Rarity Ratings (R4, etc.)

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Pocket Change, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. Pocket Change

    Pocket Change Coin Collector

    Where do those rarity ratings come from? Like R3, R4, etc.

    For example, I just read on a website that the 1909-O Barber Half is a R4 (Very Scarce) rarity.

    Are these posted anywhere or is there some publication that lists this info?
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  3. Speedy

    Speedy Researching Coins Supporter

    There are many different Rarity Ratings, and each one has a different meaning. EX: R4 might mean less than 25, while when talking about Tokens R4 might mean 5,000-10,000.
    For a few years now everytime I see a Rarity Rating I copy it and save it on my hard drive....here is what I have so far:

    Fuld rarity scale for token coins:
    R - 1 Greater than 5000 (Relatively Common)
    R - 2 2001 to 5000
    R - 3 501 to 2000
    R - 4 201 to 500
    R - 5 76 to 200
    R - 6 21 to 75
    R - 7 11 to 20
    R - 8 5 to 10
    R - 9 2 to 4
    R - 10 1 Only

    The Sheldon Scale
    R-1 Common
    R-2 Not So Common
    R-3 Scarce
    R-4 Very Scarce (population est at 76-200)
    R-5 Rare (31-75)
    R-6 Very Rare (13-30)
    R-7 Extremely rare (4-12)
    R-8 Unique or Nearly So (1,2 or 3)

    The Universal Rarity Scale by Q. David Bowers
    URS-0 None known
    URS-1 1 known, unique
    URS-2 2 known
    URS-3 3 or 4 known
    URS-4 5 to 8 known
    URS-5 9 to 16 known
    URS-6 17 to 32 known
    URS-7 33 to 64 known
    URS-8 65 to 125 known
    URS-9 126 to 250 known
    URS-10 251 to 500 known
    URS-11 501 to 1,000 known
    URS-12 1,001 to 2,000 known
    URS-13 2,001 to 4,000 known
    URS-14 4,001 to 8,000 known
    URS-15 8,001 to 16,000 known
    URS-16 16,001 to 32,000 known
    URS-17 32,001 to 65,000 known
    URS-18 65,001 to 125,000 known
    URS-19 125,001 to 250,000 known
    URS-20 250,001 to 500,000 known

    From the degrees of Rarity as defined in Scholten in Coins of the Dutch Overseas Territories
    Scholten Description
    C Common
    N Normal
    S Scarce
    R Rare
    RR Very Rare
    RRR Extremely Rare
    RRRR Of the utmost rarity

    Michael Marsh in his book The Gold Sovereign expands the last rarity.
    Marsh Description
    R4 15 to 25 examples known
    R5 9 to 14 examples known
    R6 4 to 8 examples known
    R7 Highest rarity known

    Andrew Pollock in his book US Patterns uses the rarity as,
    Marsh Description
    R1 over 1250 examples known
    R2 500 to 1250 examples known
    R3 201 to 500 examples known
    R4 76 to 200 examples known
    R5 31 to 75 examples known
    R6 13 to 30 examples known
    R7 4 to 12 Highest rarity known
    R8 2 or 3 examples known

    Overton (and bust half collectors as a whole) use the Sheldon Rarity System where:
    R1 is common (1000+ pieces known)
    R2 is Slightly uncommon (501-1000 pieces known)
    R3 is Scarce (201-500 pieces known)
    R4 is Very Scarce (81-200 pieces known)
    R5 is Rare (31-80 pieces known)
    R6 is Very Rare (13-30 pieces known)
    R7 is Extremely Rare (4-12 pieces known)
    R8 is Unique or nearly so (1-3 pieces known)

    English Rarity Scale - from The English Silver Coinage from 1649 by Seaby & Rayner.
    R7 - only 1 or 2 examples known
    R6 - 3 - 4
    R5 - 5 - 10
    R4 - 11 - 20
    R3 - Extremely Rare
    R2 - Very Rare
    R - Rare
    S - Scarce
    N - Normal, neither scarce nor common
    C - Common
    C2 - Very Common
    C3 - Extremely Common

    Hard Times tokens rarity scale
    R1 - common
    R2 - less common
    R3 - Scarce
    R4 - estimated 76-200 specimens survive
    R5 - estimated 31-75 specimens survive
    R6 - estimated 13-30 specimens survive
    R7 - estimated 4-12 specimens survive
    R8 - estimated 2 or 3 specimens survive
    R9 - Unique (only one known)

  4. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

    Thanks, that was a great listing!
  5. clembo

    clembo A closed mind is no mind

  6. Pocket Change

    Pocket Change Coin Collector

    Wow Speedy! That list could save hours of time later!

    However, I don't think those fit what I was referring to.

    I saw the original mention of R4, etc. on coinfacts.com.

    Here is a link to them talking about Barber Halves:

    If you don't want to go to the link, here is the text I'm referring to:

    "There are no true rarities in the lower grades (other than the 1892 micro-O), but three regular issues each have total mint state populations lower than that of the 1901-S quarter. Of the 73 regular issues, three are R6, 16 are R5, 10 are R4, 17 are R3, 15 are R2 and only 12 are R1. The micro-O, with only two coins certified, is R8 in mint state."

    Whet the heck they be talking about?
  7. Speedy

    Speedy Researching Coins Supporter

    Interesting---I can't match that up with any of the ones I posted. I would be interested in knowing what RR they are talking about. Maybe Doug knows.

  8. Pocket Change

    Pocket Change Coin Collector

    To maybe help out or at least add fuel to the fire, here is a partial quote from the 1909-O Barber Half:

    "1909-O has increased in rarity from R3 [Scarce] to R4 [Very Scarce] since 1991..."

    So it isn't static like being based on mintages. Somebody, somewhere must be judging this.....?
  9. Hobo

    Hobo Squirrel Hater

    What that probably means is the number of known examples (or the estimated population) has been revised downward. You cannot go by population reports issued by PCGS and NGC because resubmittals and crossovers artificially inflate the pop numbers.
  10. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    They are using the Sheldon scale and they are talking about condition rarity, not true rarity.
  11. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

    They are talking about Barber half dollars.
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