Grading coins can be highly subjective. ‘Old ’grading systems use descriptives such as ‘Very Fine’ and ‘Extremely Fine’, adding further adjectives for nuance (like ‘Almost Very Fine’; ‘Good Extremely Fine’). This is a complex and not always exact method of determining the condition of a coin.

Third-party graded (TPG) coins

Given the important relationship between a coin’s grade and valuation, third-party authentication and grading agencies now provide an internationally recognised system that precisely and objectively grades coins. The majority of coins offered in The Coin Cabinet auctions are TPG coins, mainly by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). Both agencies grade coins based on the US Sheldon scale, a 70-point scale used to assess a coin’s quality. Both agencies warrant the authenticity and grade stated on coin’s holder, offering additional security for online traders. Coins packaged or ‘encapsulated’ in this way are referred to as ‘slabbed’.

Grading at The Coin Cabinet

The Coin Cabinet can provide accurate, conservative gradings and descriptions of ‘raw’ coins — those not TPG — using the international British grading system. However, we prefer coins to be TPG, and incentivise the consignment of TPG coins by reducing our seller’s commission from 10% to 9%. A coin’s grade will be displayed in the lot descriptions for every coin in The Coin Cabinet auction. PCGS provides a useful comparison between the international grading scales, emphasising the precision of the Sheldon scale, the bases of their grading system.