A lot has been changed in the coins collectors’ circle except the enthusiasm and craze for their favorite past time. The most vital change has been in the grading system of coins. From the earlier times when coins were evaluated mainly in three categories, namely good, fine and uncirculated to today’s times when coin grading app has come up to make things easier for a coin collector; coin grading system has been evolved to a great extent.
History of coin grading:
In the earlier years, rarity and condition of a coin was the basis of evaluation. Three general terms were used to describe the grade of a coin-
- Good: Coins in which the details were visible but the surface had been worn due to circulation were given ‘Good’ grade.
- Fine: The coins that were graded as ‘fine’ had their surface less worn from circulation and also shown some mint luster.
- Uncirculated: These coins had sharp details and were lustrous.
Later, it was realised that these three terms are not enough to create a fair market for the coin collectors. And hence, to meet the needs of precise grading system, other grading terms like ‘gem uncirculated’ and ‘very fine’ came into existence during the late 1800s and early 1900s. This was an attempt to allow precise pricing as per precise grading description.
More changes were seen in the later years. It was in 1948 that a well known numismatist, Dr. William Sheldon attempted to standardise coin grading. He proposed Sheldon scale which runs from one to seventy to define the value of coins. It was earlier devised for larger cents but is now applied to all series. Sheldon scale too lacked in some areas to create a fair market as it was very difficult for untrained eyes to differentiate between two coins graded differently on Sheldon scale. In such cases, their only option was to rely on the seller.
In order to find a solution for this problem, coin grading was taken to a new level of consistency. In 1987, Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) came into existence. NGC certified coins offer authenticity.
Today, those who don’t have the time to spare on professional organisations to get their coins graded can use coin grading app to do the same. Thanks to the technology that has made things easier and reliable for the numismatist community.