How to evaluate collectible coins using the
European Coin Grading System.
All Coin Values resource
European Coin Grading System
Coin grading systems were created to try to bring about a standardised, methodical
approach to evaluating a coins' state of preservation, relative to mint state.
Many countries have their own versions or systems, however two
primary systems have been adopted by most of the western world:
The European system is less defined than the Sheldon System, however takes a
more conservative approach than the Sheldon system. For example, a coin grading
at VF20 on the Sheldon system is likely to be assessed as closer to a 'Fine',
or 'good Fine' using the European method.
It needs to be stressed from the outset that coin and banknote grading is subjective.
Many very experienced graders may look at the same coin and come up with
different assessments, sometimes up to a whole grade, or more.
Grade often does not really take in to account detractors, although many will state a
coin as 'ungradable' if it has significant detractors, such as cleaning, bumps,
scratches, or corrosion.
One technique of evaluating such coins is to state 'detail to .......', meaning that the degree
of detail would have see this coin evaluated at a certain grade, if it weren't for the detractors.
||Original design remaining
||95% + some lustre
||100% + some lustre
|Gem/BU||Gem or Brilliant Uncirculated
||100% + full lustre
Where a coin is assesed as between grades, prefixes are sometimes used to indicate 'nearly', or 'a bit better than', as follows:
'aVF' may be used to indicate 'about Very Fine', or 'almost Very Fine'.
(not quite VF, but close, and better than 'good Fine').
'gVF' may be used to indicate 'good Very Fine'.
(a bit better than Very Fine, but not good enough to be 'about Extremely Fine'.)
Often coin sides wear unevenly, or were better struck on one side than the other.
In such cases, it is not uncommon to see people state individual grades for each side
of a coin. This is referred to as 'split grading'.
When this is done, convention is that the obverse, (front, heads), is stated first, then
the reverse, (back, tails), as follows:
'VF/F' would indicate that the obverse, (heads), has been assessed as 'Very Fine',
while the reverse, (tails), has been assessed as 'Fine'
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A demonstration of the European Coin Grading System in action can be found at the site below.
While detractors in themselves will not make a valueable
coin entirey worthless, they will significantly impact
desirability to a collector, thus value.
In the end, the value of a coin is what someone will pay for
it, based on their own judgement of condition, scarcity,
value, desirability, and what they are willing to pay to own it.
If many people desire a particular coin and there aren't
many available, it makes sense that the value is going to
be more than for a coin that is more common, in worse
condition, or is less appealing.
For the purposes of our valuation guides, we assume that
the coin in question has no significant detractors, and is
solid example of the grade in question, in a natural,
Value and spec information is sourced from various locations, including coin literature, coin dealers, resource websites, and asking price for online sales by reputable coin
dealers. All values are based on what you might expect to pay to buy a coin from a reputable dealer. Many factors affect value aside from grade. For the purposes of our
estimated values, we assume that the coin has no other detractors. All values are estimates only, based on third-party information. AllCoinValues.com do not guarantee
prices to be accurate, nor take any responsibility for how you use the information provided. Our site is maintained by funds from our sponsors and advertisers.
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