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Regarding our current grading system.

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There is always room for improvement.

I have been collecting Indian head cents for forty years. Viewing hundreds of coins, I think I have a good sense of what these coins will grade. As with anything, experience really is the best teacher. The invention of the slab in 1986 has done great things for the hobby. It gives confidence to novice collectors and has gone a long way to providing the hobby legitimacy. No longer do we have to buy a coin that has been overgraded only to sell it at an undergraded price. Still, I believe there is always room for improvement.

One of the difficulties I have is that the current designations on our holders do not completely describe the coin. For example, we currently divide all of the coppers into 3 categories, red; red-brown; and brown, yet I have seen coins designated as brown that are a vibrant blue and red-browns that are magenta and green. I have a nice set of Red Indian Head Cents and yet the colors vary from deep orange to a golden yellow. It has always bothered me that our slabs do not address these differences.

I don?t have any real solution, but I think the best description of slabbed coins that I have seen is David Lawrence?s color/star rating system. They add their opinion to the slabs appearance in the form of a number and star rating. In example: 3**** The number 3 represents the degree of toning from 1 to 10, with 1 being brilliant and 10 being black. The stars represent eye appeal on a scale from 1 to 5, five stars being the best. They apply this system to all of the slabbed coins they sell, and I think it has some merit.

 

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