Understanding grade preservation is key to describing a coin's condition and value, therefore we take it seriously.
Important factors include quality of strike, lustre and tone. In sourcing coins we take all of the above into account and seek to describe them accurately.
It has been said that "grading is an opinion". That being true this can lead to all sorts of abuses, intended or otherwise. Reasonably you should expect from us a cautious, conservative approach.
Below you will find the standards that we grade by:
A carefully struck coin from specially prepared dies, to give a superior definition to the design, with mirror like fields.
Flawless, a term generally only applied to "Proof" coins.
Uncirculated (UNC) or 'As Struck'
A coin that is in the same condition as issued, with 'no wear through circulation'. The term "Brilliant Uncirculated" is used to describe an Uncirculated coin with full mint lustre or brilliance.
Extremely Fine (EF)
A coin with little sign of being circulated. There may be only the slightest wear to the highest areas and minimal scratches and other marks. Usually some of the mint lustre is visible on coins of this grade.
Very Fine (VF)
A coin with some wear to the highest areas of the design but has seen limited circulation. More hair detail is evident and also detail on the other designs.
A coin that has seen considerable circulation and therefore has considerable wear to the raised surfaces of the design.
A worn coin where only the main features and legends are still distinguishable.
We also use other terms to describe coins which do not fit exactly these categories such as:
GEF: better than Extremely Fine.
AUNC: close to Uncirculated but just falls short.
VUNC: virtually Uncirculated.
Similar terms are used to provide a more precise description of the grade.