Coin Collecting: Coin Condition & Value (Part 4 of 6)

(Don’t have time to read this article right now? Jump to the bottom and add to Pocket an Iphone/Android app that reads articles to you. Click here to jump to the bottom.)

I’m also kind of cheating and reblogging a post from Crazee Coins on Facebook. Do feel free to read them all on their Facebook wall. Do feel free to read them all on their Facebook wall or on their blog: COIN COLLECTING PART 4/5 (COIN CONDITION AND VALUE). Crazee Coins is located in 92 Denis Hurley Street, 4001 Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

In 2010 , Crazee Coins was established to bring you high-quality collector’s coins in a range of designs. We have been building our reserves from past to present and beyond. (Krugerrands, ZAR Coins, Mandela Coins, Union Coins, Republic of South Africa Coins, with a wide variety of mint coins) Our coins are only graded by world renowned grading company NGC & PCGS based in America which is the preferred choice by coin collectors across the globe. Crazee Coins is run by two enthusiastic coin collectors Cuzz & Smiley who will endeavor to find the coin that best suits you.

In coin collecting, the condition of a coin is paramount to its value; a high-quality example is often worth many times more than a poor example. Collectors have created systems to describe the overall condition of coins.

In the early days of coin collecting—before the development of a large international coin market—extremely precise grades were not needed. Coins were described using only three adjectives: “good,” “fine” or “uncirculated”. By the mid 20th century, with the growing market for rare coins, the American Numismatic Association helps identify most coins. It uses a 1–70 numbering scale, where 70 represents a perfect specimen and 1 represents a barely identifiable coin. Descriptions and numeric grades for coins (from highest to lowest) is as follows:

  • Proof (PF) 60-70
    • Choice Proof (PF) 63 & 64 *
    • Gem Proof (PF) 65 , 66 & 67 *
    • Superb Proof (PF) 68 – 70 *
  • Mint State (MS) 60–70: Uncirculated (UNC) Brilliant Uncirculated (BU)
    • Choice Brilliant Uncirculated (MS) 63 & 64 *
    • Gem Brilliant Uncirculated (MS) 65 , 66 & 67 *
    • Superb Brilliant Uncirculated (MS) 68 – 70 *
  • About/Almost Uncirculated (AU) 50 – 52
    • Choice  Almost Uncirculated (AU) 53, 55 *
    • Very Choice Almost Uncirculated (AU) 58 *
  • Extremely Fine (XF or EF) 40
    • Choice Extremely Fine (XF or EF) 45 *
  • Very Fine (VF) 20,
    • Choice Very Fine (VF) 25, 30, 35 *
  • Fine (F) 12, 15
  • Very Good (VG) 8, 10
  • Good (G) 4, 6
  • About Good (AG) 3
    • Fair (FA, FR, AG) 2
    • Poor (PR, PO, AG) 1

* These are extra added definitions that are used more frequently in the US than other countries. Not part of Crazee Coins original post.

Coin experts in Europe and elsewhere often shun the numerical system, preferring to rate specimens on a purely descriptive, or adjectival, scale. Nevertheless, most grading systems use similar terminology and values and remain mutually intelligible. * (I do want add that this system is widely used in the US. Although I’ve not seen grading guides for other countries PCGS has created a free site called Photograde. Photograde is also available as an app for both Iphone & Android phones.)

When evaluating a coin, the following often subjective factors may be considered:

  1. “eye appeal” or the aesthetic interest of the coin
  2. dents on the rim, unsightly scratches or other blemishes on the surface of the coin
  3. luster
  4. toning
  5. level of detail retained, where a coin with full details obviously is valued higher than one with worn details. If the coin is judged favorably in all of these criteria, it will generally be awarded a higher grade.

Damage of any sort (e.g., holes, edge dents, repairs, cleaning, re-engraving or gouges) can substantially reduce the value of a coin. Specimens are occasionally cleaned or polished in an attempt to pass them off as higher grades or as uncirculated strikes. Because of the substantially lower prices for cleaned or damaged coins, some enthusiasts specialize in their collection.

You can also follow Crazee Coins on Twitter.
The Mysterious World of Coin Collecting
Coin Collecting: History (Part 1 of 6)
Coin Collecting: Motivations For Coin Collecting (Part 2 of 6)
Coin Collecting: Collector Types (Part 3 of 6)


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