PCGS and Perth Minted Australian Copper

October 7, 2009

1960 Penny (left), 1960 Half Penny (right)

Above you can see two lovely rainbow Perth copper coins that were submitted to PCGS for grading. My apologies for the quality of the image of the half penny, I didn't get a chance to image the coin before it was sent away and getting the rainbow toning to show up through the coin slab is problematic at best. Both of the coins show very typical Perth rainbow toning that is so valued by some collectors. Colours appearing are very typical, brown, gold, blue green, reds, and even hints of violet.

The coin on the left was broken from an original bank roll immediately before being sent to PCGS, the one on the right came out of a push in coin album where it had sat for a number of years. Sadly, the penny on the left came back graded as "Genuine" with the code 91, which means 'Questionable Colour'. The one on the right came back as MS65RB. I'd like to say definitively why PCGS rejected the coin on the left and accepted the one on the right, but I simply cannot. A month after the penny was rejected I am still scratching my head as to why. It is a lovely coin with glossy surfaces, well struck for a Perth coin, and exhibits attractive rainbow toning. The half penny fits the same description exactly. And because of this I sent the half penny to be graded immediately after the penny to see if it too was rejected. Inexplicably it wasn't!

The only theory I have is that one or more graders at PCGS simply do not have enough experience with Australian coins, and Perth minted copper coins in particular. These rainbow toned coins are completely original and un-tampered with and deserve to be graded as the GEM coins that some of them are. There's probably not a lot we can do in the short term to educate PCGS. However there are dealers in Australia that submit many dozens of coins to PCGS and I am sure that with emails or phone calls to the right people at PCGS would result in PCGS being educated appropriately.

The warning for Australian collectors who are thinking of submitting rainbow toned Perth minted copper coins to PCGS is be aware that despite the beauty and originality of your coins, there is some chance that they may be deemed as having 'Questionable Colour' and will not receive a grade. It's times like these that a possible submission of these coins to NGC is in order, NGC has more world coin slabbing experience than PCGS and will most likely slab them with a grade rather than as artificially toned.

Posted by mnemtsas at October 7, 2009 10:58 AM
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