Graded Coins are rare or proof coins that have been inspected by the top experts in the world of numismatics to assess their quality and assure collectors that what they are buying is the very best coinage.
Who grades these coins?
We use the two biggest grading services to assess our best coins: the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS).
The NGC are an American firm based in Florida. They specialise in coin certification for circulated and uncirculated coins from all over the world. The company was founded in 1987 and since then have become the world's largest certification group, having inspected and graded more than 41 million coins. The NGC is affiliated with the American Numismatics Association and the Professional Numismatists Guild.
The PCGS are also American. The organisation started life two years earlier in 1985 in California. The company filled the gap in the market for coin certification. They were experts that knew that while the grading system for coins was accurate, it needed to be enforced correctly, and so they recruited likeminded experts to operate in this market niche.
How are the coins assessed?
A team of 30+ permanent and freelance staff are used by the NGC to match coins to documentation and historical recordings from across the globe, whether documents directly from a specific mint or records from numismatists and/or collectors at the time.
The experts will cross-check these coins with databases of images, as well as ensuring they are the correct weight, have the right dimensions, are a true purity of gold or silver - just to name a few aspects of the task.
How are the coins ranked?
The NGC and other inspectors use the Sheldon coin grading scale for their certification. This scale goes from 1 (Poor) to 70 (Perfect). The following codes identify coin quality:
- PF or PR = Proof (60 - 70)
- MS = Mint state (60 - 70)
- Almost or About Uncirculated (50 - 58)
- Fine (12 - 45)
- Good (3 - 10)
- Fair (2)
- Poor (1)
Most of the coins at BullionByPost are PF69 or PF70. PF70 is the best of the best and these coins are flawless at 5x magnification. PF69 is fractionally behind this grade in quality, with the most miniscule of imperfections, but still offering a near flawless coin.
From time to time we also stock mint state coins, indicated by the MS tag. These are not flawless or immaculate, typically due to their age, but they are uncirculated and rare. As such we have these coins graded by the NGC to authenticate their rarity and prove they are indeed the coin we say they are.
Why does their grading add value?
Such is the level of trust in the NGC's knowledge and expertise that many collectors are willing to pay more to ensure they get a coin which has been graded by them. Customers know that they are getting a world class quality collectable if they buy coins approved by the NGC; a coin that hasn't been damaged by wear and tear from the elements or handling.