Grading Coins - Coin Collecting Values

coin collecting

Grading Coins - Coin Collecting Values

Grading Coins - Coin Collecting Values

It is not always easy to grade coins on a consistent basis, often it takes a lot of expertise and experience. For neophytes, determining the grades can be done by studying and following a set of industry guidelines, like the American Numismatic Association’s 0-70 point numeric system, which is commonly utilized for assigning the grade of a coin.

The main objective of grading coins is to exactly determine what the coin’s market value is, and how well the coin was originally struck, or how effectively it was preserved since the original date of its minting. Determining a coin’s condition is vital, because after a coin’s rarity and demand, the grade is the next vital factor in assessing the coin’s value. Veteran coin collectors and numismatic experts note that the higher the coin’s grade, the greater would its value be. However, there may be some exceptions to this definition, so some coin collectors have devised different systems of determining a coin’s overall condition.

A coin’s condition is usually verified or summed up by its grade. Certain characteristics of a coin influence its grade. For instance, surface condition, strike, eye appeal and luster are factors that figure in a coin’s overall grade. If any of these qualities are lacking, the grade as well as the value of the coin is reduced. Often, the differences in quality among coins may be quite subtle, and it may also be tough to notice the quirks, which often will require a trained eye to analyze and grade the coin. Even expert graders assign slightly different grades to the same coin, and leave the final grade in the hands of the collector’s or trader’s opinion.

The 70-Point Grading Scale is a system used to exactly determine a coin’s state. The grades are usually assigned at key points in the scale, with P-1 or poor as the lowest and MS-70, or Mint State Perfect as the highest rank given for a very good-quality coin. Among the notable things to remember when using this system are the terms “Uncirculated”, which refers to the highest grade given to a coin deemed to be in its mint state. A grade of 60 is viewed as the lowest grade given to an uncirculated or proof coin, which offers no trace of wear but may show a few contact marks or spots and dullness in its surface. In the 70-Point Grading Scale, an uncirculated coin that has a grade of 70 is often viewed to be in perfect condition, showing no evidence of wear and tear, scratches, or contact with other coins.

Another terms such as “Choice About Uncirculated” or AU-55, refer to a coin that has less trace wear on only the highest points of the design, does not show any significant defects and retains most of its luster. “About Uncirculated” or AU-55, refers to coins that have at least half of the original mint luster but show trace wear on most of the highest areas of the design. “Extremely Fine” or EF-40 refers to coins that have noticeable wear but still contain most of its sharp features. In the 70-Point Grading Scale, a coin’s grades may vary, from “Very Fine”, “Fine”, “Very Good” and “Good” to “About Good”.

However, whenever a significant of difference is noted between a coin’s two sides, a split grade usually is assigned to it. Coin experts say that split grades are indicated by a “/” between the grade. For instance, “AU/EF” would mean that one side is AU and the reverse side is EF.

Herman Klein is a coin collecting expert. For more great information on grading coins be sure to visit

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