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For collectors that enter the hobby with a focus on modern coins, the grades of certified classic coins may seem low. While it is true that vintage coins often receive lower numeric grades when they are certified, it’s important to keep a few facts in mind.
For collectors that enter the hobby with a focus on modern coins, the grades of certified classic coins may seem low, they are graded on the same Sheldon Scale we covered previously in the Resource Center, here. While it is true that vintage coins often receive lower numeric grades when they are certified, it’s important to keep a few facts in mind. Today, some coins aren’t even touched by bare human hands before they leave the Mint. This wasn’t always the case. Take the Morgan silver dollar for example. These coins were widely used during their time in circulation. However, many new Morgan dollars would have some marks on them upon entering circulation. This is because of the way coins were handled in that era. Classic silver dollars like these were shipped in cloth bags of 1,000 pieces. The coins would rub and bump against each other during travel.
Circulation itself is another significant factor for classic coins. It is quite rare to find a classic coin that only changed hands a few times, if ever. Classic U.S. coins that receive a grade in the Mint State range are just that though. They still have all of their original details and display minimal to no wear. The rarity of this condition in classic coins is why such specimens carry much higher premiums than specimens with lower grades in the circulated range.
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