Jump to content
CoinPeople.com

Coin grading scales


thedeadpoint
 Share

  

13 members have voted

  1. 1. What coin grading scale do you prefer?

    • Poor 1 - MS 70
      2
    • The newly proposed 1 - 700 sounds swell
      0
    • Why not do 0 - 100?
      2
    • At all levels of collecting, a qualitative scale is best
      3
    • Depends on the series, the strike, the wear, the rarity, etc
      2
    • Other (please describe)
      4


Recommended Posts

Hi all,

 

I was reading in Coinage about PCGS using their new "Plus" system for mid-60's MS coins. Basically, they and other grading firms are transitioning to a 1 - 700 grading scale. This seems like overkill and is silly to me. Only the snobbiest collectors will subscribe to those "rigorous" scales. What scales are best for the average collector?

 

Does the scale depend on the coin series? The average circulation of the issue? The design?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I figure there is enough problems with them grading 0-70. Since they are trying to split it up, all it's going to do is cause more people question their grading standards. Remember also the grading companies don't have the same standards. It may be close, but of the 2 one may have tougher standards on things like full head, full step, proof like, cameo, etc. End result it just shakes another dollar out of your pocket. If they would publish a free accessible full grading scale on how they grade it might help consumers decide. But essentially they are saying trust us. We are grading your coin consistent. But we just won't tell you how.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was reading in Coinage about PCGS using their new "Plus" system for mid-60's MS coins. ... transitioning to a 1 - 700 grading scale. ... Does the scale depend on the coin series? The average circulation of the issue? The design?

 

I have three grades: Not so Nice; Nice; Really Nice. When third party grading came in forty years ago, the same complaints were made then as now about this. Grading has evolved. My 1947 Red Book shows two grades for most modern coins: Fine and Unc. For Large Cents, the grades are Good and Fine. Sheldon invented his 70-point scale specifically for that series. It came to dominate the American side of the hobby. Even today, though the Early American Copper folks recognize "skudzy" as an offical grading mark, which none others do. That reflects your observation that the grading scale depends on the series. It can depend on the branch mint for the year of the type of the denomination.

 

In the field of ancients, things are more traditional: Good, Fine, Very Fine, Extremely Fine. Sometimes the obverse will be graded differently from the reverse.

 

Hard Times Tokens, Civil War Tokens and "Conders" (British Provincials) have become so well developed over the last generation that grading for them follows coin-like standards, much to the dismay of old aficiandos, who admit that nicer examples bring better prices. Other tokens do not follow the coin norms and are unlikely to be graded on a 700-point scale.

 

Medals seldom see circulation, so grading does not apply at all for them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not being a forensic scientist, I'll stick to the tried and tested Brit system used by Spinks since they started out.

Poor, good, Fine, Very Fine, Extremely Fine,Uncirculated,Fleur de Coin

P G F VF EF Unc FDC

Anything else is semantics! :art:

(in reality there are only two grades:- wanted & not wanted :bthumbsup:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally, I believe that grading should be by base grading: Good, Fine, and Almost Uncirculated to define circulated specimens. Any attractions or detractions should be described. Although this greatly broadens what collectors in the U.S. have recently used over the past several decades, I believe it is more than enough to get a generalized idea of the condition of the coin. I also believe that, by reducing the number of "grades" involved, that market conditions would have less affect on the "grade" itself (a more firm technical grading) and thus be more consistent.

 

Even in current ANA guidelines, one EF may vary greatly from another EF. Even when looking at two "typical" specimens (EF-40), there is difference of opinion. Also, I have seen numerous EF-45 that I would pass and choose an EF-40 specimen over. It's just nitpicking and market gimmick.

 

The same goes with uncirculated specimens. A coin should be either Uncirculated or Brilliant Uncirculated. Those two terms in and of themselves give the overall picture of the basic condition of the coin. The most I would deepen uncirculated grading would be to attribute further designations of "typical", "choice", and "gem". Yet, even those terms should be used in the description of the coin itself.

