Grading and Quality
Many books have been written to provide collectors with guidence as to the values of ancient coins, but anyone that has used them will quickly find they can be both confusing, and sometimes un-intentionally miss-leading to novice collectors.
For example, in David Sear's series on Roman Coins and Their values, Volume 1 (Spink, AD 2000), coin #1763 is a Tiberius denarius listed with a value of of $440.00 US in a grade of VF. If you search the market place, you can find examples in VF for less than $200, or more than $600, with neither being incorrect for the particular coins. This is because David Sear assigns a value in VF with the assumption that it is a nice attractive specimen with an average amount of wear for the grade, with no serious detracting features, but also not a perfect coins from the grade.
The purpose of this part of our website is to discuss that types of things can make a coin worth more, or less, than the average for the type. Most of the discussion will be about Roman coins, from the point of view of an obverse consisting of a portrait surrounded by an inscription, as this is the easiest way to present the concepts and the type of coins more collectors will be familiar with. However once you understand the concepts, you should be to apply to them to almost any other series of ancient coins. The following topics will be discussed :
The amount of wear, or appearance of wear, on a coin.
A reflection of the artistic skill of the celator (die engraver).
How much of the coins designs and inscriptions are on the flan.
How strongly or completely the details from the die were impressed on to the flan.
Splits, cracks and other flaws, resulting during flan production or striking.
Surface deposits and chemical changes to a coin's surface metal.
Detractions other than wear, that occured to a coin after it was struck.
At the bottom of each page you will find a link to the "next page", and if this is your first visit to this site we recommend you follow those those links to read the pages in the order we intended them to be read in. The navigation on the upper left of each page can be used to go back to parts of the Grading section you wish to review or to go to any other part of our site.
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