Once referred to as the "Hobby of Kings," coin collecting today boasts a history spanning millennia, reaching back to the inception of coinage itself. Rarity and preservation are the crucial criteria for collectors when determining a coin's value. While rarity can be relatively easily determined, the more challenging assessment of preservation has evolved over an extended period, marked by significant milestones.

While Europe lacks a centralized organization establishing grading scales, the United States is home to two private enterprises, the Numismatic Guarantee Corporation (NGC) and the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), which offer grading services, holding normative significance due to their importance.

In the early days of coin collecting, three more general terms were used to describe a coin's preservation: good, fine, and uncirculated. As the coin collecting market grew stronger in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a more detailed standard for grading was needed. In 1948, the renowned numismatist Dr. William Sheldon introduced a grading standard based on a scale from 1 to 70—the "Sheldon Scale." Although the Sheldon Scale established a fundamental standard for nuanced grading, subjective opinions could still lead two individuals to vastly different assessments of a coin.

Since the mid-1980s (PCGS) and 1987 (NGC), coin grading has reached a new level of uniformity with the establishment of these two independent coin grading companies. Their independence guarantees the authenticity and grade of coins through their certification services. This assurance allows collectors to buy and sell even the most expensive coins with greater confidence. NGC and PCGS are now the world's largest coin grading companies, offering the most comprehensive guarantees on the market.

Grading Scale

Official Grading Scale