The Copper CornerTCC is a business registered in the State of Washington.
Contacts: E-mail Copperman@thecoppercorner.com, Phone (206) 244-8345
Mail to Bill McKivor, PO Box 46135, Seattle, WA 98146, USA.
General Information — The English grading system is used on all tokens, but the grading abbreviations are USA. A British EF is an American AU, and can be a token with slight rub or as good as MS62. Complete list of American/British differences sent on request.
Grading — everything you read tells you how "subjective" grading is. And it is. There are some things that are not subjective, and that is actual WEAR. Consider the following:
UNC — Uncirculated. The coin or token has NO rub. No where. No how. It can be a gem, with wonderful luster and no marks, or a token with nicks and a rim cut, spots and marks — but NO RUB.
AU — or "Almost Uncirculated". In the English grading system, this does not exist. However, even the British have started to use the term. I use it when the piece involved is essentially uncirculated, but has a tiny bit of rub on the highest point of the coin or token, usually caused by a sliding coin cabinet drawer many years ago, or by slight mishandling. The piece can be beautiful, or scruffy — but the wear should show only on one or two high spots, not on the whole piece.
EF — or Extra Fine. In the English grading system, this indicates very light rub over more than one high point — it can be over the high points on both sides, but quite light. The piece circulated, but not too much. Detail is still wonderful. This condition is usually considered AU by American graders. Once again, this refers to rub — not eye appeal.
VF — or Very Fine. In the English grading system, the coin or token is beginning to show flatness, but still retains much of the detail. It is very much the average circulated piece.
This is a good place to discuss "between grade" coins and tokens. Many tokens, for instance, may be found with high definition, but just not quite in "extra fine" condition. These I call VF+ — the high end of the VF grade — with quite a bit more definition than a pure VF piece, but just not quite to EF standards. Often, a coin of this grade is sold as EF by US dealers, as they use American grading standards, and a English VF+ is quite close to an American EF.
F — or Fine. The piece exhibits much wear — most of the detail is flat, but all letters and devices are readable.
VG — or Very Good. The piece exhibits much wear — not only is the detail flat, but some of the detail may be missing entirely. The legends have not yet worn into the edge of the rims, however.
G — or Good. Worn to the point where the lettering around the rims may have begun to wear into the rim, and the detail is indistinct.
FAIR. Identifiable, and often not much more. The piece will have much detail missing.
EYE APPEAL. Coins and tokens are graded as above — then priced for their eye appeal. Items that affect eye appeal are color, luster, nice surfaces, and sharpness of strike on the high end — and marks, scratches, stains, corrosion spots, weak strikes, rim dents, and other problems on the low end.
A piece with high eye appeal will sell for the top dollar in it's grade range — and a piece with low eye appeal will sell for less money than average in the grade range. This is where subjectivity comes in — many can grade, but what appeals to one person does not always appeal to another. Wear alone does not fix the value of a piece, and should not. My attempt is to describe tokens and coins in such a manner that most problems are mentioned, and the price is fair for the piece being sold.
A (+) or a (-) after a grade will tell you that the piece is in that grade range for WEAR — but (+) may be a little better, just not quite the next grade — or have very good eye appeal for the grade.
Some abbreviations that may be met with:
UNC, AU, EF, VF, F, VG, G — see above. Keep in mind that AU equates to "tad rub" to MS62.
Hfs — holed for suspension. Only used when the piece was intended to be holed.
Rm — rim nick.
Scr — scratch, or scratches.
CL — cleaned.
I discount, usually heavily, for items with the above distractions.
PL — Proof-like. Refers to surface quality and luster — a flashy look — but NOT a proof coin. Proof strikes are done from specially prepared dies, and if the piece is a Proof, it will so state.
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