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What Are Graded Coins

Bath Spa Capital offers a large range of gold coins which have been graded by either Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) or Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), graded coins are often referred to as certified coins or “slabbed” coins, a term alluding to the plastic capsule or slab which the coin is encapsulated in. Graded coins are guaranteed to be genuine by the respective grading company, they are also assigned a grade on a scale of 1 - 70, 1 being the lowest score and 70 being a perfect example with no post-production marks, they are then encapsulated in a tamper evident, sonically welded holder. Once a coin is graded it is covered by a comprehensive guarantee on both the authenticity and the the assigned grade. 

For our clients peace of mind, in addition to our own expertise, we only offer coins which are certified to be genuine with an accurate, guaranteed grade of its quality. 

The grading scale

The grading scale used by NGC and PCGS is based on the scale developed by William H Sheldon in 1949 as a means of grading large American cents more accurately. Previously coins were assigned adjectival grades ranging from uncirculated to poor, the issue being the range of quality within each grade, for example, uncirculated coins could have no perceptible marks or a number of bag marks. The scale was  adapted in the 1970s by the American Numismatic Association (ANA) for use on all American and later world coins. The scale ranges from 1 - 70, 1 being a coin whose date and type are identifiable and 70 being a coin with no post-production marks perceptible at 5x magnification. The table below shows the numerical grades and the definition according to both NGC and PCGS. 

Numerical Grade  Adjectival Grade NGC Definition PCGS Definition
70 Mint State A coin with no post-production imperfections at 5x magnification. Fully lustrous, free of visual marks. PCGS 70 does allow for “as minted” defects as long as those flaws are minor and do not impact the eye appeal of the coin.
69 Mint State A fully struck coin with nearly imperceptible imperfections. Virtually fully struck with minuscule imperfections visible upon close inspection.
68 Mint State Very sharply struck with only minuscule imperfections Only the slightest weakness in strike with a few tiny imperfections barely visible.
67 Mint State Sharply struck with only a few imperfections. Very well struck with minor imperfections visible without magnification.
66 Mint State Very well struck with minimal marks and hairlines. Well struck with a few marks or hairlines, not in focal areas.
65 Mint State Well struck with moderate marks or hairlines. Above average strike with minor marks or hairlines, most out of focal areas.
64 Mint State Average or better strike with several obvious marks or hairlines and other minuscule imperfections. Average or better strike with scattered marks or hairlines, though none severe.
63 Mint State Slightly weak or average strike with moderate abrasions and hairlines of varying sizes. Average or weak strike with moderate marks or hairlines.
62 Mint State Slightly weak or average strike with no trace of wear. More or larger abrasions than an MS/PF 63. No wear, with average or below average strike, numerous marks or hairlines.
61 Mint State Weak or average strike with no trace of wear. More marks and/or multiple large abrasions. No wear, with average or below average strike, multiple heavy marks or hairlines allowed.
60 Mint State Weak or average strike with no trace of wear. Numerous abrasions, hairlines and/or large marks. No wear, may be poorly struck with many heavy marks or hairlines.
58 About Uncirculated Slight wear on the highest points of the design. Full details. Only the slightest friction on the highest points. Virtually full luster.
55 About Uncirculated Slight wear on less than 50% of the design. Full details.

Full detail, with slight friction on high points. Considerable luster remains. 

53 About Uncirculated Slight wear on more than 50% of the design. Full details except for very minor softness on the high points. Slight flatness and loss of luster visible on high point. Some luster remains.
50 About Uncirculated Slight wear on more than 50% of the design. Full details except for minor softness on the high points. Traces of wear now seen on high points of design. Bits of luster may remain.
45 Extremely Fine Complete details with minor wear on some of the high points. High points of design show light wear. A bit of luster may be visible in protected areas.
40
Extremely Fine
Complete details with minor wear on most of the high points. All design elements still show, but high points now worn flat. Little to no luster remains.
35 Very Fine Complete details with wear on all of the high points. Light wear seen over entire surface though all major detail still visible.
30 Very Fine Nearly complete details with moderate softness on the design areas. Wear now evident over entire surface. Intricate design detail beginning to flatten.
25 Very Fine Nearly complete details with more softness on the design areas. Entire surface shows some wear, but major design features remain clear.
20 Very Fine Moderate design detail with sharp letters and digits. Moderate wear with some loss of detail evident in design.
15 Fine Recessed areas show slight softness. Letters and digits are sharp. Slightly less than half of finer design details worn flat. All lettering remains sharp and clear.
12 Fine Recessed areas show more softness. Letters and digits are sharp. About half of detail now worn flat. All lettering remains visible.
10 Very Good Wear throughout the design. Letters and digits show softness. Considerable wear has flattened most of the fine detail. Most lettering remains readable.
8 Very Good Wear throughout the design. Letters and digits show more softness. Most central detail now worn flat. Some inner lettering still visible. Rims remains full.
6 Good Peripheral letters and digits are full. Rims are sharp. Rims and peripheral lettering full but design now flat and visible only in outline form.
4 Good Peripheral letters and digits are nearly full. Rims exhibit wear. Rims mostly full but may be flat or slightly worn into peripheral letters in spots.
3 About Good Most letters and digits are readable. Rims are worn into the fields. Rims worn into tops of lettering but most lettering remains readable.
2 Fair Some details are visible. Rims are barely visible. Entire coin is worn flat, with only traces of peripheral lettering visible.
1 Poor Enough detail to identify the coin's date and type. Rims are flat or nearly flat. Enough detail to identify the coin's date and type. Rims are flat or nearly flat.

Guarantees

One of the many benefits of graded coins is the comprehensive guarantee offered by the respective companies with regards to both authenticity and the grade which has been determined by a professional grader. 


Click here for details of the Numismatic Guaranty Company’s guarantee.  

Click here for details of the Professional Coin Grading Service’s guarantee.

 

 

 

 

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