Learning to grade my coins

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by blackarrow, Nov 16, 2018.

  1. blackarrow

    blackarrow Member


    since I would like to swap my coins and probably sell some of them, I started learning to grade coins. I can already say that the topic is quite difficult and broad, but my goal would be to reasonable evaluate the state of coins that I have. Here I found nice guide - https://www.pcgs.com/grades but the goal is to be able to grade the coins at least by this simplified chart - http://www.silvercoins.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/coin-grading-scale.jpg

    Since I am a complete beginner, I am open for suggestions, links, books and anything I could learn more from and please, don't laugh at my poor knowledge :) Anyway, there are few coins I pickup up randomly and tried to grade them:

    1 - MS62
    2 - MS65
    3 - VF20
    4 - XF45
    5 - MS63


    Also, I am trying to find out if some of these coins have some problems (big scratches, cleaning, residue etc.)

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  3. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    Join the ANA and order the grading correspondence course. Try to find a coin club near you.
    Oldhoopster likes this.
  4. Jaelus

    Jaelus The Hungarian Antiquarian Supporter

    First, learn to grade up to AU55. You can do this from pictures via PCGS Photograde and various grading books, such as the ANA's.

    Once you have that down, study AU58 and MS grades. Looking at slabbed coins helps.
  5. Millard

    Millard New Member

    I too tried my hand at grading some of my coins. I used the PCGS Photograde book with some fairly good success. After determining what I thought the grades should be I then compared them with slabbed coins and had a few graded. It was spot on with what I had thought. I have difficulty in determining if a coin has been cleaned more so than what the grade might be. It seems to be easier to determine the lower grades. PCGS also has an app for your iphone or android phone that comes in handy when coin searching and you don't have to join PCGS to use this app.
  6. Jaelus

    Jaelus The Hungarian Antiquarian Supporter

    For identifying cleaning my advice is to change your thinking. Learn to identify originality instead.

    There are only so many original looks, whereas cleaning methods and damage are unlimited in their possibilities. If you can identify an original look, then if you don't see it you know the coin has a problem.
    NSP, ldhair, JeffC and 1 other person like this.
  7. Millard

    Millard New Member

    much appreciated. thanks for the advice.
  8. JDL

    JDL Member

    I thought I was getting better at grading coins and felt I was at least "in the ballpark" when I was able to get some comparative feedback --- and then, I came across this eBay listing that brought me crashing back to earth. For the life of me, even knowing this Franklin half $ has FBLs, I am struggling to understand how PCGS graded this a MS65! Can anyone enlighten me? ben 1.jpg Ben 2.jpg Ben 3.jpg
  9. blackarrow

    blackarrow Member

  10. Jaelus

    Jaelus The Hungarian Antiquarian Supporter

    Based on the obverse toning, I would assume it has very strong luster.
  11. JDL

    JDL Member

    It is becoming obvious to me now ... I will NEVER understand what constitutes attractive toning versus "jungle-rot toning". My mind would never allow me to show this coin to someone and say, "...isn't she a BEAUTY?!". I am obviously not a numismatist but, rather, a collector of shiny objects with no appreciation for a coin's 'inner' beauty. So sad - and I thought I was making progress!
  12. blackarrow

    blackarrow Member

    The main problem I still have is that Photograde Book works fine for US coins. However, majority of coins in my collection are non-US.

    I found this site - https://www.ngccoin.com/price-guide/world/

    It allows me to at least take a look on original coins, and try to see the level of detail on some good preserved pieces.
  13. JDL

    JDL Member

    One thing I forgot to mention, which further dismayed me ... the "Buy it Now" price is $175.00! ? !
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