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Coin Grading Instruction


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I would like to become better qualified in grading coins. I know that ANA conducts a summer workshop on coin grading, but both of their sessions are full for this summer. Does anyone know of any similar programs?

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The ANA Grading Seminar is also held around the country at some of the larger coin shows. I don't see much notice on this but it appears in the Numismatist sometimes.

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A bit later but I can at least try and offer some advice.


1. Pick up a copy of the "American Numismatic Association Grading Standard for United States Coins". This book not only gives helpful grading tips but also includes photos of coins in each grade. Below each picture is a little bit of information to help grade the coin like "Hair ribbon is distinct. Stars have full detail" etc.


2. Go to one of the ANA Grading Seminars as mentioned.


3. Try and get a copy of "Grading Mint-State U.S. Coins" put out by the ANA. It's a DVD (or VHS) that deals with, hold on now, mint-state coins. The person presenting it is J.P. Morgan, a well known person in the coin world. The DVD covers the different areas of grading like luster, strike, condition, color, etc. I learned a few new techniques I will use when choosing my next coin. It even goes into a bit of how to detect the different methods of cleaning. Well worth the $15 it cost at the ICG booth.


Hope that helps you a little bit.

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  You can sign up for the home study version of the very same course -... as you will already know the basics from your study at home. 


Go to the ANA website, www.money.org, and look under the dropdown for Shop at Money Market. Select Online Store. The fastest find is to enter the word GRADING in the search field.


Grading Coins Today (correspondence course) or

Fundamentals of Grading United States Coins (Traveling Seminar)

Grading Coins Today: An ANA Correspondence Course Price: $ 39.95

Special offer price! Valid until 4/30/06.


$39.95 is the ANA member price.


I took the course and passed it with high honors, so I recommend it highly, of course. My own prejudices aside, there is no other alternative except to attend an actual ANA seminar, either in Colorado Springs or at a national convention.


The "grading challenge" offered on this and other websites is always an interesting exercise. The fact remains that you are looking at a SCANNED IMAGE, not a real coin and the opinions you are seeing are from other people like yourself, rather than from recognized experts and authorities who actually define the grades, rather than guess them.

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Grading is only how one person sees it. Take it to 10 different "professional" graders, you may get 3-5 different grades. No coin has a "true" grade that every person in the world can agree on.


I've seen coins in top three tier TPG's slabs that just shock me. Obvious wear and big rim hits and it still gets an AU-58?


I'll be joining the ANA in the next month or so ($20, can't complain) so I may look into that home course. Seems interesting. As my areas of interest increase so does the margain for grading error. As each series is graded differently I need to learn more.

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Again! I'm still coming to terms with a "recgnised expert grader"! I certainly do nhot agree with some of the gradings seen on this website, including the 'slabbed' examples! Subjective?

Grading is indeed subjective, and even those standards that exist change over time. If you look at a 1990 Photograde or 4th edition ANA standards you'll note quite a few cases in which standards have slipped in the 5th or 6th edition.


That said, there are people who are better at grading than others and there are many things to learn. One just has to understand that it may be necessary to take a refresher course every 5-10 years to get back in sync with the market.

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