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Third party grading needs uniformity

Slab grading for modern coins should not be subjective especially between the leading third party grading companies.

This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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Since grading is subjective and not exact, and with the birth of third party grading, I was extremely happy because it kind of certified the coin market and gave some depth and honesty to the hobby. However, slab grading for modern coins should not be subjective especially between the leading third party grading companies.


I read with special interest three articles written by F. Michael Fazzari in the Numismatic News, one on Proof 70 grade another on crossovers and the third on technical grading.

As the coin collecting hobby is constantly growing, many new collectors are relying on third party grading companies as gospel when purchasing their coins. I am a very small collector compared to the number in the hobby, however I have been collecting for almost four decades and I enjoyed putting together the collection that I have. I also enjoyed the early years of third party grading when the ANA would grade your coins and return them with a certificate. This allowed one to keep coins uniform in whatever type of format the coins in the collection were placed at the same time giving the collector a third party opinion. Collecting raw coins has always been an excitement. In the past most collectors only submitted key dates for third party grading.

With preservation and handling of coins, slabbing is here to stay. The average collectors who buy slabbed coins today purchase them in various ways sight unseen because they are relying on the coin’s grade to be true based on the third party service’s opinion.

Since retirement, I decided to put together a particular complete year set of slabbed coins. Like any collector I would want my assembly of coins to be true to the grade. Therefore when passing this set on to my heirs the set would not be questioned as to the grade but accepted based on the third party opinion. I must admit that I am partial to one particular third party grading service, which leads me to the above mentioned articles of Mr. Fazzari. I have used the crossover services both ways when submitting a coin, that is slab for slab and removing the coin from a slab.

As Mr. Fazzari’s article suggests, because of competition the coin grading standards vary for each third party grading service. With today’s technology it would be nice if the hobby could be regulated so that when a collector purchased a third party coin it would be graded true as opposed to the popularity of the grading service.

Older coins from circulation take more intensive examination for grading. But the modern coins of today that come directly from the Mint should be graded with a more accurate, even and across-the-board opinion.

I have purchased modern day slabbed coins that another grading service found issues that reduced the grade of the coin. Third party service standards always insist that coins are screened by more than one grader with unanimous opinion before accepting and passing a coin for grading. This being true, how could a coin pass that would reduce or increase in grade if examined by another grading service?

Third party grading service has now added new parameters such as plus service and detailing, not to mention CAC acceptance which can now question the grade of the slab coins that one has.

Realizing that many of these grading issues are generated for the profit factor I would think collectors would like to purchase their coins for the honest and true grade as opposed to the dollar value of the coin.

Darryl F. Jones is a hobbyist from Philadelphia, Pa.
Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of Numismatic News.
To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send e-mail to


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