Classifying numismatic coins depends heavily on quality. Understanding coin quality is crucial because it gives a first glimpse at the coin’s value, which helps investors and collectors determine which coins are worth pursuing and where to take them from there. Two classifications reflect the quality of numismatic coins: circulated and uncirculated.
Another way that coins are graded is based on whether the coins are proof. A proof coin is a numismatic coin that has been struck at least twice with specific dies. Also, proof coins are struck under higher pressure to ensure the strike is complete and sharp. Knowing whether a coin is a proof coin also informs collectors and investors of the coin’s value, as proof coins are rarer than others.
Moreover, cameo proofs, a proof subtype, have a polished, sandblasted background used to establish raised images. Cameo proofs have a final product of a frosted, mirrored design, which are desirable characteristics for collectors and investors. For more information on calculating coin grades, read on for a beginner’s guide.
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Assigning Coin Grades
There are multiple coin grading methods used to define coin quality. With so many kinds of rare coins out there, the result is a wide variety of quality. To address each level of quality, different coin grading methods are used to cover each of them.
While various ways are available for assigning coin grades, one of the most popular methods is the grading scale of the American Numismatic Association (ANA). When using the ANA system, the value appreciation of a coin may be affected in the future. For instance, coins that are of high grade will usually outperform lower-grade coins in regard to investment performance.
More About The ANA Grading Scale
The ANA grading scale separates coins based on circulated and uncirculated qualities, each of which is broken down into 24 possible grades. Thirteen of these grades are circulated coins, and 11 represent uncirculated coins. Trained and certified inspectors use the scale for coin grades and grade the coin based on their interpretation of the scale. Scale interpretation consists of investigating coin details, such as the mint luster, the strike strength, the number, and where the bag marks are placed, as well as their depth.
Additional details may be examined to inspect the coin and determine the coin grade using the ANA scale. As prices have increased over time, numismatics recognizes the need for added grading classifications. Additional systems help preserve the coin grading process’s accuracy, allowing collectors and investors to maintain authentic outcomes and price points should they choose to sell their coins.
When coins are similar, price differentiation is necessary as it further dissects the values to ensure that the classifications and coin grades are accurate and that the price reflects these specifications. Today, ANA has approved the use of MS-60 through MS-70, which reflects the aforementioned 11-point scale.
Grading System Ranges
When certified numismatics examine and establish coin grades, they go about the process using the numismatic coin grades, with Poor-1 reflecting the lowest circulated, and Very Choice About Uncirculated-58, representing the highest circulated. MS-60 is the lowest grade for uncirculated, numismatic coins, and MS-70 is the highest. MS is abbreviated for “Mint State,” and MS-70 is deemed a “perfect coin.”
Where To Get Coins Calculated
Since personal interpretations vary, many independent organizations conduct numismatic classification. Those who want a coin graded can go to these organizations and pay a nominal fee for the process. The coin will then be certified, graded, and sealed in a slab.
Certification organizations are used to reduce the chances of fraud, which initially occurred with dealer-based coin grades during the middle of the 1980s. With standards and practices in place, fraudulent gradings and conflicts of interest are reduced, given that these certified organizations do not purchase or sell the coins they grade. Third-party organizations have increased the safety of long-term storage, enhanced liquidity, and improved the protection of investors and collectors, who may otherwise be subject to fraud.
Consider Getting Your Coins Inspected
If you possess a rare, numismatic coin, consider having it professionally inspected to receive an accurate grading. Reach out to organizations certified to complete this process, such as the Professional Coin Grading Service or Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.