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How Are Coins Graded: Did You Know?

Jan 14, 2021

Coin grading is the process of determining a coin's condition, typically on the scale of 1 to 70. Third party grading started in the late 1970s. Graders would examine a coin and, after determining its authenticity, would assign separate grades for its obverse and reverse, and then return it to the sender, along with a certificate and photograph. After 50 years, not much has changed.

When examining a coin, graders look at the smallest details to confirm its preservation. They then grade the coins based on the Sheldon Scale. The Sheldon grading scale is a 70 point scale for grading coins, developed by Dr. William Sheldon in 1949, and is the standard for grading U.S. coins. To determine the grade, experts look at a coin's wear, finish, lettering, and other details that show signs of circulation.

Depending on the rarity and use of the coin, different number grades will be assigned to it. Rare coin values are correlated to different grades, with higher grades indicating greater worth. For example, a coin that earns a grade of one, otherwise known as a poor coin, would be completely worn down, most likely with no visible design or lettering. A coin that grades a 70, on the other hand, would be flawless with no wear, blemishes, or scratches.

Professional grading strives to be completely objective to make the quality of the coin transparent. Thanks to the Sheldon Scale, collectors can have the knowledge necessary to ensure that the coins they purchase meet their expectations in terms of condition and value. Call the number on your screen if you'd like to learn more about Precious metals or their place in your portfolio. Check out the Did you Know playlist on our YouTube page to see more interesting videos about gold.

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