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 6 - Uncirculated (Unc)
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.
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.
A coin in 'Uncirculated' condition is collectible when we talk about Australian coins, and earlier or scarcer dates can be extemely valuable.
A 1936 Penny (fairly common) in this condition has a current book value starting at $275.00 + . (ref: McDonalds AC&B, 20th Ed.).
Let me start by saying that my own experience does not, at this point, extend in to later coins, so 'Uncirculated' is not a term I deal with a lot, nor do I see many examples in the period I am interested in: early pre-decimal Australian coins.
To my thinking, a coin that is 'uncirculated' has not been put in to circulation, therefor I am particularly interested in proving the history of a coin if I am to consider it 'Uncirculated', or deferring off to a professional third party grading service for evaluation.
The coin imaged has been professionally assessed by a respected third party grading service, staffed with experts in evaluating coins for state of wear, and experienced with uncirculated coins.
As can be seen from the images provided, there is very little difference to detail from 'about Uncirculated', excepting the lack of wear in the fields.
You can notice that there are some detracting marks, known as 'bag marks', which occur in the minting process as coins impact against each other, or otherwise make contact prior to circulation.
While a lot of collectors believe that 'slabbing' is effectively imprisoning a coin, it certainly does assist with proving independant professional assessment and authenticity.
Uncirculated coins are not as difficult to obtain in later pre-decimal periods, sometimes from mint rolls purchased by collectors or dealers from banks when the coins were initially released.
ANDA specifies 3 subcategories of uncirculated coins that were minted for circulation:
For further info, please view ANDA's guide (via links from our 'grading' page)