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Anyone remember about when the MS61; MS62; MS64, and MS66 Grades began?

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I can remember back in the late 70's there was really only the MS60; MS63; MS65, and MS67 grades for uncirculated coins. Commercial Unc; Choice Unc. Gem and Superb Gem. (I remember something about a grade of 'Select Unc' but that may have been to describe the MS64 grade when it came on the scene). Can you recall when the other between grades started being used?

Perhaps ANACS started it all with their grading certificates?

Was there any old timers that put up a fight back then declaring these other grades as simply not needed nor wanted?

Was the AU53 and AU58 grade always with us? Or was it only AU50 and AU55 back then?

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I also recall in the 1970s that the terms BU, Ch BU, Gem BU and Superb Gem BU would later translate to MS60, MS63, MS65 and MS67 sometime in the 1980s. If I recall correctly, when ANACS first opened they did not recognize many of the MS grades that we routinely see today such as MS64 and MS66 so the wide acceptance of these grades in the hobby-industry must have come after ANACS initially opened their doors.

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braddick

 

Hypothetically...wouldn't it have been possible for William Sheldon to have used any of these grades? Just for fun, I poked around in "Penny Whimsy" and did find frequent reference to MS 60, as well as AU 50. I didn't see any mention of AU 53, 55 or 58. "To help cover the territory between EF 40 and the perfect MS 70, I have found it convenient to designate 3 intermediate points on the scale AU 50, MS 60, and MS 65." p.37., Penny Whimsy.

 

I then went to Photograde and found this in the 18th edition:

"By the late 1970s, Abe Kosoff, with the consent of the American Numismatic Association Board of Governors had enlisted the services of Kenneth Bressett...... During the course of Abe Kosoff's investigations, he solicited information from numismatists. Many disagreements took place, with some wanting to adopt the Sheldon scale of numbers, others wishing simply to use adjectives, and still others posing that new numbers be set up, possibly from 1 to 100 (which seemed to be more scientific than Sheldon's 1-70 scale) or even 1 to 1000. After considering the input, Messrs. Kosoff and Bressett decided to adopt the Sheldon scale, simply because it was already familiar to a number of users. It was felt that adopting it despite the many inconsistencies and imperfections, would be better than trying an entirely new range of numbers. In the Uncirculated category, MS 60, MS 65 and MS 70 were used to differentiate coins.

 

Several years later, the American Numismatic Association Board of Governors provided for 2 new grades, MS 63 and MS 67........."

 

"The Market did not follow the ANA grading standards consistently, and it was not at all unusual for one advertiser or another to add plus or minus marks after a number, or use grades not in the ANA standards such as MS-61 or MS-62.".....

 

In 1986, a group of dealers banded together to for the Professional Coin Grading service......Using its own standards and ideas, not publically disclosed, PCGS set up a system whereby coins were graded from MS 60 to MS 70 continuously such as MS-60, MS-61, MS-62, MS-63, MS-64 etc......"

 

"By the summer of 1986.....the ANA Board of Governors sought to bring back lost business by copying PCGS and adding other grades. So it was officially decreed that thenseforth the ANA grades would include MS-61, MS-62, MS-64, and other numbers not earlier used by the ANA. In addition, AU-58 was employed...."

 

"In the meantime, the American Numismatic Association Grading service, established in the late 1970's......would examine a coin and issue a certificate illustrating it and stating a grade. However, although grades from AG-3 to AU-55 were well defined and subject to very little controversy, in the Uncirculated category there was room for a great difference of opinion."

 

"In the autumn of 1987 a new company, The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America, was launched.......This service, too, used all numbers from MS-60 to MS-70." (pp. 22-24 Photograde 18th edition)

 

Well, I hope this sheds a bit of light on your question, braddick. I found no specific mention of when AU 53 was included for use. I don't know if I helped answer the question, but I sure had a lot of fun researching it!

 

RI AL

 

 

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braddick

 

I just remembered one more place that might be interesting to check regarding your grades question.

 

Back in 1995, the ANA published a book, "Grading Coins Today, an ANA Correspondence Course" by Don Bonser. Sadly, I never finished the course but I'm sure things have changed a lot since then.

 

For uncirculated grades, MS 60-70 are used.

