Some time ago, when coin mint condition terms were not official, dealers and collectors used their way of describing a coin. However, they coincided in many cases, and sometimes this caused confusion and trouble between dealers. For instance, one person could say a coin was in perfect shape and condition, while another might see a flaw. Words like “good”, “bad”, or “excellent” were familiar to talk about coin condition.
During the mid-1970s, the American Numismatic Association decided to create official terms to refer to the condition of coins. For dealers and collectors to follow the same standards, they used the Sheldon Scale of Coin Grading as a base. Thus, not only confusion and contradiction issues upon giving value to a coin were solved. By doing this, they also created a type of protection for individual collectors against scams.
What Judgement is Applied When Grading a Coin?
When grading a coin nowadays, we tend to take four factors into account: Contact marks, hairlines, luster, and eye appeal. These factors determine how valuable a coin is as regards its condition. However, there will also be an added value due to antiquity and historical events. By this, we are trying to set clear that a five-hundred-year-old coin may not be in perfect condition but still be of great value.
Let us take a look at these four factors more in-depth:
- Contact Marks are nicks and abrasions found on a coin’s surface. They usually appear due to handling or manufacturing processes.
- Hairlines look like minor scratches on the surface of a coin. They usually appear due to the touching of an object or cloth that may cause abrasion to the metal.
- Luster is how light behaves when reflected against the reflection of a coin. It evaluates how this reflection comes and goes as you slowly spin the item.
- Eye Appeal includes an overall look of the coin to the human eye. This factor consists of the previous three and is closely related to the looker’s knowledge and expertise. Although it may sound subjective, the factors that complement eye appeal are there for anyone else to see.
What Mint Conditions Make a Coin Valuable?
So, now that the four most important mint condition criteria have been set, we can now explain how grading works in coins. Each of the previously mentioned factors adds value depending on the results. For instance, if no contract marks are seen, the value goes up. If the light does not “dance” in a straight line or fails to reflect upon some parts of the coin, the value would decrease.
According to set standards, the American Numismatic Association has also defined different categories that imply the results when grading a particular coin. Thus, by using a simple keyword, dealers, collectors, and investors would know if the coin passed or failed the testing criteria. Besides, giving a complete description of each coin using the factors mentioned above would be too long and complex.
Here are some examples of different coin conditions, according to the American Numismatic Association. These are used nowadays to talk about a particular coin. They are very useful when trying to sell an item or browsing a store looking to acquire one. We use the term “Mint State” (MS) and a number to refer to them.
MS-70 Mint Condition
MS-70 coins are in perfect mint condition. They are attractive to the human eye and show no abrasion or markings due to contact or time. Moreover, when put under a magnifying glass, there is a complete absence of contact marks or hairlines. Luster is also good, as light reflects equally all across the coin. This takes eye appeal to an outstanding result. However, in the case of silver, some natural toning may be seen due to antiquity. This does not cause the value to go down.
Due to their flawless appearance and reality, MS-70 are the most searched coins in the industry. Their value tends to go up throughout time, and they are encapsulated so that condition stays precisely the same. By avoiding human contact when putting it into a case, it is possible to display the coin without harming it. Examples of MS-70 coins are found online and are available for you to purchase at a reasonable price.
MS-69 Mint Condition
MS-69 mint condition coins are close-to-perfection coins that present some markings. However, they are not too noticeable and require a magnifying glass to be seen. It is very important to bear in mind that for a coin to be MS-69 it cannot have more than two defects. These, besides, must be small and non-detracting contact marks. An absence of hairlines is mandatory. Eye appeal, in the case of MS-69 mint condition is attractive, and should not be affected by the mentioned flaws.
MS-69 coins are also a good investment. Their flaws make them less valuable than MS-70 coins but are still useful and tradeable. They are a good choice if MS-70 coins are not available for a specific product and still make good display items. These coins are also kept in cases to maintain their condition. Websites also sell MS-69 coins at a low price, which makes a good investment.
These denominations tend to go lower as markings, flaws, and lack of luster begin to show. Bear in mind that an MS-65 coin is not something to dismiss at all, since they are still valuable items. They may be more difficult to re-sell, however. You would just need to find a person interested in that coin in particular. Nevertheless, it is not rare to find one.
What is the NGC Serial Number for?
Coins that have been graded with an MS category usually come along with a certificate of authenticity. These contain a serial number for you to check online before buying a coin. If the serial number matches the coin you are about to buy, it means it is good for you to do so. This is another safety measure applied to dealers and collectors against scams.
In order to check that the authenticity seal is original, you need to check that the hologram works perfectly against tilting the case to either side. Once done this, you can go on and check the serial number and see if the coin you have in front of you is actually a good deal or not.
So, after reading this article, you can think of yourself as a more experienced dealer. Remember to check our products and see if there is anything that may be of interest. We keep it updated for you to receive the best silver and gold products at the best price. If you have any doubt concerning coin condition, or if you are looking for a particular coin, do not hesitate to contact us. Remember to sign to our newsletter to receive tips and news on investments!