Grading the grading services
by Tommy Jasmin

Hello everyone. Since the main news this month is Nosto's promotion of CGGroup as our recommended grading service for comic books, I thought I would expand on the comments I made there about the large number of coin grading services, and the differences among them. To make my point, I'm simply going to summarize a test Beth Deisher and Coin World conducted about a year ago.

I found this test fascinating, and pretty bold on Coin World's part at the time. What they did is send the same set of 15 coins to the eight most well-known grading services, to see how the services compared in their grading of the coins. Successfully performing such a test undetected took a lot of time, effort, and money, and I give them credit for pulling it off.

As a quick summary, let me just say that the results varied a great deal, with the greatest difference being a 1943 Walking Liberty Half Dollar, which was graded from a low of AU-58 to a high of MS-65. The current value in AU-58 is $11.80, while the current value in MS-65 is $113.00. Because the grade of a collectible is the main determination of value, we can't emphasize enough the importance of accurate grading.

The coin which ranged in grade from AU-58 to MS-65

In fact, plans for future pricing data enhancements include providing separate values for each item for each of the most widely known and accepted grading services.

Now, to quickly summarize the test, which many of you may have already seen, the table below shows the 15 coins and the grades received from each service. For some coins, no grade was assigned for various reasons. Those table cells are marked "NG".

1910S Lincoln Cent NG EF-40 NG NG NG NG MS-65 AU-50
1864 Two-Cent Piece NG EF-40 NG NG NG NG MS-63 AU-50
1901 Liberty Head Nickel NG AU-55 NG NG NG NG MS-61 AU-58
1935 Buffalo Nickel EF-40 EF-45 VF-30 NG EF-40 NG EF-40 AU-50
1913 Barber Dime NG EF-45 NG NG AU-58 NG MS-60 MS-60
1926 Standing Liberty Quarter MS-63 NG MS-63 AU-58 MS-64 AU-58 MS-64 AU-58
1943 Walking Liberty Half Dollar MS-63 MS-64 MS-63 MS-62 MS-65 AU-58 MS-64 MS-63
1963D Franklin Half Dollar MS-64 MS-64 MS-64 MS-64 MS-64 MS-63 MS-63 MS-63
1891 Morgan Silver Dollar MS-62 AU-55 AU-55 NG MS-64 NG MS-61 MS-61
1900 Morgan Silver Dollar MS-63 AU-58 AU-58 AU-58 MS-62 AU-55 AU-58 MS-61
19010 Morgan Silver Dollar MS-62 MS-61 MS-62 MS-61 MS-63 MS-61 AU-55 MS-61
1903S Morgan Silver Dollar VF-35 EF-45 VF-35 VF-25 EF-40 VF-35 EF-40 VF-30
1921D Morgan Silver Dollar MS-64 MS-64 MS-63 MS-63 MS-63 MS-63 MS-61 MS-62
1853 Gold Dollar NG AU-58 AU-55 MS-61 MS-62 AU-55 MS-62 AU-58
1893CC Coronet Half Eagle VF-35 EF-45 EF-45 NG EF-40 EF-45 EF-40 EF-45

Until next time,

Tommy Jasmin, Director of Business Development, Nostomania, Inc.

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