 

Of course, it would be impossible for grading companies to attribute a full description of the coin on the slab itself. This push by TPGs to eventually utilize a 1 - infinity grading scale is nothing more than a marketing ploy to generate more and more revenue. In my opinion, the TPGs themselves are simply a marketing ploy, not an "essential service" for the numismatic community.

 

It never ceases to amaze me that people in the numismatic community still do not understand that the majority of these TPGs are corporate entities. As such, they are required by law to produce an investment gain to their holders of stock. So, when it comes to supporting and progressing the numismatic community and its needs, generating a profit for their stock holders comes first.

 

Thus, they "create" a need within the numismatic community in order to fulfill their obligation to profit. So, now we have the "plus" grading, "enhanced" counterfeit detection, lawsuits against their own customers for their own errors and omissions, regularly released "new" slab designs, "upgrade" services (what? the coin wasn't graded properly before??), etc, etc.

 

A five point scale with full qualification works fine for me (G, F, AU, Unc, BU).

 

And to qualify this scale against current market standards:

 

Good: G4-F15

Fine: VF20-XF45

AU: AU50-AU58

Unc: Uncirculated - Brown/RB, toned, hazed, stunted luster

BU: Uncirculated - full, original luster, coppers coins must be full red, silver coins must be blast white

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know why the scale wasn't a more manageable 1-100 in the first place; if they want to move to that, it makes as much sense as the current system.

 

But going to a 700 point scale? Why? So the difference between an MS-63 and an MS-64 can be exactly the same as the difference between an MS-630 and an MS-640?

 

There's nothing wrong with saying MS-63+ if it's not quite the next number up. We don't need the kind of hairsplitting involved in differentiating between a 630 and a 631. I doubt you could get ten experts to reliably agree on a grade anyway--if there's not absolute agreement on the difference between a -63 and a -64, what use are another ten shades of difference between them?

 

In short: it's marketing, not anything that actually provides a meaningful service to the numismatics community. The only place differentiations that fine are going to be meaningful to anyone is in the highest grades -- I can see someone caring about the difference between MS-699 and MS-700. I don't think anyone will ever give a rat's rear over the difference between VF-200 and VF-201.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not being a forensic scientist, I'll stick to the tried and tested Brit system used by Spinks since they started out.

Poor, good, Fine, Very Fine, Extremely Fine,Uncirculated,Fleur de Coin

P G F VF EF Unc FDC

Anything else is semantics! :art:

(in reality there are only two grades:- wanted & not wanted :bthumbsup:

This.

 

Mentally, I use a G-VG F-VF EF-AU Unc-BU scale inside my head, sans numbers, but yes, 'want' and 'do not want' are the only ratings that ultimately count. 'Can afford' and 'can not afford' come into play, but those are more concretely defined. :)

 

And I love the term 'fleur de coin'.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

when you say that now I'm wondering about the pcgs low ball registries folks. Next step PO-1 - then a normal PO-1 and a PO-1 + . I mean if you are splitting it up why not all the way. Maybe 0-100 and add some decimal points after that. :bleh:

 

I put 0-70 but really thinking about I miss the g-f etc.days.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although I have coins graded by TPGs using the Sheldon system and CGS UK using their own 100 base system, for day to day purposes I still use the basic

 

good

fine

very fine

extremely fine

uncirculated

 

With prefixes 'a'/'n' and 'g' where necessary. It works for me.

 

I honestly couldn't tell the difference between an MS60, MS62 or MS64, to me they're just UNC. It's also my opinion that 'choice' and 'gem' are basically denoting eye appeal rather than technical grade (as in wear). One man's choice UNC is another man's butt ugly UNC, especially those with garish tones, or that vile rust brown silver look.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

'geordie'

Anything else is semantics! :art:

(in reality there are only two grades:- wanted & not wanted :bthumbsup:

 

I definately agree with the above remark .

as a Canadian I have.... more than 1 coin graded by ICCS out of Toronto.

