Coin Grading Basics

Let’s say you’re building a house.

Would you start with framing the walls and roof?  Obviously, the foundation must first be properly set.  From that point onward, all structural elements going into the house rely on the foundation for support.  Without a good foundation, the house will ultimately collapse.

If the hobby of coin collecting were to be symbolized by a house, then coin grading is the foundation.

Learning the basics of coin grading is to coin collecting as setting a proper foundation is to home building.
Trying to go far in coin collecting without learning the basics of grading is like building a house set on a shaky foundation. This red house is doomed to fail because of an improper foundation. Collectors who underestimate the importance of coin grading will eventually befall the same fate, rhetorically speaking (of course!). Image by Shutterstock.

Learning the basics of coin grading is the foundational block the aspiring collector must set in place before attempting to build a framework upon it.

Substitute the world “collection” for “framework” in the previous sentence and now the criticality of grading becomes clearer. 

The subject of coin grading deserves much more than a sub heading.  For that reason, Rare Coins 101 has an entire section devoted to grading.

There you will be treated to a chapter on the evolution of coin grading, followed up by chapters on the grading of circulated, Mint State, and Proof coins.  The 70-point scale in widespread use today is presented, with photos and detailed explanations.  

Small grading distinctions sometimes translate into huge value swings, so those nuances are covered as well.

You can jump over to the coin grading section, but don’t forget to come back here!

Quick Links to Other "Getting Started in Coin Collecting" Chapters...

The next chapter in this section is Absorb Knowledge and Stay Current.

Use the links directly below to navigate the "Getting Started in Coin Collecting" section.

All the chapters referenced above are accessible from any other chapter in this section.  Thus, no need to return to this Introductory page to link to other chapters.