News Article

Warning About Buying P/L and DMP/L Dollars

As I get longer in the tooth, I feel that anything I can leave the industry as a good steward to help collectors is very important.  None of us know how much time we have left!  For those of you that like P/L and DMP/L dollars, there is something very important here that you may not be considering.
This is my 42nd year in the coin business as a full-time dealer.  I spent many years on the coin show circuit and have been through the changes of third-party grading.  Many collectors gravitate and buy old holder coins, just because they feel that there is the potential for greater future demand and they are more strictly graded.  In some instances, this is true, but with regards to P/L and DMP/L dollars, this could be a trap!  Small blue and green holdered PCGS and large fatty holdered NGC coins in P/L and DMP/L were subject to a different standard of grading to determine if a coin indeed did possess Proof-like surfaces.  The difference between P/L and Deep Mirror P/L is mirror depth.  The depth is measured in terms of inches of reflectivity.  A coin struck from a new polished die is what you want to be basing the Proof-like depth on.  The problem arises from the fact that the mint may take a working die and repolish or basin the dies.  The repolishing will leave a degree of reflectivity. 
About 20 years or so ago, the grading services made a determination that repolished dies technically were not true Proof-likes.  The way to tell the difference is by examining a P/L coin for raised die lines.  A true P/L or DMP/L should not exhibit these die lines from re-polishing a used die.  However, many thousands of PCGS small blue holder coins or old green holder coins and old NGC coins that have P/L or DMP/L on the holder may not be true P/L coins. 
A good way to verify a true P/L or DMP/L is to send your coins to CAC.  The team of graders at CAC are fully aware of real P/L and DMP/L pieces and the striated repolished die look-alikes.  CAC approval here is more important than on many other types of coins.  Don’t get caught up in old holder mania for P/L and DMP/L dollars, they could be a trap and cost you a lot of money!  If you don’t adapt to the newer standard on these coins, and pay hefty premiums for old holder pieces, you could be left holding coins that may trade for a fraction of what a true P/L or DMP/L would trade for.  I really like the appeal and collectability of these coins, just don’t get caught with striated coins in these holders.
The next issue will have a warning about one of the most desirable areas of focus for certified coin buyers.  Please stay ready to protect your buying interests.