If you have decided to take up a hobby, then coin collecting may speak to you as an interest. If so, then you will need to learn some of the numismatic basics. One of the basics is learning the coin grading scale and understanding how coins are graded by one of the four professional grading institutions. You may notice that one or several of your coins appear more aesthetically pleasing, but are graded lower than others. Keep reading to learn why this may be the case.
You May Have Circulated And Uncirculated Coins
Coins are graded on a basic scale from 1 to 70. The different number grades are separated into levels and you will see a letter abbreviation in front of the number. The most common of these abbreviations include G (good), VG (very good), F (fine), VF (very fine). If you decide to get into the more expensive coins then you are likely to see marks like AU (about uncirculated) and MS (mint state).
When it comes to the lower graded coins, which are the ones rated 40 and below, flaws are typically obvious and affect the beauty of the coins. Typically, the flaws detract greatly from the appearance and you can tell the difference between a F-12 and a VF-20 coin.
However, once your coins sit in the mint state and about uncirculated categories, there are very few flaws in the coins themselves. In fact, you may not see much wear at all in an AU coin and it may appear beautiful. There will be microscopic flaws though. On the other hand, an MS coin can be flawless, uncirculated, and ugly. Simply based on the fact that it is uncirculated, it will have a value higher than the circulated coin based solely on technical value.
While the MS coin may be graded higher, most colectors do place a premium on value, so it may be worth more as an investment since it will be easier to sell down the road.
Unseen Flaws In Manufacturing
A lot of the grading process will see complicated and unusual, especially if you are new to coin collecting. This is generally the case when it comes to things like flaws. Certain flaws during the manufacturing process can add value to your coin, but it can also detract greatly from it. If the strike of the coin is weak, then it will be graded lower. This may be seen as a manufacturing defect, since the coin was not produced with a deep image like the rest of the lot. This creates a common coin flaw that detracts from the beauty. Sometimes the weak strike is not noticed by the naked eye, but it will be discovered during the grading process and the rating will be lowered accordingly.
Other flaws that include small nicks around the edges and planchet imperfections can reduce the grade as well.