Ron Drzewucki

Ron Drzewucki

Ron Drzewucki has been a professional numismatist since 1984 and a member of Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) since 1995. He has for years been a dealer "known as having a superb eye for coins" and "has the experience and discriminating eye to make those important distinctions between grades", according to the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation's newsletter. Ron ran a successful company dealing in certified rare coins and modern coins before joining Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) in January of 2005.. Grading rare, silver, and gold vintage coins are Ron's specialty. Ron was with NGC for 7 years, and was a shareholder for 6 years before selling his shares in May, 2012.

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A Brief History (and Explanation) of the Coin Grading Scale

When you were going to school and received a grade of 70, that was barely passing.  But when a coin receives a grade of 70 from PCGS, NGC, etc. that means it is absolutely perfect. How come?

We have Dr. William Herbert Sheldon, Jr. (1898 - 1977) to blame for that. In 1948, Dr. Sheldon published “Early American Cents” which contained a novel numerical equivalency system for grades, upon which one could supposedly determine the monetary worth of the coins.

In developing his system, Dr. Sheldon was attempting to find multipliers of a base value for each grade, with a coin in “Poor” condition assigned a base value of “1.” Thus a coin in Fair condition was assigned a multiplying value of 2, and was therefore thought to be worth twice the value of a coin in Poor condition. Similarly, Sheldon decided that a Fine coin was worth 12 times the value of a Poor example, and so on up to a perfect Mint State specimen, which Sheldon decided was worth 70 times the value of the same coin in Poor quality. So, actually, the Sheldon numbers were not meant to define the quality of coins—but rather to indicate the dollar-value in various grades. 

Using the original Sheldon system, if a particular year and variety of a Large Cent had a retail value of $50 in Poor quality, it should be worth $600 in Fine or $3,500 in perfect MS-70. Obviously these relative values have no validity today. However, the Sheldon numbers are used by the various grading services to denote the quality of all coins, as follows:

Sheldon Number Traditional Grade Brief Description
P-1 Poor Extremely worn with most of design missing
AG-3 About Good Very heavily worn with portions of design visible
G-4 Good Heavily worn with most of design visible
VG-8 Very Good Well worn with main features clear
F-12 Fine Moderate wear with bold design
VF-20 to 30 Very Fine Light wear on high points of design
EF-40 to 45 Extremely Fine Very light wear with all design elements sharp
AU-50 to 55 About Uncirculated Traces of slight wear
MS-60 to 70 Mint State Uncirculated, with varying degrees of imperfections

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