Grading - The Root of All Evil

I am joking of course, in using the title above, but determining the accurate grade of any object is the primary way to establish a reasonable value for the item.  This is true whether it is a coin, token or medal, 1965 Mustang, baseball card or little red wagon.  Traditionally, the biggest conflict in the coin hobby between the dealer and collector has always been over this issue.

One only has to look through our "Rogues Gallery" section to find coins that were misdesribed or overgraded - the differences in value are considerable.  In most case, the customer simply trusted the dealer and did not know enough to realize that the coin was badly overgraded.  Regardless of whatever an individual may claim as to thier honesty and integrity, it is still incumbent upon the customer to know enough to protect their own interest.  After all, even the most honest person makes a mistake every now than then.  I recently purchased a collection in which there are a couple of coins that I misattributed and/or misgraded some years back, and which I am buying back from the customer at the price paid (more than they are currently worth) due to my error.

On the following pages, I will give a basic "primer" on grading, including standard terms used in the hobby and on this website, and will offer some tips on how to grade, learning how to grade (not necessarily the same thing) and some reflections on value. I hope to eventually accumulate enough images to post a visual grading guide that can be used to estimate a coins grade.