I'm not saying they're better than other services, I have a PCGS slab side or 2 as well as having owned other 'graded coins'.

 

Which in many advertisements by sellers of these "high graded coins" claims to be " the standard in coin grading"

But I'm not a big fan of the slabs, as a matter of fact I don't like them. I also don't like that there is IMO no consistancy between grading services.

But all this grading service has come out of investors wanting a convenient standard so they can say " I have this coin in this grade & its worth this much." That is understandable when you looking at buying a coin for thousands of dollars or even much more.

 

For me there are two criteria that I really like & that is rarity, I like having an example...even if its not the best condition coin out there IF it is a rare coin or token.Also eye appeal, it is a really cool coin, you put two of those together IMO & that's a coin I wan t!

For example

I have a 1979 Mahone Bay dollar...they made 5000 of these out of base metals, But they also made 20 pieces out of 999 silver & I lucked into 1 at an auction c/w presentation case & sleeve. Today, in mint strike condition one of the 5000 coins are selling for around the 40 to 50 dollar range, I have no idea what the 1 of 20 pure silver ones are worth , which doesn't bother me. That's not my only incentive to be a collector.

1 of 20 ever made , well for me personally, that's a real treasure. Where as some of my other much more valuable coins are very nice, they are no where near that rare.

 

In finally getting around to answering the question, I don't like the idea of a 700 point system. The good,very good, fine, MS etc. system works & as has already been mentioned seeing a description like Very Fine - cameo, or AU - colored toning. is also fine. I also like if it points out flaws or other 'highlights'

 

Now IF there was some way that all coins could be scanned by a system that never varied & always graded the same type of coin the same way...no matter who owned the system or what Country it was in ...that would be the perfect solution but of course this is just IMO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So the Coinage article (I'm too lazy to go get it and quote directly) quotes Scott Travers as saying that the new scale will vastly improve investing, collecting, etc. It troubles me that "investing" was the first word he used. To me that is what drives all the numerical grading anyway.

 

THis makes me wonder... what's the value of numerical grades anyway?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am so glad I collect historical medals & not coins, obviously the condition the medal is in influences the desirability & price(as does metal, rarity & subject) but us historical medal collectors have to 'grade them' based on our own knowledge & experience without the help(?) of an outside agency, & I sincerely hope it stays that way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

P G F VF EF Unc FDC

 

I remember when this was all you needed...IMO it still is. This seems just fine for me, I have never come upon a time when I needed anything more like a bunch of numbers. It seems to me the expanded numbers are just to justfy more money and to me a person who nickels and dimes with numbers is missing the point of the hobby but it might be less a hobby and passion and more about money...but that is just me.

 

I like the FDC rating as to me this takes care of all those MS-blah blah blah. If its FDC, it means it is about as close to how it came out of the mint as possible, its the highest grade.

 

700? I didnt think it could get more absurd than it already has gotten. We need to simplify not over complicate...as for the slabs...I dont care for them and I dont need to pay someone to grade my coin in some over complicated, in the end, subjective system. If thats what you want though, it all what you want. I prefer the DIY or get a few collectors opinions. You look at it, you like it, you grade it or confirm my grade or dispute it and we can work that out. If its a lovely coin...its a lovely coin and we can either agree on a price or move on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I voted other. I really have no idea why anyone would come up with 1 to 70 for a scale anyway. Why not 1 to 100? Or 1 to 478? Or why not just start with 17 to 532? Or a alpha numeric system such as A16B9-RR? Even our usage of terminology for grades is really dumb. G = Good yet a G-3 coin looks like something a kid would throw into a lake or place on a RR track. And naturally you can no longer say just Uncirculated, it now has to be AU-58 or MS-63. So why Mint State? I've seen many coins from the Mint that appeared to be in circulation for years so does that mean MS really means Mostly Stupid?

I'm from the old days when there was only G, F, Unc and Proof. However, people started even then with the AG, AF, VF, etc.

Eventually someone will start with the 1,000,000 point system and we all will have coins graded as 5,098,112.443 approximately.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...