Visual Grading Guide - Australian Commonwealth Pennies (1911 - 1936)
Below are images and descriptions representing my interpretation of the ANDA coin grading guide, taking in to consideration other research and documentation I have been able to find with reference to grading Australian coins. The guide will be based on Australian Commonwealth Pennies.
PLEASE NOTE: The gradings defined below are my opinion only - Please take the time to examine and understand factors affecting grading and value to form your own assessment on ANY coin, regardless of anyone else's (including mine) opinion of grade or value. (two related but different things, in my opinion).
Australian Pre-Decimal Coins
Visual guide to grading Australian predecimal coins
Page 4 - Extremely Fine (EF)
Extremely Fine (EF)
A coin in 'Extremely Fine' condition is collectible when we talk about Australian pre-decimal coins, and earlier or scarcer dates can be very valuable.
A 1936 Penny (fairly common) in this condition has a current book value of around $45.00. (ref: McDonalds AC&B, 20th Ed.).
The step from VF to EF is another large step, although not so obvious when you first start out comparing coins.
Possibly the best way to describe a coin in 'EF' is that by this stage at first glance it is difficult to notice any wear.
Closer examination will show very light wear only to the highest points of the detailed areas.
Any detractors, such as rim bumps, contact marks, grott, verdigris, or cleaning are very noticeable, simply because of how attractive the coin is over-all.
Above and beyond the criteria previously mentioned in 'VF', for 'EF' I look for:
The coin imaged has a few lighter marks, which is significant when talking about value, however detail is to 'Extremely Fine', and we are grading, rather than valuing. Most coins with wear will have detractors of one type or another.
Closer examination reveals very minor wear to the high points.
The highest features, such as the 3rd and 4th pearls (left of center diamond in crown band) are a little flat at the top, although are seperated from each other and clearly individual pearls.
If you haven't seen a coin in aUnc before, it is difficult to see the wear to a coin in EF.
By this stage it is important to be looking at your coin in good light under fairly good magnification.
The easiest (and most described) detail referred to when grading Australian coins of this era are the details to the King's crown band.
Someone trying to describe a coin as 'EF', without actually saying 'EF', might state "8 pearls, full centre diamond" in reference to the definition of the crown band.
Detractors can have a significant impact on value to a coin in this state of preservation, so it is important to consider handling and safe storage of coins in higher grade.
While I am generally of the opinion that what one does with their own coin is up to them, (after all, it is theirs, to have and to hold), I would strongly advise giving long thought and consideration to resale value before deciding to "improve the appearance" of a higher grade or more valuable coin.