Visual Grading Guide - Australian Commonwealth Pennies (1911 - 1936)
Below are images and descriptions representing my interpretation of the ANDA coin grading guide, taking in to consideration other research and documentation I have been able to find with reference to grading Australian coins. The guide will be based on Australian Commonwealth Pennies.
PLEASE NOTE: The gradings defined below are my opinion only - Please take the time to examine and understand factors affecting grading and value to form your own assessment on ANY coin, regardless of anyone else's (including mine) opinion of grade or value. (two related but different things, in my opinion).
A coin that is in quite worn state, however must still retain the full outline of the design, and retain some eye appeal.
*** Images Pending ***
Very Good (VG)
When using images to demonstrate a coin, I find photos will provide a closer representation of how a coin will appear to the eye, while scans show often show better definition of detail, particularly of detractors. While photos are more pleasing and more faithful to the actual 'in the hand' look of the coin, unless they are in high resolution, with good lighting, and precise focussing, they are often not as accurate as scans. This can lead to images that do not readily show detractors that, of course, can impact the value of the coin.
When assessing a coin you are considering purchasing, the safest way to approach grading is to value based on what you can see - ie. don't assume that there are 8 pearls to the crown band just because the seller says so - if you can't see the 7th & 8th pearls, assume they are worn away.
NOTE: For the purposes of this excercise, we will stay right away from coins with significant detractors, and talk about them seperately at another time. These include bent, physcally damaged, abbrasively or chemically cleaned, really grotty, or oxidised (verdigris) coins, and assume that the coin we are assessing is a reasonabley tidy example in it's natural state of each particular grade.
Worth generally only bullion value, unless scarce.
Starting point: When I asssess coins, BOTH reverse & obverse must meet minimum requirements for each criteria for a coin's overall grade to be assessed at that level. I see it as quite reasonable to express a different grade for reverse and obverse (known as 'split-grading'), or to state condition of a coin with higher grade on one side as 'good (what ever the poorest side is)'. An example may be of a coin that has a Very Fine reverse, but an obverse that really only grades at Fine. In this instance, I may grade the coin as 'good Fine', or as 'Fine/Very Fine', where the obverse grade is stated first. Probably the most important point is to try to be conservative when assessing a coin. It is fairly easy to get a little over excited at what your coin may be worth.
Australian Pre-Decimal Coins
VG (Very Good) is really the starting grade of collectable coins for most denominations. Not worth much more than bullion value unless harder dates to find, or scarce varieties.
As can be seen from the images, a coin in 'Very Good' condition is not all that magnificant.
Both sides should show some degree of raised detail, differentiating 'Very Good', from 'Good'.
Visual guide to grading Australian predecimal coins
Page 1 - Good (G)
Very Good (VG)