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NGC Launches New Grading Scale

A new 10-point grading scale called NGCX will be available for modern coins produced 1982-present at the start of 2023. (Images courtesy Numismatic Guaranty Company.)

A new 10-point grading scale called NGCX will be available for modern coins produced 1982-present at the start of 2023. (Images courtesy Numismatic Guaranty Company.)

A new form of grading based on a 10-point scale was announced by Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) Nov. 16. The new system, named NGCX, is the first of its kind for coins.

The 10-point grading scale has long been the standard for most collectibles, including comic books, sports cards, trading cards and more. For coins, NGC calls the new scale “intuitive” and “approachable.”

For centuries, coins have been collected – for enjoyment, for study, as an investment and as a benchmark of achievement. In the late 1940s, a numeric scale of 1 to 70 was introduced by Dr. William Sheldon to describe the relative values of U.S. 1-cent coins. In theory, a coin graded 1 would be worth $1 and a coin graded 70 would be worth $70. The values quickly became irrelevant, but the grading scale stuck. NGC adopted the Sheldon grading scale when it was established in 1987. It remains the industry standard to this day.

Meanwhile, the collecting instinct has expanded to include comic books, sports cards, trading cards, video games and more – the list continues to grow as new categories emerge, with collectors seeking to protect and preserve the things they love. NGC says these collectibles are virtually always evaluated on 10-point grading scales, which new collectors quickly recognize and readily understand.

“Each 10-point grading scale is precise and nuanced based on the collectible type,” it said in a press statement.

The 70-point grading scale for coins isn’t going anywhere. Rather, NGC says it recognized an opportunity to bring in new collectors to the hobby by wielding the power of X – NGCX – a 10-point grading scale for coins.

On the NGCX scale, 10 is the supreme grade, equivalent to a 70 on the traditional scale. The subsequent grades cascade from 10. For example, a coin graded NGCX Mint State or Proof 10 has no imperfections at 5x magnification, the same as a coin graded NGC Mint State or Proof 70. Likewise, an NGCX Mint State or Proof 9.9 is the same as a coin graded NGC Mint State or Proof 69 – each a fully struck coin with nearly imperceptible imperfections.

To see the full NGCX grading scale, click here.

While there is no difference in quality between a grade on the 10-point scale and a grade on the 70-point scale, NGC says, “the difference for the hobby is exponential.”

NGCX-certified modern coins, minted from 1982 to present, will be available through select retailers beginning January 2023. For a list of qualifying retailers, click here.

NGCX is not available for regular submissions to NGC, which will continue to be graded according the 70-point scale.

To learn more, visit NGCcoin.com/X.