Coin Quest
Grading and Pricing


Circulated Grades:
We use traditional and universally recognized grading terms rather than numerical grading. A coin listed as VF-EF is halfway between VF and EF, while one listed as VF/EF is VF on the obverse and EF on the reverse. Expect the usual circulation marks consistent with each grade and denomination. Coins with more pronounced marks are downgraded to a value/grade level (“net grade”) or described separately. “Almost Uncirculated” (AU) is numerically equivalent to AU-50, “Choice AU” equals AU-55, and “Very Choice AU” (aka “Borderline Unc.,” or “Slider”) is AU-58.

Toning:
“Uncirculated” (UNC) denotes a coin which is naturally toned, while “Brilliant Uncirculated” (BU) is a coin with light or no toning. Natural toning often indicates an original (i.e. untampered and uncleaned) coin. Most experienced collectors prize attractively toned coins.
Coins
Uncirculated Grades:
UNC and BU = MS-60 or 61: a typical uncirculated coin with strictly no wear but expect numerous contact marks (bag marks, rim nicks) and/or light hairlines from mishandling, not circulation. Premium UNC or BU = MS-62: a nice-looking coin appearing at first glance to be better but a closer look reveals contact marks. Select UNC or BU = MS-63: an above average coin with light contact marks which are not distracting. Choice UNC or BU = MS-64: a superior coin with only very light contact marks visible on close inspection. Gem UNC or BU = MS-65: a coin with considerable “eye-appeal” and nearly flawless surfaces. Superb (MS-66) and better “wonder” coins are described individually because of their rarity. In addition, strike, luster, planchet quality and eye-appeal are all factors that influence a coin’s grade. By comparing our grading standards with those of other dealers, you will find that we are very conservative and many of the coins that we call “Select BU”, for example, are as nice as those called “Gem BU” by most other dealers.

Proof-Like and Proof:
Proof-Like coins from 1954 to 1969 are a minimum of PL-63, while those 1970 to date are at least PL-64. Modern Proof coins are PF-65 or better.

Color of “Copper” Coins:
“Red” indicates original color, as on a newly minted coin. As a coin tones, its brilliant red color gradually fades to brown. For most collectors and investors, the amount of red left on a coin is more important than the presence of usual contact marks. In order to satisfy this preference, we take this into consideration when grading large and small cents (and half cents). You’ll find our standards to be the strictest anywhere!

Large and Small Cents up to 1936...
... listed as “Uncirculated” may be all brown or have a trace of red remaining. “Unc, Red & Brown” denotes a coin with 10% to 25% red. A coin listed as “Unc, xx% Red” indicates the approximate amount of original brilliant color remaining.

Small Cents Since 1937...
... due to the relative availability of original rolls, are more broadly listed as: ”Uncirculated” and ”Unc, Red & Brown” (both are described above); UNC-BU (around 50% red but may be mottled or fingerprinted); Brilliant Unc (at least 80% red but expect some spotting or small toned areas); Select BU (about 90% red, very attractive overall, but may have a tiny area of light toning or spotting); Choice BU (about 95% red, a clearly superior coin with the usual light contact marks and only a tiny spot or two of toning); Gem BU (a “blazer” with virtually 100% red and minimal contact marks visible only on very close inspection). Superior large and small cents are occasionally but very rarely offered due to our unusually conservative grading standards.

Pricing:
We set prices based on the universal law of supply and demand. Current Canadian Coin News “Trends” are closely considered. But trend prices are not always an accurate indicator of the actual availability and popularity of a particular coin or its grade. Over a quarter century’s experience dealing exclusively in Canadian numismatics tells us which coins are currently over priced or under priced, a fact that lead the publishers of the most popular Canadian coin reference, the famous Charlton’s catalogue, to ask our president to serve on their pricing committee. The result is that the coins in this price list are offered at above or below trend prices, but always reflecting an honest value in today’s active market.

Certified Coins:
Interspersed among our regular listings are coins graded by various grading services, including ICCS, PCGS, NGC, ANACS, etc. Such coins are listed at the grade assigned by the grading company, as marked on their sealed holder. Because this grade may not necessarily meet our own conservative grading standards, our usual 15-day return period also applies to certified coins. It is well known that the standards between various grading services differ, sometimes widely. For this reason, we cannot guarantee that a “raw“ (i.e. uncertified) coin purchased from us and later submitted to a grading service will receive an equal grade. Our customers tell us however, that in such instances, our coins usually do certify equally, sometimes higher.




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