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100-point scale deserves discussion

 (Image courtesy

(Image courtesy

We struck pay dirt in terms of numbers of readers responding to the question of whether numismatics should change to a 100-point grading scale.

“Best of Buzz” is where responses usually go. There are many appearing in the two-page section this week. However, this was not enough space.

I put one well-written response in the "Viewpoint" column this week. When I say well written, in this case, it means it fit very neatly in the space allowed.

Other well written responses appear in the "Letters" section. I also have more responses left than I have put into this issue, so I will devote more space to them in the Oct. 30 issue of Numismatic News.

Collectors on both sides of the issue can agree that nothing should be done in haste or without extensive reflection on what adopting a 100-point grading scale could do to numismatics.

Taking up the 70-point scale in the 1970s was truly revolutionary. The decision to do so was made by the American Numismatic Association. This is our national collector organization. It is our voice. It makes decisions for us. Yet most of the “us” are not members. There are hundreds of thousands of active coin collectors and millions more savers/hoarders/souvenir hunters. Nearly all of them will be affected in one way or another by a 100-point grading scale, but they are not ANA members.

It would be ideal if these unaffiliated individuals would join ANA (See Their opinions would be amplified by their membership.

It would be nice if more collectors read Numismatic News. I am not expecting a huge increase in circulation due to this question being raised. However, I will devote as much space as my readers desire. If you have an opinion about the 100-point grading scale, let me know. I can be reached at I will share your views with readers unless you tell me not to.

This is too important a question to ignore. The current proposal could fade away, or it could catch fire. Either outcome demands ongoing public discussion.

The 70-point scale borrowed from Sheldon revolutionized coin collecting. It made the boom years of the 1980s possible. It led to the creation of third-party grading services.

Adoption of a 100-point scale will also affect where we will go in the future. It will increase demand for third-party grading. New guide books will be required.

Will new innovations follow? Who could have foreseen the emergence of the major grading services before we had numerical grading? Who can foresee now what might happen in the 2020s and 2030s if a 100-point grading scale is adopted? Let’s have a discussion on the Letters pages. What do you think?

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

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