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Viewpoint: New grading might bring in investors

By Dominc Cicio


I wasn’t going to respond but decided hey, I can give an opinion. I am sure Mr. Guth has the hobby interest at heart and will be honored to have a grading scale be referred to as the “Guth scale” for the next 50 years or so. There is certainly merit in going to a 100-point scale! Everyone knows 100, 100 percent.

That being said, with the hobby losing collectors every day and Mint sales declining every week, perhaps this is the shot in the arm we need? Or is it?

Now, I have always suspected that there are too many Perfect MS70 and PR70 graded coins out there. Not that I could tell the difference between an MS69 to an MS70. I doubt that more than 1 percent of coin collectors could distinguish between MS69 and MS70 grades. But should we go to this new 100-point scale?

How many MS70 or PR70 coins will become MS98 or 99? Or MS96 or 97? Because today they round up. So now we know for certain that it is possible and probable that coins graded as perfect coins are not perfect.

Mathematically, 80 percent of the perfect MS70 coins are possibly not perfect. Going to the 100-point scale will certainly clear that up. Or will it ? Remember when a 4.0 average in high school was tops? Now they go higher for tougher classes.

Make no mistake about it. Professional grading companies are important in today’s coin market. You can buy/trade with confidence that the coin is genuine and graded correctly. Especially when many sales are done over the Internet.

But let’s call it what it is: Coin Investing. It is hard to be a collector if all you ever did is hold a slabbed coin with a specially designed label.

True collectors like my buddy Marty in New Jersey who specializes in large cents are few and far between. He can recite the large cent variations from year to year. Me, I accumulate. But with the metal composition of coins today, even accumulators are losing interest.

The hobby is certainly changing. So if improving the grading scale brings in new investors, so be it. But I still have my 1892-O Morgan that I will continue to flip. The days of the 2x2 paper coin holder may be numbered but still works for me.

This “Viewpoint” was written by Dominic Cicio, a hobbyist from Groveland, Fla.

To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 5225 Joerns Drive, Suite 2, Stevens Point WI, 54481. Send email to

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