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Viewpoint: 70-point grading scale serves hobby well

By R. Vodney


I hope the numismatic community never adopts a 100-point grading system.

The only supportive argument that has ever been raised is that we all used the 100-point system when we were kids in school, therefore everyone will logically endorse it.

Simply saying we used it in school doesn’t mean the system is the panacea for all other measurements. Pure gold is 24 karats, not 100; a sphere is 360 degrees, not 100. I could cite numerous other examples.

Simply adding more numbers does not insure a better system. If that were true, we should consider a 1,000-point scale.

The current system is well understood. Most newcomers today accept the current scale after a short explanation of its meaning.

I believe nearly everyone understands that 64+ is better than 64. It’s not that difficult a concept.

The new 100-point scale would be a financial windfall for third-party certification companies but would provide little benefit to anyone else.

As surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, many people will never accept the new 100-point system. How long will it take before we are buried in charts that provide conversion tables from the 70-point scale to the 100-point scale?

Of course, the certification services will each likely have their own interpretation, so multiple charts will evolve. Each chart will have a new pricing scale. And on and on it will go.

Why purposely create controversy when no benefit is achieved?

The major emphasis should be an attempt at consistency in grading, and the current scale serves that need quite adequately.

There is one certainty in grading: no scale, current or revised, will ever eliminate the human element, so we will be faced with that variable ad infinitum.

A new scale will simply add more elements about which to disagree.

This is a very controversial topic. We need to attract more people to numismatics, not alienate the dwindling population.

Let’s continue to use the 70-point scale. It works just fine.

This “Viewpoint” was written by R. Vodney, a collector from Jacksonville, Fla.

To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to Editor, Numismatic News, 5225 Joerns Drive, Stevens Point WI, 54481. Email submissions can be sent to

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