Coin grading is the process of determining the grade or condition of a coin, one of the key factors in determining its value. A coin's grade is generally determined by five criteria: surface condition/preservation, strike, colour, lustre and attractiveness.
The condition and visual appeal of coins often degrade if they’re touched or, worse still, put in circulation. That’s why Rosland favours and specialises in graded coins. You can, of course, choose to invest in ordinary gold or silver coins. The problem is that one of the most important features of a coin – and the key to its value – is its condition. If you see cheap coins being advertised, they are almost certainly what we call ungraded. Although ungraded coins are usually cheaper, they can be a risky purchase.
Grading is done by an independent grading organisation. They inspect every single coin minutely, and each coin is given its grade assigning a rating for each coin on the 0-70 point Sheldon scale, which is displayed on each coin’s container along with a unique identifying number and barcode. The grade allocation of 70 means a perfect coin, with a full strike and no marking whatsoever (rare, of course, but we can supply them), whilst a grade of 1 is a barely identifiable coin. In reality, coins of lower grades are not graded with numbers but letter codes such as GF (Good Fine = up to 20), VF (Very Fine = 20-30) and XF (Extremely Fine = 40-45), are usually graded without an actual grading number. From 50 to 60 the prefix AU (About Uncirculated) is used, and then the MS (Mint State) grading numbers will be seen from around 60 onwards, up to the perfect coin grade; 70. e.g. MS70. Proof coins are given a PR or PF lettering before their given grade e.g. PR70.
These graded coins are sonically sealed in tamper-proof containers (commonly known as ‘slabs’) by two of the industry’s leading coin grading companies, PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service) and NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation). The labels have bar codes and holograms for security, and all graded coin serial numbers are listed on the relevant grading authority’s website, which shows how many of that actual coin, year, and grade were actually issued.
One special thing that’s important to note about graded coins, is that the quality of what you buy is a known quantity, fixed in time. Collectors will always pay a significant premium for coins in outstanding condition. That’s why professional grading is so important to the collector. As one would expect, the higher the grade, the higher the value (for the exact same coin/year etc.). Obviously, the actual metal price and rarity comes into play, but the same actual coin (year/rarity) will usually fetch more money if it is a higher grade than another actual exact same coin/year etc.
The true value of a coin lies in having it graded correctly, by an established and knowledgeable coin grading service. The NGC and PCGS form the top tier of a three-tier grading service, guaranteeing the grades and authenticity of the coins, and that’s why Rosland only uses NGC and PCGS for coin grading.
So, whether you are a seasoned collector, or you are just taking your first steps into the world of gold, purchasing authenticated and graded coins ensures maximum security, value and liquidity.