Grading German 5 Mark 1951 to 1974 (Screaming Eagle)

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by Bean, May 29, 2019.

  1. Bean

    Bean Member

    Hello all,
    I hope all is well. I'm looking for some guidance on grading these coins. I have a nearly a complete set, none are graded. Any and all info would be much appreciated! I've been searching the internet and found nothing so far.

    Thank You in Advance,

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  3. Rheingold

    Rheingold Well-Known Member

    Would you show us pics of the coins you want to be graded by us?:)
  4. Jaelus

    Jaelus The Hungarian Antiquarian Supporter

    You're not going to have much luck finding guides on how to apply US grading to specific world coins. Many countries have their own grading scales and most do not go into the level of detail that we do in the US.

    I buy many coins from German and Austrian (almost the same as German grading) auction houses and dealers, so I deal with their grading scale frequently.

    Here's a table from


    The site I linked has general guidance on how to grade coins for the German market, which is about as close as you're going to get.

    Sometimes you will see gut for the lower grades below fine, and also unzirkuliert (unz) in place of stempelglanz. I find the main difference between the styles of grading to be that their fast stempelglanz is almost uncirculated and stempelglanz is uncirculated, but their uncirculated starts at our MS63. Often coins that would be MS60-62 in the US market are in reality graded as low as vz or vz-st on the German scale - from my experience bankfrisch is not really used even though it is on the above table. Also, most countries have at least some acceptance to use FDC (fleur de coin) for gem (MS65) and above, even though it is technically part of the French grading scale.

    While erstabschlag is used for PL coins, their concept of PL is much more lax than it is in the US. There is no measuring of reflectivity distance. You can simply look at the coin and tell if it is a first strike or not by the appearance of the fields - toning does not prevent this designation.
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
    alurid likes this.
  5. Bean

    Bean Member

    That is some good info! Thank You so very much! It is way more info than I had, it's very helpful.

    Thanks again for your time!
  6. Bean

    Bean Member

    I'm trying to get what I need to post photos, unfortunately I can't post photos yet.
  7. NDRob

    NDRob New Member

    I wrote up a long post with guidance on how to grade these coins, but it did not appear to save. I have comments on both the subject of German/American grade conversions and on the grading of the coins themselves.

    Conversions: The chart on is pretty good, but does not exactly mimic my experience. The Jaeger catalog, "Die Deutschen Muenzen seit 1871", says Stempelglanz is a near perfect coin. It says St is a coin with no defects visible without magnification. It varies from type to type, but that means MS65 and up. I think your more reputable dealers and auction houses, e.g. Kuenker, Franquinet, Teutoburger, WAG, Ritter, etc., will mostly adhere to this standard. St is the highest grade so it can even refer to coins better than MS65, but those coins will often be described with additional superlatives. I find that f.St is roughly MS63-64. Vz-st is AU55-62. Bankfrisch tends to be AU58-63, but I don't like it as a term. Vz is ~AU50-53. SS and below is about right on the chart. They're pretty wide ranges. Germans tend to do a little more of what we would consider market grading and weight eye appeal and the overall look of a coin more heavily.

    Grading: This is a tricky series to grade accurately. I think TPGs tend to overgrade circulated coins and undergrade MS coins, and both are for roughly the same reason. The coin's design is fairly low relief and composed of mainly fields. To get super high grades MS65 and up, the fields have to be very clear and clean. When you coins is mostly fields, that's a tall order. MS66s tend to look almost perfect with MS67s being very very difficult to attain. The 66-67 split on this series reminds me of how it is on smaller coins rather than larger ones like Morgans. Because the design is simple, there aren't a ton of great wear markers like on a lot of US coins. I usually look to the fields to differentiate between VF, XF, and AU. I look for bag marks, circulation marks, and luster. If a coin circulates organically, the wear and the marks should go hand in hand. I'll look at luster the most in determining AU. The open space between the 5 and the circular lettering on the obverse is one of the first things to degrade. If the luster is gone in that area and is only in the protected regions between the letters, you're in the low AU range and possibly choice XF.

    Even if you know how to grade these coins, is it worth submitting them to a TPG? In most cases it isn't. The only coin worth grading in circulated grades is the key date, 1958-J. For common dates, 1968-1974, you need the coin to be in the MS66-67 range to be worth it from a financial point of view. On the rarer dates, 1956-1960, then lower MS like 63-64 are worth grading. The middling, uncommon dates are somewhere between those two. I personally have a full set and haven't bothered to send any in for certification myself. I own more than a handful certified examples, but I purchased them that way.

    Also, be careful when using the NGC price guide or the Krause manual. They only list dates in XF and MS and it can be tempting to think AU coins are worth more than they are. The XF prices tend to apply to AU coins more than MS prices in this series.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
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  8. Bean

    Bean Member

    Excellent info, thanks for the reply. It will definitely come in handy!
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