First Grading Challenge in Europe

Posted on 5/8/2018

In Germany, a friendly competition on Facebook for a super coin

By Sebastian Wieschowski
Numismatic Writer

It is surely a special delight for every collector if his treasures come back with high grades from a grading service. However, together with other numismatists, waiting for the results and appreciating the obtained degrees is much more fun – this is why, for the first time, users of a group called Grading Lab on the social network Facebook have teamed up to coordinate submission of coins to NGC for professional grading and to marvel at and document these before and after grading.

Around 70 coins and medals were submitted by the group for the first "Grading Challenge," including modern bullion silver coins, the first 50 euro gold coin and various historical coins from the German Empire. Also included were double-thick coins in a "double-thick" holder and two oversized Chinese silver coins. Two submissions were subjected to so-called "Crossover" grading, so these coins were removed from the holder of another grading service and reassessed by NGC.

Click image to enlarge.

Over the past few months, a steadily growing German-speaking community has formed on the Internet, providing each other with advice and assessments on planned NGC submissions. The "Grading Lab" on the social network "Facebook," which was only founded at the beginning of the year, already has over 220 members – and the number is rising. (Learn more at

In English-speaking countries, grading forums and group submissions, which are accompanied by videos on the "YouTube" Internet platform, are a popular opportunity for coin collectors to get into conversation about "third-party grading" and to await the results together.

There was also a great deal of excitement in the first German-language "Grading Challenge," and just a few days after the coins arrived at the office of NGC GmbH, NGC's official submission center in Munich, there was plenty of reason to celebrate: Altogether, 17 times the graders awarded the top rating of MS or PF 70, 22 coins reached MS or PF 69 – and, of course, the participants' coins of this Facebook group were graded as rigorously as any other submission because the graders do not receive information on the origin of the coins to be evaluated and the action was organized independently of NGC on the initiative of the Facebook members.

Among the many interesting submissions of modern and historical coins, a few examples stood out:

  • A 3-mark piece from Hessen from the year 1910 in "proof" was graded NGC PF 66 (of which until now there is only one example with a better rating worldwide)
  • For two examples of the 3-mark coin from Württemberg (1911 F) for the silver anniversary of the royal couple, the graders of NGC determined the variants "Low Bar" or "High Bar" and the difference between a coinage in "Mint State" and "Proof" firmly. The example with the superscript letter "H" was graded NGC MS 64, the variant with a subscript in the "H" received the rating NGC PF 64 Cameo.
  • Two examples of a Chinese silver dollar from Chihli province dating from 1898 were submitted for Crossover. While both coins received "Detail" ratings from another grading service provider, NGC corrected this rating and found ratings of NGC AU 58 and NGC AU 55.

Noticeable in the first "Grading Challenge" was the interest of collectors of historical German coins, who achieved consistently pleasing results with evaluations between NGC MS 61 and NGC MS 64. In addition, coins from Eastern Europe and Russia turned out to be particularly successful – almost without exception, they were graded NGC PF 70 Ultra Cameo. These grading results document not only the high quality of the submitted coins, but also the good evaluation by the Facebook users. Many had for the first time submitted their coins to NGC for professional coin grading and landed numerous direct hits.

To celebrate the many pleasing results, after the return of their coins from Munich, the Facebook members of the group "Grading Lab" held a final vote and gave their "likes" for the submissions of collectors’ friends. And the voting impressively demonstrated the zeitgeist in German-speaking numismatics: The most votes were given to a modern bullion silver coin with a ship motif, closely followed by a Chinese commemorative coin from 1979 and the first 50 euro gold coin.

Click images to enlarge.

There was also a lot of praise for the candidates who had not made it to the top of the list, but had almost without exception scored above average in their submission categories. Special appreciation was given to the historic silver coins from the Empire – here, all grading fans agreed that despite the bullion boom and the hunt for 70s, classic numismatics must not be missed in a grading submission.

Sebastian Wieschowski has worked as an author with a focus on numismatics and precious metals since 2007. His articles have been published in magazines such as MuenzenRevue, MoneyTrend, Coin World and the Journal of East Asian Numismatics. He is the author of the Bullion Book and the Fake Coin Bible and a graduate of the School of Economic and Political Journalism in Cologne, Germany.

This is a guest article. The thoughts and opinions in the piece are those of their author and are not necessarily the thoughts of the Certified Collectibles Group.

Related links
NGC to Grade Coins On-site in Munich in June
Europe Discovers Third-Party Grading YouTube (in German): Coinosseur Grading Challenge - Deutsche Münzen vom Kaiserreich bis zur Bundesrepublik

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