Short History Of The Sheldon Numismatic Coin Grading Scale
Coin grading is extremely important in the field of numismatics and as a numismatic coin collector through Numis Network, you should understand the history behind grading as well as how coin graders grade numismatic coins.
Determining Numismatic Value
Grading determines the different values of numismatic coins such as the ones offered by Numis Network. A coin in a lower grade is not as valuable as a coin in a higher grade. An example of this is an MS69 American Silver Eagle which sells for less in the market than a MS70 American Silver Eagle. Coin grading is both art and science and takes years of practice looking at coins to become skilled in the process.
In his book “Early American Cents”, William H. Sheldon created a 70 point grading scale (The Sheldon Grading Scale) which you will see on the coins offered by Numis Network. The scale was actually designed to be used on copper cents dated from 1793 to 1814. It used a numeric approach to grading instead of the older scale of calling a numismatic coin bright uncirculated, fine, very fine, etc. as it could mean various things to different collectors. Sheldon’s numeric scale was designed to be used with a basil value.
A numismatic coin’s basil value would be multiplied by a Sheldon scale number to determine the market value of a coin. As an example, a coin with a basil value of $2 might be worth $60 as a VF 30 and $120 as an MS60. The system quickly fell apart because ultimately, the free markets determine the value of coins. Factors such as rarity and demand influence the market value of numismatic coins like the ones Numis Network provides from each grade.
For example, a rare coin graded as an MS64 may be worth a few hundred dollars whereas the same coin graded as an MS70 could be worth several thousands. Ultimately, the rarity of the coin plus the rarity of a higher grade will create a higher demand on the very limited supply of the coin, thereby driving the value of that coin up. Numis Network offers a variety of numismatic coins such as these.
The numeric scale remained in place because it was regarded as a more scientific method of grading coins. The Sheldon Grading Scale, which consists of 70 points, is broken down into two sub categories of Circulated Grades and Non-Circulated (Mint State or Proof) Grades.
AG-3 (About Good)
G-6 (Good Plus)
VG-8 (Very Good)
VF-20 (Very Fine)
VF-30 (Good Very Fine)
EF-40 (Extremely Fine)
XF-45 (Choice Ex-Fine)
AU-50 (About Uncir)
AU-55 (Good About Uncir)
AU-58 (Choice About Uncirc)
Uncirculated (Mint State) Grades:
Mint State grades apply to uncirculated coins only whereas Proof coins use the letter “PR” instead of “MS” on the grades. Numis Network specializes in both PRs and MSs. While the Sheldon Scale did provide the different grades, collectors and dealers had different opinions on what made each coin qualify for different grades. This made determining the market value of a coin very difficult. Today, we enjoy third party coin grading services which help to solve the problem of determining a coin’s grade and authenticity. Here are the top four trusted coin graders:
The Four Top Tier Numismatic Coin Grading Services:
- ANACS (American Numismatic Association Certification Service)
- PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service)
- NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation)
- ICG (Independent Coin Graders)
Hello, my name is Mike Pagach and I am the founder of the The Numis Network Review. I live in Sunny Ventura, CA where I enjoy calm breezes, music, and art.
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