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The Official ANA Grading Standards for United States Coins
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Grading Coins by Photographs
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Photograde
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Grading Guide for Early American Coppers
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How to Grade U.S. Coins
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Making the Grade
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Bill Fivaz's Counterfeit Detection Guide
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Counterfeit Mis-Struck and Unofficial U.S. Coins
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Whitman Guidebook: United States Gold Counterfeit Detection Guide
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Numismatic Forgery
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Grading Assistant CD
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Coin Grading Books Help You Value Your Coins

Grading Coins is an Essential and Useful Skill

Coin grading is an extremely complex, partly subjective, partly objective process that is frequently the primary factor in determining the value of collectible coins. While many coin grading systems or standards have been developed over the years, the prevailing system for grading US coins is based largely on the work of William H. Sheldon in his 1950s book, Penny Whimsy. The Sheldon Scale assigns a numeric value of 1 – 70 based on the condition of a coin, with 70 being “perfect.” This coin grading system, with a few modifications, is the industry standard used today.

Because coin grading is subjective, collectors should learn at least the basics so they can protect themselves from over-graded coins and seek out coins that are nicer for the given grade. Buying certified (third party graded coins) is not always adequate protection as even the grading services make mistakes and, more importantly, some grading services use lower standards and thus routinely over-grade coins. Sometimes, small differences in a coin’s grade can greatly affect its value. Thus, wise coin collectors will at least want to make sure the coins they buy are properly graded, problem-free coins. Given that a grade covers a range, more astute collectors will seek pieces that are towards the high end of the range for that grade (i.e., PQ or Premium Quality pieces) and thus get better value.

Over the years, the techniques used in the process of grading coins have become infinitely finer and more detailed particularly at the higher end of the 70-point range. As a result, it takes a lot of study and experience to accurately grade coins, particularly mint state or proof coins. Grading circulated coins is easier to master and a good grading guide with pictures is an indispensable grading tool. Coin grading guides can also be helpful in grading uncirculated coins. However, no book or set of photographs can completely replace the experience that comes with viewing lots and lots of coins. Thus, to start to develop coin grading skills, one should balance a review of grading guides and books with the study of as many coins as possible. One should compare coins of different grades, identify the differences between the coins and relate those differences back to the components of the grade described in the coin grading guide.

Numismatic Grading Can Save Collectors Money

Some collectors never seek to develop their coin grading, or numismatic grading skills, instead relying on third party grading services to grade or certify their coins. However, before you pay independent firms for their grading services, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with at least the basics of grading coins. Many coins simply are not worth the expense of third party grading and even a basic understanding of grading standards can be used to screen out coins that should not be submitted for grading. If you have any questions about grading coins, please do not hesitate to contact us. WizardCoinSupply.com is dedicated to ensuring that our customers properly grade and value their coin collections.

Find the Best Coin Grading Books at Deep Discounts

A great way to become more familiar with the process of grading coins is to explore our extensive library of coin grading books and coin pricing guides. Determining values for rare coins and foreign coins can be a time-consuming and frustrating task, unless you have access to the right resources. Ask a WizardCoinSupply.com representative about the best coin grading books to help you properly grade your coin collection or start to develop numismatic grading expertise.


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