If you are a coin collector, you must be familiar with the various coin grading systems used to evaluate coins. Grading a coin might seem like a hard task that requires professionals. However, that is not the case. Coins can be graded with some knowledge and a coin grading guide. It doesn’t necessarily require you to spend your money.
Grading coins are easy if you have an eye or detail and are familiar with the Sheldon grading system. Sheldon grading system for coins is the most commonly used grading system for coins. It is a varied system that grades coins on a scale of 1- 70.
Prepare your tools
First of all, you will need to prepare your tools to start assessing a coin. Your first tool is strong light preferably about a 100-watt bulb close to the workplace. Next, you need to have a good magnifier that can magnify items about 6 to 8 times. Magnifiers that are too strong or too week will not give you an accurate assessment of your coin.
It is a good idea to roughly place your coins in one of three categories. Determine whether your coin is in an absolutely good condition, that is Uncirculated or is it nearly uncirculated? If it has a lot of wear and tear or has visible signs of usage, it will fall under the circulated category. Most coins fall under the third category because unused and unbruised coins are hard to come by.
The final step would be to do a thorough evaluation of your coin by placing it under a magnifier and using the Sheldon system and its details as a coin grading guide.
What to look for
When assessing your coins, observe closely for dents and wear offs. Observe the sides carefully since that is where most wear occurs. Watch out for worn out luster, the attractiveness of the coin, its polish and streaks. Place these observations against the Sheldon scale and you can derive an accurate grade for your coin.