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Collecting Rare Coins and Currency – Page 3

Grading is an attempt to describe the state of presentation of a rare coin. Nearly all collectors and investors prefer coins in a pristine state, and rather elaborate guidelines and techniques have evolved to convey to the buyer some sense of a coin's appearance and value.

Today, rare coins are graded on a scale from 1 (worn nearly smooth) to 70 (perfect), with uncirculated-or Mint State-coins occupying the range from 60-70. Price differences between these grades often are substantial.

In an attempt to ensure impartiality and fairness in the grading process, several independent services were formed in the late 1980s that function only to authenticate and grade coins.

Foreign coins are generally less price-sensitive in high grade, and collectors of these coins often prefer to purchase them uncertified. Although certified coins provide some assurance of quality and value, grading is a subjective process. This makes the choice of a dealer more important. Most dealers try to assign accurate grades to their uncertified coins, but a potential buyer should also learn as much as possible about the aspects of grading. Books on the subject of grading are available from most dealers and through numismatic publications.

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