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 P5
about Uncirculated (aUnc)
about Uncirculated (aUnc)
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.
OK, so 'about Uncirculated ......
We are now well in to the valueable early Australian coins, and as such need to be paying particular attention ander magnification.
We're past the point of 'visible missing' components, and really trying to prove that there is almost no wear.
As can be seen in the example provided, a coin with almost no wear can (and most do) still have detractors, such as light marks. While this is very relevant to value, we are grading, not valuing.
We would expect thought that it is almost impossible, even under magnification, to identify any actual wear to high points, and that detail is fully formed, just as it was the day it was minted.
We are expecting to see underlying lustre, even thought the patina may be fully developed or the coin may be stained.
Possibly the easiest spots to diferentiate are again in the crown band, where the 3rd and 4th pearls are not at all flattened.
The intricate design features are stunning and completely formed, most easily seen to the obverse (heads).
If you compare the EF images to the aUnc images, the difference will be immediately apparant.
Detractors play a very significant part in value for coins in such high degree of detail, and are very obvious under examination due to the distinct lack of wear.
It is also very important to be wary when dealing with coins in such high grade, as there are plenty of people around trying to cash in on their value by treating coins to make them look better than they are, (such as cleaning to bring out lustre, hoping that you won't look so closely at the detail), or desribing them in a particular grade when they are well under that grade. If you intend to purchase a coin, make sure you can completely see the coin, and make your own assessment, rather than rely on someone else's opinion as to value.
Higher grades are also targeted by counterfeiters, due to the value of the real item. It pays to become very familiar with your coins if you are going to be dabbling in higher grade early items.
For beginners, I recommend starting with less expensive items, and familiarise yourelf well with those before diving in too deep.
We are pretty confident that this coin has been circulated, as there is mild dullness to the fields from contact - effectively very light wear.
The light marks are also consistant with circulation, or at least multiple contacts with another object.
The absence of this dullness does not mean a coin has not been circulated, but it is helpful in identifying one that has.
A coin in 'about Uncirculated' 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 $100.00. (ref: McDonalds AC&B, 20th Ed.).