Lighting makes the difference
I found this to be an interesting exercise – coins in which the patina is a major factor can be tough to get right in photos!
Here are two US Peace Dollars…and after checking the date and the book we find ourselves with a 1926-S and a 1923-P, nice big silver coins of known fineness (.900 Ag).
The lighting used was ‘single spot’ vs ‘double spot’ …interesting results (everything else unchanged)…
Okay, so it looks to me like two pretty good coins – very similar in terms of wear but quite different in patina.
Interestingly a point that you need both sets of shots to better appreciate, although you would see it instantly in hand. Photographs do have their limitations.
But, getting back to the coins – the eagle side is not as good as Lady Liberty; the later coin from San Francisco has what I reckon falls into the ‘lack of eye appeal’ category.
The very dark toning on the ’23 Philadelphia coin is sort of ‘antique silver’ style…
For me that dark toning (possibly relatively unusual in Peace dollars) isn’t necessarily a downer, although it’s kind of a bit heavy on the eagle side here – the obverse is much nicer!
Yeah, these coins have issues!
I have a slabbed US Morgan Dollar which NGC labelled MS64 – it’s a similar size and fineness, a bit earlier in time, still a good quality example of the previous American silver dollar issue.
Same camera and lighting as the Peace Dollars.
Taking all this into consideration, to me those two Peace dollars are almost uncirculated in terms of wear with not much between them.
Here’s what the Red Book says for Peace dollars :
AU-50 ABOUT UNCIRCULATED– Slight trace of wear. Most of mint luster present, although marred by contact marks.
MS-60 UNCIRCULATED– No trace of wear. Full mint luster, but possibly noticeably marred by stains, surface marks, or bag abrasions.A Guide Book of United States Coins, R.S. Yeoman, 59th Ed 2006, Whitman
Unfortunately it doesn’t mention any of the grades in between, which is a bit of a pain.
Anyway, for what it’s worth, I think these two dollars ought to lie at the higher end of in-between – say AU55-58, but whether or not they would sell is a completely different question!
In the end I kind of like them!