Grading standards
0

7 posts in this topic

  • Administrator

NGC, like the other major grading service, utilizes our own standards, which take into consideration those of the ANA. We are proud to be the official grading service of the ANA. While the ANA guide is a great resource tool, the published standards are not complete within the mint state grades, and the descriptions given for each grade are sometimes quite general. NGC determines the grade of a coin, based primarily on decades of hands on experience and having seen millions of coins that have contributed to what is in a sense, an ongoing learning curve.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dena,

 

I recognize that an MS63 for one series may be different for another. They may even be different by date or mint. For example, an O mint Morgan or an S mint Walker may have more tolerance for weakness than their P mint counterparts.

 

Or, a Seated Dollar can have a bit more hits or hairlines than a Morgan to qualify for a MS63.

 

Is there anyway NGC can post blowup scans of your reference coins as well as textual standards online?

 

EVP

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

For grading mint state and proof coins, books are of use only as a starting point. Real knowledge comes from experience in handling thousands of coins, and this is where NGC’s graders excel.

 

Because the grading of uncirculated and proof coins is a matter of practical experience, there are no true published standards. The marketplace dictates these standards over time, and they are evolutionary in nature. Only through immersion in the coin business or hobby can someone really learn, though the grading seminars sponsored by the ANA can accelerate this learning process greatly. NGC’s graders are among the instructors at these regional seminars and at the ANA’s annual Summer Seminar in Colorado Springs. This kind of hands-on learning approach is very useful to someone who wants to see coins in the way that professional graders see them. I know several collectors and dealers who have taken the ANA’s Advanced Grading course repeatedly, sometimes several years in a row, just to spend time with the professional graders.

 

While many collectors and specialized dealers can gain proficiency within a particular series or category of coins, NGC’s graders are in the challenging position of having to grade everything from soup to nuts. Specifically, this includes all federal coinage from 1792 to date, patterns, pioneer gold coins and even certain classes of tokens and medals. This is not including the many world coins that NGC certifies. While NGC has specialists on its staff in some of the more esoteric areas, all of our graders have to be able to handle any item recognized under NGC’s parameters. Finally, they need to be proficient in detecting counterfeit, altered and repaired coins, as well as being able to distinguish other categories of “no grade” coins. This knowledge comes mainly as the result of having been successful coin dealers for a number of years prior to joining NGC.

 

Another challenge to the professional grader is the dizzying array of coin types seen within a single day. It would be easier to spend one day doing large cents, another day doing Morgan Dollars, and so on, but the reality is that most submissions we receive are of mixed coins. A typical box may contain both worn pieces and gems, USA and foreign. Throw in a few mint errors and a variety or two, and you get an idea of how difficult this can be. Quality of manufacture must also be taken into consideration and can vary widely according to date and mint within particular issues. To be able to switch gears so quickly while still grading accurately and consistently is the make-or-break test for a professional grader, and only the ones who can do this for hours at a time, day after day, remain on staff at NGC.

 

The bottom line is that only experience can teach someone how to grade coins. Some of this experience may be gained by simply examining coins that NGC has already certified to see what is acceptable and how each coin measures up to others of the same type. As for “no grade” coins, that’s another learning curve, and NGC has published a booklet titled “Understanding No Grades.” This will be sent to anyone requesting it from NGC’s Customer Service Department. It outlines the basics of why certain coins will not be certified by NGC.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a long term project that might be worthwhile for NGC to do for the collector's benefit (tho perhaps not for the bottom line). A computerized link to pictures of NGC coins in each grade for each series - an electronic version of the mythical PCGS grading set!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Administrator

 

Interestingly enough, as more and more people post pics in the Certified Registry, you should be able to see this. Not only that, you'll be able to see NGC coins right next to PCGS coins. hmmmm....

 

Arch

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
0