope it's not against etiquette to ask for help as a first post. I'm new to buying bullion and very new to buying old coins. I recently bought an 1885 full sovereign with the young Victoria head and shield back, Sydney mint. It was sold by a coin dealer through eB*y and described as aEF. It does seem a fair assesment from a newbies perspective of checking against grading examples online (forgive me) and I'm happy with the definition and lustre of the coin. However on the portrait/head side, when viewing with 'daylight' bulbs in the kitchen or in direct sunlight quite a bit of 'hazing' or hairline scratching can be seen, not really visible in average room lighting. They run from the lower areas of the coin over the raised areas in the middle in various directions and in parallel. I assume they are some kind of contact marking from cleaning or rubbing. I paid £395 for the coin. My intention was to hold on to it and put it in a capsule to go on a shelf next to a 1909 half sovereign I bought the other week for spot price, but it would be nice to know that if things go awry in the future I could sell it for a reasonable amount over spot due to it's mintage. Does this sort of marking really affect sovereign values terribly? I understand that they are mostly a bullion coin but this particular example is being advertised for £500/£600+ on some well known bullion dealers websites in condition not quite as good as mine definition-wise. The dealer I bought it from offers full NQA refunds which is nice, but if the coin isn't a 'dud' it may be worth keeping.

Sorry for the long post, I'm trying to learn as much as I can as well as decide what to do with this coin!

Thank you for your time.

Liam.

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Posted (edited)

Shield back sovereigns carry a premium so you may be OK.

But cleaning (and your description sounds like that) does detract from the value.  I am not experienced enough to know.  by how much

You may want to post a picture and others could give you a view on it.

The real question is now you know about the scratches will they get on your nerves and make you unhappy with the coin - if so send it back.

Edited by Seasider
missing words

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Its quite a nice looking coin, Marsh lists it as "scarce" if you can live with the scratches, hold on to it, but, for the premium you paid I would be looking for something slightly better.

You should keep your eye on the forum for sales, you will get some good buys.

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Do you think I'm expecting a bit much from a 135 year old coin that's in otherwise good condition? I can live with it as long as I haven't way overpaid and could get the same for less or better for the same amount. The less defined examples on the bullion trader websites have thrown me; one was advertised as £622, and the last one they had a few days ago sold for I assume asking price which was near that amount also. Judging by the pictures they've put up the one I have seems in better condition, but if the rubbing marks reduce it to spot price only...maybe I'm just being a ninnie?

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8 minutes ago, Liam84 said:

Do you think I'm expecting a bit much from a 135 year old coin that's in otherwise good condition? I can live with it as long as I haven't way overpaid and could get the same for less or better for the same amount. The less defined examples on the bullion trader websites have thrown me; one was advertised as £622, and the last one they had a few days ago sold for I assume asking price which was near that amount also. Judging by the pictures they've put up the one I have seems in better condition, but if the rubbing marks reduce it to spot price only...maybe I'm just being a ninnie?

If your not returning the coin then I would just chalk it down to experience. Next time come on to the forum before you buy, there is a lot of expert advice to be had which could save you quite a bit of money.

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Agreed.  Lots of people who know a LOT about coins. 
 

Def worth searching for key words before posting as there is a big catalogue of knowledge in the forum posts.  
 

But if you do ask a question that has been answered before, people don’t get cross which is v refreshing.  
 

All the best

Dicker

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1 hour ago, Liam84 said:

Do you think I'm expecting a bit much from a 135 year old coin that's in otherwise good condition? I can live with it as long as I haven't way overpaid and could get the same for less or better for the same amount. The less defined examples on the bullion trader websites have thrown me; one was advertised as £622, and the last one they had a few days ago sold for I assume asking price which was near that amount also. Judging by the pictures they've put up the one I have seems in better condition, but if the rubbing marks reduce it to spot price only...maybe I'm just being a ninnie?

Ignoring the scratches it looks in decent condition.  Assuming the shield side is scratch free then keep it that side up and don't worry about it.  That's the side I'd have on display anyway.

If the seller is a dealer and did not mention the scratches then maybe have a word with him about them and see if he is prepared to do anything - if not an immediate refund of part of the price then perhaps a discount on any future coin you might buy from him?

