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NessunDorma
Hi everyone, I have a couple of questions for you as I continue my learning journey in collecting American currency (and hoping to not make any costly mistakes).

What are the main differences between 2 equally graded notes, say 64 or 65, except one has the PPQ/EPQ designation and the other does not? I have heard that some notes that do not have PPQ may have been washed, pressed or altered in some way to enhance their visual appeal. Any truth to this? Anything else worth mentioning?

When looking at a note graded 58, what are the possible flaws that would lower the grade to a 58? I ask because I am trying to fill out some gaps in my collection with notes that in a higher grade are unaffordable to me. Since I am unable to see a given note in hand before purchasing, I must rely on the seller's photos and honesty. In one particular case, to my untrained eye, the photos show a solid note, without any visible folds, creases, soiling or counting marks. What else should I look out for?

Any advice from some of the experts out there is greatly appreciated and thank you.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
END WHITE AMERICAN APARTHEID NOW
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Springfield

I will allow other members to answer the question on paper quality of the note. 


With respect to the grade assigned, buy the note that is affordable to you at the time you make the purchase. Some collectors obsess over the highest grade for a note and will pay big money for 1 additional certified grading point. For me personally, I would rather spend the price difference and buy additional notes for my collection. 


For more expensive notes, select the grade Very Fine or higher if budget allows and you should be happy. For National Bank notes accept any grade condition as the note might be rare and your pick may be the best note available. 

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HoneyBadger
Advice on buying ungraded notes: never buy them online unless they have a good return policy.

EPQ will be lost if the note is pressed or has a flaw, like a pinhole or tear. Problems do not usually affect the grade, but they will certainly result in loss of EPQ. If it is a really bad problem you will get NET at PMG and a comment on the back of the holder.

A note is reduced from Uncirculated (60-70) to AU58 for one reason only....a fold.
FRN Collections Complete - 1928-1934 LGS: $5 [87%] - $10 [37%] - $20 [2%] - $50 [6%] - $100 [0%] - $500 [0%]

http://www.1928notes.com - If you have a new note to add, please let me know.
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HoneyBadger
Springfield wrote:
With respect to the grade assigned, buy the note that is affordable to you at the time you make the purchase. Some collectors obsess over the highest grade for a note and will pay big money for 1 additional certified grading point. For me personally, I would rather spend the price difference and buy additional notes for my collection.


I respectfully disagree with this advice. If you purchase junk, when you go to sell you will likely end up with junk returns...or worse. Now if the investment aspect of the hobby is not a consideration, purchase with whatever strategy suits your goals. 

However, if investment is a consideration always go for the nicest and most scarce thing you can afford. If you cannot afford nice material at the time you are considering a purchase, it may be wise to save up and wait till you have enough set aside for a good quality note. Slow and deliberate with an eye towards quality is the best way to build a collection with investment in mind. It is not about obsessing over the grade, it is about being careful and discerning and having an eye for quality.

In the long run bargain hunting rarely serves you well in this hobby. (Now cherry picking — that is another matter.)  Nice, investment grade notes are going to cost money.

Also...if you have a choice between high grade common material and higher grade scarce material, always go after the scarce items. Sometimes you may go decades and never see another example of that scarce item. If you miss out on a high grade common note, chances are there will be many more opportunities for acquisition just around the corner.

One last thing to consider. Time is your friend. If you stay in this hobby long enough your goals are very likely going to evolve. If you rush to purchase a lot of low grade junk now, some day you may regret throwing away sums of money on things that fail to meet the expectations of your evolving standards. Liquidation of low grade material to make way for nicer material would likely prove to be financially painful! Try to take a more long view.
FRN Collections Complete - 1928-1934 LGS: $5 [87%] - $10 [37%] - $20 [2%] - $50 [6%] - $100 [0%] - $500 [0%]

http://www.1928notes.com - If you have a new note to add, please let me know.
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mebid2much
Well said HB.👏👏👏
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Steve in Tampa

I don’t believe @Springfield was suggesting buying junk. Many XF-*PQ and AU-*PQ notes can be purchased at a fraction of the cost of a GEM note and are beautiful examples to add to your collection. Unless exceedingly rare, stay clear of problem notes being sold at a discounted price. Some of my favorite notes reside in XF and AU (*PQ) holders. 

9E81D268-E035-4781-9593-2C7B51F2B60D.jpeg  7133E7C2-D5D5-40DC-B5B7-774C13122928.jpeg   

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Springfield

Thanks Steve. I appreciate the kind words. I collect because I enjoy it and I also want to preserve history. I am not competing with anyone. I do not care about bragging my note is better than anyone else or an award to hang on my wall. 

I always buy the highest grade certified note that I can afford.  With regards to a one point grade certification price difference on an expensive note, I would rather apply the savings toward buying another note for my collection. 

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Dan Cong
PPQ and EPQ may not be on notes in older holders, so it's absence does not necessarily mean it is flawed. For PMG "For currency to grade Gem Uncirculated 65 or higher, it must also receive the EPQ designation. ... As of January 2020, the minimum grade for which a note becomes eligible for the EPQ designation is Very Fine 20" So a 65 "Should" be EPQ. 

