Coin Grading Standards

Coin Grading Standards

            This section is going to be rather a long one, so take your time reading this section. If you want coins for investment, it has to be graded. Difference between MS64 and MS65 could be in thousands depending on the coin. So, grading is the most important aspect of coin investment.

              There are two basic scales used today for grading a coin:
                     1. Dr. William H. Sheldon’s Quantitative Grading of Condition. (Most commonly used)
                     2. American Numismatic Association Grading Standards


                         ANA Grading Scale                              Sheldon's Grading Scale

                            About Good      <------------------------->          AG-3

                               Good         <------------------------->        G-4 to G-6
                            Very Good       <------------------------->       VG-7 to VG-11

                               Fine         <------------------------->       F-12 to F-19

                            Very Fine       <------------------------->      VF-20 to VF-39

                         Exteremly Fine     <------------------------->      EF-40 to EF-49

                       About Uncirculated   <------------------------->      AU-50 to AU-59

                           Uncirculated     <------------------------->      MS-60 to MS-62

                      Choice Uncirculated   <------------------------->           MS-63

                      Select Uncirculated   <------------------------->           MS-64

                        Gem Uncirculated    <------------------------->      MS-65 to MS-66

                     Superb Uncirculated    <------------------------->      MS-67 to MS-70

                              Proof         <------------------------->            PF
                            Proof Like      <------------------------->            PL

                 Dr. Sheldon’s grading system was based on the Large Cent prices in 1946. So, the numbershas no significance as far as calculating prices of different denominations is considered
today. None the less, it is used to grade coins today by the grading companies. Grading is generally more of an art than science in my opinion. Why? Because no 2 grading companies
grade the same way as far as coins are considered. Read the section under Grading Companies
to get more information regarding which companies to choose.  Invest only in rare coins. If you cannot afford rare coins do what I do. Go with low mintage coins which are minted below 100,000. For me any coin that is below 100,000 mintage is a low mintage coin. Also, try to invest in Proof coins rather than the Business Strike. Proof coins are generally made for collectors who have an interest in collecting coins. Proof coins are struck 2 times and dies are changed much more often than the Business Strike; as a result they are shinier than Business Strike coins.

                 Bidding on ebay:  
                 It is important for you to know that ebay could be a gold mine as far as buying a coin goes only if you know what to look for when buying a coin. It could also be an absolute disaster if you don’t know what you are looking for on eaby. First, always look at the Seller Feedback
and the seller’s percentage of feedback. Second, make sure that feedback's are for selling an
item not for buying an item. Third, how many items the seller has sold. A seller with 40,000
sold items and 99% positive feedback is generally a safe bet. Fourth, is the seller is strictly
a coin seller or seller of other items. This will tell you if the seller is a specialized seller
or just Jack selling his grand fathers cigar box. Fifth, avoid sellers overseas. Counterfeit usually
occurs when you are buying from Chinese dealers in China. Stick on U.S. side or Canada when
it comes to buying from ebay. Sixth, go to PCGS page and NGC page to verify the registration
number of the coin. PCGS does not require you to sign up to verify their coins, NGC does require
you to sign up to verify their coin but it is free. ANAC does not have an online verification
system as of this writing. Also be careful when buying Slabbed coins, some issues with counterfeits has occurred with the Slabbed boxes. If you take these steps to buy coin on ebay, you should have a pretty fair chance that the coin is an authentic coin. According to PCGS January 10 2000,” While counterfeit detection obviously is important, such excellent information has been published in the recent past that the number of counterfeits being submitted to PCGS is minuscule. In fact, PCGS encounters only about 25 counterfeits per 10,000 coins, or an average rate of one quarter of 1 percent (0.25 percent). ” Keeping this in mind, buying coins on Ebay is cheaper because there is no consignment fee put forth by the seller. That does not mean process known as  Shielding does not happen on Ebay. Shielding is process where I tell my uncle to open an ebay account and then tell him to bid on my coin one minute before the bid is closed. So, bid on ebay last second before the bid is over. I just bought a 1972 Double Die for $46; the same exact coin with all the errors matching was going for $330 on Teletrade!!!