But if those scratches are going to niggle then send it back because there is nothing worse than spending a lot of money on a special item and then there is a problem with it however minor.  You will just focus on the problem rather than how special the coin is.

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Thank you for the responses, this seems a very welcoming forum indeed. I think I may have a touch of OCD about things like this which doesn't help. If I haven't been stiffed on the price and I can learn from it I think I'll probably keep it. It has grown on me...I've let the dealer know, I'll fire a photo at him and see what he says, you never know. Thank you all once again!

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If you like the coin then I would be inclined to keep it.  The hairline scratches from cleaning don't detract very much from what otherwise looks to be a very nice coin.  And in today's climate, £395 may turn out to be a bargain even versus spot in a few months 😁

If it was mine I would probably keep it.

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I've decided to do just that. I think a lot of my trepidation has been that this is only the second 'old' coin I've bought aside from some scrap .50 silver so probably did too much reading on the numismatic oriented sites and got all judgmental. In normal lighting it looks wonderful and the marks can't be seen (the sun has been wonderful here the last few days and my kitchen bulbs are very harsh). Thanks for the encouragement!

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An update to this if anyone is interested;

I had a good chat with the dealer (well, several messages back and forth) and learned me some things. He said it was thoroughly assessed prior to sale and found to not have been cleaned. He said it retained its mint bloom which would be removed by cleaning and that the marks were allowable and normal for a coin considered aEF. No marks would put it into AU or higher which would dramatically increase the price/value. He said he stood by his conservative grading assessment (said he'd had 25+ years experience in collecting and selling coins) and was sure if it were sent off for official assessment it would achieve the grade he'd given. Bearing in mind he was/is still willing to take it back for a refund he came across as genuine. That coupled with my complete lack of experience in the field did put my OCD tendancies at ease. I imagine many high grade circulated gold coins if placed at an angle in extreme overhead sunlight would show up marks otherwise unseen. Could it or one like it have been had for cheaper at auction? Possibly, and some have sold on eBay in the last month for the £340 ish mark but without looking as good and possibly looking worse 'in the flesh'. You pays your money you takes your choice I guess. 

If I sound like a total noob it's because I am, but I thought I'd share my learning experience with you for entertainment or possibly boredom...

Thanks for tuning in.

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On 02/04/2020 at 00:59, Liam84 said:

An update to this if anyone is interested;

I had a good chat with the dealer (well, several messages back and forth) and learned me some things. He said it was thoroughly assessed prior to sale and found to not have been cleaned. He said it retained its mint bloom which would be removed by cleaning and that the marks were allowable and normal for a coin considered aEF. No marks would put it into AU or higher which would dramatically increase the price/value. He said he stood by his conservative grading assessment (said he'd had 25+ years experience in collecting and selling coins) and was sure if it were sent off for official assessment it would achieve the grade he'd given. Bearing in mind he was/is still willing to take it back for a refund he came across as genuine. That coupled with my complete lack of experience in the field did put my OCD tendancies at ease. I imagine many high grade circulated gold coins if placed at an angle in extreme overhead sunlight would show up marks otherwise unseen. Could it or one like it have been had for cheaper at auction? Possibly, and some have sold on eBay in the last month for the £340 ish mark but without looking as good and possibly looking worse 'in the flesh'. You pays your money you takes your choice I guess. 

If I sound like a total noob it's because I am, but I thought I'd share my learning experience with you for entertainment or possibly boredom...

Thanks for tuning in.

We’ve all got to learn and start somewhere. 👍🏻 Happy stacking/collecting.

I only started buying old sovereigns in 2018 and I really like the ones I have. The Victoria shield backs are definitely my favourites.

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It’s virtually impossible to get numismatic sovereigns in mint condition because most of them were in circulation. The question is whether you are buying old sovereigns for their numismatic or bullion value. If you are buying old sovereigns primarily for their intrinsic bullion value then the scratches are no problem at all. However, if you are buying old sovereigns for their extrinsic numismatic value which eclipses the intrinsic gold value then you have to be prepared to pay hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds for ones in good grade. I paid close to a thousand pounds for one of my Victoria sovereigns which came from a shipwreck. I know that those who stack bullion sovereigns are often critical of those who collect numismatic sovereigns. However, a numismatic sovereign can sell at auction for many times its gold content when handled by dealers in numismatic coins such as Baldwin’s.

Edited by Serendipity

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