Grading

Grading


Once marked as “the hobby of Kings”, the collecting of coins has got a history many thousand years old, and this history goes back to a time when coins were put into use for the first time. Rarity and condition are the essential criteria when it comes down to identifying the value of a coin. However, the scarcity of a coin can be determined quite easily. The hard and complex evaluation of a coin’s condition (quality) has developed over a long period of time, at which some milestones were set.   

While there is no central European organization determining the grading scale, there are two private American companies – the Numismatic Guarantee Corporation (NGC) and the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) – which offer the identification of a coin’s grade as a service. Due to the companies’ significance, this service has got a normative character and, thus, is set as the standard.   

In the beginning stages of coin collecting, three terms in order to designate a coin’s condition were used: good, fine and uncirculated. When in the late 19th and early 20th century the collector’s market for coins was growing more and more, there was a need for a more elaborate standard regarding the intricacies of an evaluation. In 1984 the renowned numismatists Dr William Sheldon introduced the soon-to-be standard which was based on a scale from 1 to 70 – the “Sheldon Scale”. And although a fundamental standard regarding a differentiated rating had been found with the implementation of the Sheldon scale, two different persons could still arrive at two different conclusions with regard to the analysis of a coin – due to their individual and subjective view.      

With the foundation of the two independent certification companies PCGS in 1985 and NGC in 1987, the evaluation and grading of coins reached a new level of uniformity. Due to their independence NGC and PCGS guarantee the authenticity and the valuation level by means of their certifications. This guarantee enables collectors to buy and sell even the most expensive coins with the greatest confidence. Today, NGC and PCGS are the biggest coin certification companies worldwide. Furthermore, they provide the most comprehensive and extensive guarantees.