 

For AU grades, 50, 55, and 58 are mentioned. AU 53 is nowhere in sight in the book so I assume it came on the scene post 1995. But then again, neither are Poor 1 or Fair 2.

 

 

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Is this a test? :grin:

 

I do not remember specific dates because back then is just happened. The change was not a slow transition from the “Nomenclature” grades into the Sheldon “Numerical” grades, but it wasn’t a fast moving concept either. The last bastion to move were the old time well established dealers.

 

The ANA in the mid 70’s used the numerical grades but only picked the odd numbers for some reason. They did use the 60 to distinguish between circulated and uncirculated coins, but it took the formation of a competitor in the mid 80’s to establish the complete numerical grade system for all US coin collectors to adopt.

 

Back then, MS-68, 69 and 70 were just about unheard of for business strikes, there were PR-68 & 69’s but still no such thing as a PR-70.

 

RI AL hit upon these points in his research and with more competitors entering the grading business, the Sheldon Scale was fully incorporated into the collecting hobby. It took some a long time to change the mind set of the old ways to sell a coin, but as collectors, a meticulous point system seemed to fit just fine and collecting has never been the same. Most of the pitfalls for a coin collector were eliminated by these services, but alas, now self slabbers and self graders and the internet abuse a lot of those rights.

 

The question about AU is intriguing, the way I remember it, 50 and 55 were omitted, meaning it was either a high end AU as in 58, or a low end AU as in 53.

 

There was no spontaneous adoption, Dr. Sheldon proposed a suitable model for coppers and was eventually and might I add, unceremoniously incorporated into the entire history of US minted coins. It just seemed to be the best model available for everyone to fully under stand, for both sellers & buyers and it really does fit rather well.

 

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Before November 1977 there were no standards for MS grades. That ws when the first book publishing standards was introduced, The Official ANA Grading Guide. It only used MS 60, 65, and 70 with 70 being a "theoretical" grade that would never actually be used because nothing is "perfect".

 

In 1980 bowing to market pressure the new grades of MS-63 and MS-67 were incorperated into the grading scale.

 

In Feb 1986 PCGS started up using all eleven MS-grades. The ANA was at the time debating the addition of MS-64 to the official standards because the market place was already using it. In July of 1986 the ANA announced they would be adding all of the rest of the MS-grades plus AU-58 to the official standards. The first book with the standards for all eleven grades was published in April 1987.

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And so lies the value in many of the early Anacs certificates. I have a few that are graded 60/60 or 60/63, and the coins are solid 63 to 64 coins, yet I didn't pay 63 or 64 money for them. I also have some 65/65 coins that are solid 66's with shots at 67 yet I paid way less than 65 money for them. I've have two coins that were submitted in the last two years. The first was an 1880 Indian Head Cent graded PF60/60 in 1980 by Anacs. It was submitted to Anacs last year and graded at PF63 BN. The other was a 1927 Lincoln graded MS65/65 in 1981 by Anacs. It was submitted to NGC about 4 months ago and came back 65 RD. Granted it's a small sample.

 

JJ

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Was there any old timers that put up a fight back then declaring these other grades as simply not needed nor wanted?

Was the AU53 and AU58 grade always with us? Or was it only AU50 and AU55 back then?

 

Back around 1982 a group of young dealer want-a-be-s, introduced me to the concept using all of the numbers within the MS-60 to 70 spread. Their argument was that there were market price differences between those grade points.

 

I was one of the "old timers" who opposed it because I thought that it would bring too much hair-splitting and promote inaccurate grading. Before slabs, I viewed it one more attempt for dealers to buy in a lower grade and sell at a higher one. The system has never been perfect, but it has been applied with more consistency than I would have thought. I still think that grade differences like MS-66, 67, 68 and 69 are more art than science. Yes, there are perceptible differences between the top and bottom of that range, but it’s still murky when it comes to slicing hairs for one point.

 

As for AU-53 and 58, those grades came along a few years later. AU-53 is still a rarely used grade and infrequently seen.

 

 

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Bill, the only place where I see regular use of the AU53 grade is in the grading of gold coins.

 

I was really supportive of the AU58 grade back before market grading ruined everything and the grade, AU58, actually applied. AU58 was a most utilitarian grade for those otherwise MS63/64 coins that had slight "cabinet friction" or roll stacking compression. These AU coins were easily identified and were most desirable.

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