US Coins

Guth proposes 100-point grading scale

The prospect of a 100-point grading system is again being discussed in the numismatic community because of an initiative from Ron Guth. 

Guth, a professional numismatist based in San Diego, has developed a 100-point grading system that he claims “complements and integrates the old 70-point system …” 

According to Guth, the system would retain all grades below MS-60, or all circulated grades, while adding 20 Uncirculated grades. Numbers 80 to 100 on the new scale would denote Uncirculated grades. The advantage to the system, Guth claims, is that, while “the coin market squeezes plus or half grades, known as split grades, into the 60 to 70 range,” in contrast, “the Guth 100 Point Coin Grading Scale assigns whole numbers to split grades and eliminates decimals, round and pluses.” 

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A 100-point system would be more intuitive, Guth argues. “Throughout our lives, especially, in school, we’re scored on a 100 point scale, thus the inevitable question from new collectors is “Why is the best coin only a 70 ... why not 100?”

A 100-point grading system has been suggested before. On a Collectors Universe discussion forum, Professional Coin Grading Service President Don Willis correctly points out that “PCGS investigated the 100 point scale several years ago. We decided that it would be too disruptive to implement and, in the end, would not help collectors in any meaningful way.” Willis further mentioned that “PCGS will not be converting to a 100 point scale” and that Certified Acceptance Corp. “would not sticker coins graded on a 100 point scale.”

The reluctance of the grading companies to embrace a 100-point system stems from, in Guth’s view, “the tens of millions of certified coins already in ‘circulation.’?” Guth claims, however, that his 100-point proposed system would require no regrading.

According to Guth, “the coin business and coin grading are constantly evolving. A 100 point system is the next logical step.” Confidence in the need for a 100-point system, Guth asks “Why not now?”

Guth acknowledged that “Without the support of PCGS and NGC, acceptance of this system will take longer to achieve.” In Guth’s view, “acceptance of the [Guth] 100 Point Coin Grading Scale [is] demand driven.” Guth thinks that “there’s something magical about the MS100 grade that collectors will want.”

A detailed explanation of Guth’s 100-point scale and a chart mapping the Sheldon 70-point scale to The Guth 100 Point Coin Grading Scale is found here

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