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My focus here is circulated early silver coins: Flowing Hair, Draped Bust, & Capped Bust series.
I will assume that an "original" early coin is one that has 1. Not been dipped, 2. Not wiped with a silver polish cloth. 3. Has not been abrasively, or otherwise, cleaned. 4. All toning occurred naturally. Please add other attributes if I've missed any.
What specific things do you look for to determine if, say, an EF40 coin is "original". For example, must there be underlying luster around the devices? Does the absence of any luster imply that the surfaces are not original? What other criteria might be important? Your thoughts and observations?
My specific concern is how to identify coins that have been certified by PCGS/NGC that do not have original surfaces. I think is common knowledge that the grading services cut some slack to the earliest coins in assigning a grade as opposed to a "genuine - no grade" designation. What criteria does CAC use to establish originality. Do all early coins with a CAC sticker imply that CAC's opinion is that the coin is "original".
Looking forward to an informative discussion.