In theory, a note that was washed or pressed should be noted as such, however, if maybe that you can't really determine why a note is flat, so it is not noted. Like everybody always says, buy the note, not the holder. 




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mfontes
The difference between a 64 and 65 grade will most likely be centering.  Both notes are considered  uncirculated, but the 65 centering will be noticeably different than the 64 centering.  Eye appeal is what suffers from a 64 vs 65 grade.   Right margin on the 64 is tight:
64PPQ.jpg

The 65 margins are better than the 64 but not by much:

65PPQ.jpg 
Many notes graded 58 will have great eye appeal especially if the note has an unseen fold while in the holder.  Great centering, excellent paper wave, but somewhere there is a slight fold:
58PPQ.jpg 
The difference between grades of all uncirculated note will vary from a variety of issues and I believe mostly centering and registry.  However, paper wave, embossing, corner tips, etc. all come into play.   Both these notes are uncirculated with PPQ designation:

60PPQ.jpg  69PPQ.jpg 
To sum up this ramble, buy the note that you like and can afford.  If a rare notes is available in AU 58 and has great eye appeal go for it.  If you find a note graded 65 with bad eye appeal you may want to pass.  This hobby should be all about you and your preferences.  There is some great advise on this thread and I am sure most of us have made bad purchases before we were educated about currency.  I still make bad purchases, but I am a slow learner.  
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MEC2
So many 55 and 58 notes absolutely kill 63 and 64 notes in face-up... I find generally a well centered 58 more desirable than a 63... I'll take great centering and registration with a hard to find handling crease over a bend-free drunken sailor 63 any day... look at @Steve in Tampa black eagle - that thing is a monster I don't care what the number says, it's as nice an example as one is wont to own... that turn of phrase there is pleasant on the ear but difficult to read, sound it out...
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HoneyBadger
It really comes down to priorities.
FRN Collections Complete - 1928-1934 LGS: $5 [87%] - $10 [37%] - $20 [2%] - $50 [6%] - $100 [0%] - $500 [0%]

http://www.1928notes.com - If you have a new note to add, please let me know.
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EarlySmallSizeFanatic
A 64 has better centering than a 65 (which can still have minute centering flaws). 

A 64 can also have the centering of a 65, but weak embossing. 

For a note to get a 58, it would have: corner fold into the design, very faint (but noticeable on close examination) crease or bend, or a couple counting marks that are a bit heavier than usual. Many notes get graded as 58's that have nothing wrong with them, and end up crossing over to CU grades. 

Buying AU58's and hoping they are under graded is a gamble though, and you will need to know what to look for. I have seen CU notes grade as low as AU53, and cross over to CU ! 53's and 55's crossing to CU does not happen very often, as it is mostly 58's that handle this feat. 
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larry510
This note has a light center bend and was lightly pressed.  Hence the lack of EPQ Click image for larger version - Name: 20200513_092539.jpg, Views: 106, Size: 2.39 MB
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NessunDorma
So much great advice, thank you everyone! My collecting strategy is to buy 64-66 when possible and decent centering is something I have realized is important to me. The problem comes when looking for some of the scarcer notes which are outside my budget in the higher grades. This is why I was asking about the things to look out for when evaluating a 58 note for example. The one thing I am trying to do is remain patient and only buy something if I believe I will be happy with it long-term. Once again, you are all an awesome source of information and I'm very glad to have discovered this forum. Cheers!
BLACK LIVES MATTER
END WHITE AMERICAN APARTHEID NOW
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NessunDorma
MEC2 wrote:
So many 55 and 58 notes absolutely kill 63 and 64 notes in face-up... I find generally a well centered 58 more desirable than a 63... I'll take great centering and registration with a hard to find handling crease over a bend-free drunken sailor 63 any day... look at @Steve in Tampa black eagle - that thing is a monster I don't care what the number says, it's as nice an example as one is wont to own... that turn of phrase there is pleasant on the ear but difficult to read, sound it out...


I couldn't agree more, Steve's eagle is indeed magnificent!
BLACK LIVES MATTER
END WHITE AMERICAN APARTHEID NOW
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MaineMoneyMan
Collect obsolete State bank notes, then you don't have to worry about grades, and you can concentrate simply on the enjoyment of collecting the item.
SPMC PM014835
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buddylee
usually a 58 has a corner fold.  hard to detect on most notes in holders ..
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armynova
For Confederate and obsolete notes, EPQ/PPQ has no consistent meaning. In general, a PPQ or EPQ note will have a lower probability of having minor issues. The vast majority of these notes never had embossing like Federal notes which is one of the indicators. Much more important to value of CSA and obsolete notes are quality of the color and trim/frame lines (which PPQ and EPQ does not measure). PPQ/EPQ for these might be worth 10% more.... but for example, a fully framed choice for the grade Type 20 AU-58 is worth 4x a Type 20 AU-58 with typical trim and color PPQ/EPQ or not because collectors of these notes care about eye appeal and trim and fully framed T-20 notes are truly rare and those typically trimmed are common.

I have seen Confederate notes with PPQ/EPQ with minor issues and I've seen notes without that with no issues... I've collected these for 20 years and could not tell you when something will be PPQ/EPQ or not... I know well what is choice vs above average, vs typical vs problem though. 
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