ObjectivityCoin buyers tend to undergrade. Coin sellers tend to overgrade. These
facts reflect human nature. Make sure you learn to deal with them when grading coins.
Whatever coin you are grading, pretend you have no interest in buying or selling it. Be
objective as you determine the coin's grade. Actually, practicing objectivity when
grading coins is easy to do once you get the feel for it. Remove biases. Practice
PracticeSome think that by learning how to grade a dozen or so coins, one
suddenly becomes an expert grader. Wrong. To be a good grader one has to be able to grade
coins reasonably, accurately and on a consistent basis. Ever try to grade a coin that
you've graded before (and forgotten the grade so it's like grading a fresh coin)
and compared your answers? Consistency is when you can get the same results eight or nine
times out of 10 on a regular basis. To be able to do this you have to have an established
technique and you have to practice, practice and practice. Accurate and consistent
graders stay in "shape" by grading thousands of coins per year.
BorderlineSome think that coins in general automatically have grades that
magically fit the exact definitions of EF, AU and so on. Wrong. Coin can be EF+ or VF++
and so on. . Some coins are "no-brainer" EF. They're easy to grade, easy to
be consistent on and also easy to get general agreement from graders with moderate
experience. Borderline grades (like VF+ or aEF) are confusing because on one day you may
choose one and another day be convinced it's the other. This happens to very
experienced graders as well so don't assume you are doing something wrong. In cases
like this adopt a conservative approach. choose the lower one.
LookThis may sound a little simple but to properly grade a coin you have to look
at it. The higher the grade, the more careful the search for hard-to-see marks and so on.
What's the point in declaring a grade if you haven't thoroughly gathered all the
data that affects a coin's grade. It makes sense when you think about it but most
people who are having trouble grading coins are poor at this basic data gathering stage.
For best results always try to grade under standard (i.e. yours) conditions. The
lighting, background noise and time are all factors.