Making the grade

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 September, 2009, 12:00am

Coin collectors and dealers around the world now benchmark the value of a coin based on the 70-point Sheldon Scale, developed in 1949 by William Sheldon, a collector in the United States, to determine different levels of preservation of coins, with one denoting a worn and damaged condition, and 70 the perfect uncirculated condition. According to Michael Chou, chief executive of Champion Hong Kong Auction, only coins graded at least 60 are of value for collecting and trading.

Uncirculated coins devoid of any fine scratches on the surface generally receive 60 points or above on the scale, indicating a high level of preservation. 'Coins receiving points between 63 and 65 indicate that they have never been circulated and are of premium quality and therefore can command a higher price in the market,' Chou says.

'A coin at 63 points is a choice and one at 65 points is a gem and at top grade. A coin rarely gets 65 points and beyond.

'The premium difference between 64 and 65 sometimes could be triple. A good eye appeal of a coin, which displays a rainbow colour tone, usually gets a higher grading. Simply put, coins are graded based on how they were struck and handled in the mint, their condition of preservation and colour tone they emit.'