Why It's So Important To Own Certified Coins
Inside This Report
• The Sheldon Scale of Coin Grades
• How Coins are Graded
• Why You Must Own Certified Coins
the U.S. Rare Coin market was limited to a small number of
numismatists trading with each other, three broad definitions
were enough to determine the grade of a coin:
Good – a coin that's worn
with most of the detail intact.
Fine – a coin with clear
detail and some luster on its surfaces.
– a coin which
had never been in general circulation and therefore retained its
Mint State condition.
As the market grew, coin collectors realized that some "fine"
coins were "finer" than others. Even some uncirculated coins
rose above the rest in detail, luster, and general appearance.
Soon terms such as Very Fine and Extra Fine began to emerge, as
coin collectors sought to more sharply define the condition of
their coins and increase their value.
| COIN GRADING SCALE
Perfect Uncirculated Mint State 70
Gem Uncirculated MS-69
Gem Uncirculated MS-68
Gem Uncirculated MS-67
Gem Uncirculated MS-66
Choice Uncirculated MS-65
Choice Uncirculated MS-64
Choice About Uncirculated AU-58
About Uncirculated AU-55
About Uncirculated AU-53
About Uncirculated AU-50
Extra Fine XF-45
Extra Fine XF-40
Lowest Collector Grades
Very Fine/Extra Fine XF-35
Choice Very Fine VF-30
Very Fine VF-25
Very Good VG-8
About Good AG-3
Barely Recognizable 1
The Official Coin Grading Scale
In 1948, Dr. William Sheldon, a widely renowned numismatist,
developed the Sheldon Scale, assigning grades from 1 through 70
to coins, a scale that remains to this day.
The biggest problem the industry faced back then was the varying
grades that different dealers assigned to the same coin. Since
the grade determined a fair price, assigning a consistent grade
PCGS & NGC Independent Grading
This led in 1986 to the advent of third-party grading– an
assessment of a coin's physical condition, backed by a national
network of reputable rare coin dealers.
Over the years, the Professional Coin Grading Service, PCGS and
the Numismatic Guaranty Corp, NGC were formed to independently
grade and guarantee the authenticity of coins. Austin Rare Coins is proud to be a member of both of these dealer networks.
While this system is not perfect, and grading standards can vary
over time, this remains the most trusted way to buy and sell
coins developed to date.
In the grading room, some of the world's most knowledgeable and
experienced numismatists work independently. Each one studies
the characteristics and physical condition of each coin. A
series of graders enter their independent determinations of
grade in a database until a consensus is reached and the final
grade is assigned. In addition to their high level of training,
graders rely on comprehensive grading sets to maintain a high
level of consistency.
assure the quality and authenticity of each coin, immediately
upon grading, each "Certified Coin" is placed in a sealed holder
with a grading certificate and unique ID number assigned to each
coin. These tamper proof holders are the key to grading while
providing ideal protection for the safe, long term storage of
Certified Coins & Computerized Trading
Most U.S. Rare Coins that trade sight-unseen on computerized
networks are graded by PCGS or NGC. Most of these coins are
suitable for investments, assuming you pay a fair price.
However, many coins that are highly collectible are not
certified. Often the cost of grading that ranges from $5 to $35
is far more than the lower grade coins are worth. Also damaged
and cleaned coins will not be graded by PCGS or NGC. Austin
Rare Coins buys and sells some "raw" uncertified coins online
but they will always be modern coins or bullion-related coins
that are not rare and sell primarily for the precious metal's
Investors Insist on Expert Third Party
A word of warning about auctions and Ebay. When you
purchase coins that are not certified, you rely entirely upon
the honesty and reputation of the dealer to stand behind the
grade. The concept never worked before PCGS and NGC were
created because it's just too tempting for collectors to
over-evaluate the condition and the unaware buyer to be
cheated. While you should not worry about grading from Austin
Rare Coins or major coin dealers, we would warn you about the
pitfalls of buying uncertified coins and silver dollars. There
is no Santa Claus in the Rare Coin business. Cheap coins are
almost never bargains.
Certified Coins Are Easier To Sell
Why is coin grading more important today than ever before?
Because a slight difference in the grade of a rare coin can
increase its value by hundreds, even thousands of dollars.
Establishing the official grade provides the only way to measure
the fair price and true value of a Rare Coin.
We believe that PCGS and NGC graded coins offer you many
advantages when you're ready to sell your coins later. In fact,
millions of dollars worth of rare coins trade "sight-unseen"
every month based on certified grading, and dealers will
automatically buy back many coins and provide quotes over the
phone or by email, making it much easier to liquidate your
Solid NGC/PCGS Guarantees
Buying only certified coins gives you an additional level of
safety and protection. Best of all, certified coins are backed
by guarantees as to the authenticity of the coin. Visit the PCGS and NGC websites for guarantees and full disclosures on
certified coin grading.