WCS Grading Information
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Coins, Tokens, & Other Exonumia
Basically this page is a little discussion of our approach to grading and how to interpret our methods of grading.
At the very best grading is a subjective endeavor, a study of slabbed coins will quickly show that, as the same coin can be graded differently by every grading service, even by the big 3 grading services. We have seen very large discrepancies, and who is to say which one is right. The final opinion has to be that of the buyer. It is our personal opinion that a couple of the smaller services are actually better at grading non-U.S. coins, especially SEGS, ICG, & PCI. However, we are not promoting these services in any manner. At the current time, the only time we slab a coin is if there is any doubt in our minds that it is authentic, then we will to get a second opinion.
We must be doing something right, since our returns are less than one tenth of one percent. That is pure speculation, as we have no idea how many transactions we've had, and our returns have only been about 6 orders in ten years (and they were mostly changed minds). We are very proud of that record. We have over 35 years years of experience in coin dealing and have served thousands of collectors. Just check out our feedback on eBay to see that. References: Current eBay Feedback. When we say satisfaction guaranteed, we mean it.
On to grading. One of the first things you will notice is that we partial grade. You will see such things as: G-VG, VG+, F-, VF/XF, and my favorite CH. AU-UNC. Let me explain these examples for your edification. Obviously, we could use the MS number grade for circulated coins, but it is my experience that most collectors really don't understand them.
G-VG: this means that the coin in question is approximately half way between G and VG. The reason for this is simple. The general inclination of a person, including myself is to err on the high side; therefore, if a coin is $2.00 in G and $6.00 in VG, the human thing to do if there are just those 2 choices is to call it a VG. Obviously that isn't the correct or ethical thing to do. Calling it what it is, a $4.00 coin, is much more accurate. Catalogs obviously don't half-grade, because they would be larger than the tomes they are now.
VG+: This simply means a coin is a strong VG, much better than a standard VG. Using the example above it is more like a $3.00 coin.
F-: On the other side of the gap, if you have a real nice almost F coin, but just not quite F, $5.00 is a much fairer value.
VF/XF: A double grade with a slash (/) between it, in our example means that the Obverse is VF (the first grade), and the Reverse is XF. The value is pretty subjective at this point probably around $3.00-$3.50, but at least the buyer has more accurate information to make his decision. (grades on expensive coins can get pretty intricate, such as (G-VG/F- or VF+/VF-XF).
CH. AU-UNC: This grade I really like, because it means a coin that for all intents and purposes is an UNC (at least most grading services would call it that from my experience); however, I'm not will to call it UNC. Generally it will be priced 95% to 100% of UNC depending on how nice it is.
UNC: An Uncirculated coin with no day to day wear. It can have bag marks and rubs not associated with wear, and may be dulled from time.
Ch. UNC: An Uncirculated coin that has more eye appeal, some original brilliance, and just generally a nicer looking UNC. (Probably in MS grading a MS61 or MS62).
BU : This is a coin that has the strike and brilliance of a coin that exceeds the standards for UNC (Uncirculated). It can be toned completely or as shiny as the day it was made. It has very few bags marks and other non-wear defects. This is a coin that would probably fall into MS63-64 category.
GEM BU: This is an even finer coin. Almost no bag marks or rubs discernable with the naked eye or a 10X loupe. Only high point rubs seen with the loupe. Probably an MS65 or MS66, or I just think it is really nice. If it has an excessive price it is a darn nice coin.
If a coin is normally found as a weak strike, and it is a strong strike (as is the situation with many Latin American coins) I will mention it and the price will reflect it.
Bag Marks and Usual Wear Dings: If these kinds of marks are present, I will mention them if they affect the eye appeal of a coin, otherwise no. Any ding, or mark that is noticeable I will surely mention.
Porosity, spotting, corrosion, etc. will be mentioned also. Every effort will be made to describe coins accurately. Most coins over $20 will include a scan or a picture. There are enough pictures and scan throughout the website that you can get a real good idea of our grading.
CH., Ch., or Choice - simply means that the coin has some or most of it's
Br. - Brown, AU or better copper.
Rd, or Red - The original red look of copper.
Rd. Br. - Together means a mix of Red & Brown.
Any questions, please don't hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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WCS Coin Grading Information