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I. R. Bama's Blog

06 Mar 2021

The 100 point grading scale: Further Considerations in Development

National Coin Week | I. R. Bama

On first look, the 100 point scale obviously looks like a huge improvement over the Sheldon scale. But what are looks? Sometimes cosmetics do not reveal the true worth of a model or a scale to use for evaluation. (I'm glad I can put the research classes from college to use, even if it isn't for a psychology investigation!). We need to investigate!


So we must have an experimental design to evaluate the new system. The benefits of doing so will assure us the scale is valid, meaning that it accurately grades coin. It will also show that it is reliable, meaning that different observers will grade coins with high agreement between each other and their observations over time.


Here are my thoughts on the matter and I would like to hear from you to see if I can come up with a powerful experimental design to test whether the system is actually easier and more accurate to use than Sheldon.


I intend to accomplish this through using a minimum of 65 test graders and hopefully up to 100 participants who will evaluate the same coins. Why 65? What's magic about that number? Statistical evaluation requires over 64 data sets in order to be considered large N research. Below 65 is known as small N research. Large N research is much more powerful (more statistically accurate, so that is why I have chosen this number of subjects to get data from.


So my proposed design (and this is where I need your input) consists of grading a cent, a nickel, a quarter, a half dollar and a dollar coin. This set shall remain the same between observers. Graders will record their results and answer a survey about strengths and challenges in using this system and some questions about the qualitative experience of using the experimental scale.


If you have thoughts about improving this design, please let me know. Also at some point, I will be needing volunteers to generate the data. I am asking for experienced graders who believe their grading skills are average and above. Please let me know if you are interested. And if you have ideas for questions for the survey, please send them to me.


Thanks for the support you have shown. I have gotten a lot of support and encouragement to continue with this with only one very negative view of developing this new scale. I welcome hearing from you all who see problems with the application of the system. Then these issued can possibly be addressed and the scale improved.

Comments

Mike

Level 7

Like you suggested I'm reading them again. You did ask me first. In a message. You said I would hope you would be in board.No it was not conceived with me involved at all. But your messaging say that. It should of said with every collector on board. Some from one side some from the other. When a blog goes up collectors are invited to voice there opinion. Thanks. Keep up the good work. And don't give up on this. Every opinion counts. And if anyone can do it you can!!

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Well if you have any questions please feel free to ask here...

slybluenote

Level 5

Personally, I'm still a novice as far as grading is concerned! Everything I know about grading I learned from The Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards for United States Coins, by Kenneth Bressett and Q. David Bowers, The Mega Red Book, several other publications that are "coin specific". It's part of the reason that 95% of my collection is UNGRADED! A friend I met recently looked at a couple of coins that I graded and told me that I was too conservative, but on a coin that I had inherited, he told me that I was too liberal. Like the ANA Grading Standards book says, you need 4 things to be proficient at grading coins: 1) A good magnifying glass, 2) good lighting, 3) a good memory, and 4) 20-25 years experience! I currently only have 2 of these traits. I would be interested in what some of the graders at ANACS, NGC, and PCGS have to say about this subject and if they would be willing to participate in this experiment. I have bought graded coins in the past, but I have yet to send a coin to one of these services to be graded. I'll be following this experiment because I'm interested in how it will turn out! Good luck and keep me informed!

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Good ideas Charlie, but I have to do some initial testing on it to see if it is even worth sending to them to look at. I'm still undecided on how to go about testing it. I would like to have the testing done in a year if possible and then see if its worth moving forward.

It's Mokie

Level 6

Definitely interested!!!

coinsbygary

Level 5

I'm still having a hard time understanding this, except that you are expanding the scale from 70 points to 100. Obviously, I can conclude that the 100 point scale will be more accurate than 70 points. Where this will ultimately become sticky is the human factor, which is interpreted differently from one person to another. That said, haven't we already expanded on Sheldon by the grading services adding a "+" factor to the full grade? As an example, can you say an AU-58+ is really an AU-59? At any rate, if someone can show me something better that I understand, go for it! For me, I understand Sheldon, and I know it will be hard for me to adapt. For example, I remember when they tried to force us to buy gas by the liter instead of the gallon in the 1970s and early 80s. People thought that gas station owners were ripping them off because they didn't understand the measurement unit. Ultimately, a decimal measure of liquid is far more accurate than gallons, quarts, and pints. However, the old system, while less accurate, is more easily understood. Hence, that experiment ultimately failed, especially when the public wrongly perceived that they were getting their pockets picked.

Mike

Level 7

I asked that you explain it and why it was there.. Also if the whole system changes everything to do with grading a coin will have to start all over. Training. Slabs every little thing will have to change and that cost money. I never said it was personal. But because I have an opinion I was the one who was very much against this. Others disagreed but I know and others it was my comment.If the grading system changes money has to be involved. This change over cannot happen without it. It seems that I cannot even complement you . I said in messages good luck. I said thinking out of the box is good. I have said everything your doing is good. I just disagreed with the whole concept. And believe me there are hundreds of thousands that agree. You don't have to convince me. You have to change the thinking of changing grading to every collector there is. . It wasn't conceded with me in mind. I suggest you read my comment again. And as long as I'm a collector it does involve me. Again good luck to you and your project like I have said many times. I will also say it's good to think out of the box. I just think it hasn't worked before and it won't work now. What is the meaning of the formula you used . I ask you explain it. I need a better understanding. ? And know you didn't have me in mind. But you wanted me.you asked. And as long as I'm a collector I'm involved.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

I believe I did adequately answer your questions Michael,however I will be happy to do so again. List them here in order, but please go read the two prior blogs first. I've been careful to address people's questions. I will answer yours here in the order you give them to me.

Mike

Level 7

He one very negative person is still here. . I will say it again 70,100,150 scale. It's been looked at by the best. They settled in Sheldons scale. You still do not include the human factor and the point there is not enough money to retool the entire hobby. It would be in the hundreds of millions. N.G.C. Is in England and now Japan. So how many more people have been educated on the 70 point scale. Second I don't think there are 100 people in this site active for such a study. There will be no group to figure out the data. That will be done by you. It should be done by an independent. I like the point the your thinking outside the box. That's always good. Change is always good. But at what cost. Could you help me out and describe that formula in your fist blog. It seemed everyone knows it but me.As soon as I read the line one very negative person i didn't have to be a genius to know you were talking about me we are all entitled to our opiion. Also the others who read my comment knows it's me. Kindly message any statement like that to me. . I said in my messages good luck. You put allot of work into this. But I just disagreed that's all. I wasn't negative I told you my opiion. . We're all were to disagre. It's not good for the hobby. If everyone agreed that would not be good. I have been sidelined by migraines. As long as people are Involved. I do not see how this is possible. That's my opiion. If everyone agreed it would be like every coin being graded 70.Again lots of luck . Keep in touch. Keep up The good work.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

The cost of switiching over grading systems is not a function of this study. The purpose of the study is to develop a better system if grading coins. Those are questions for the finance people to answer. Is is economically advantageous to change and adopt a new system? Isn't that for others to decide? If this proposed system isn't more advantageous in a number of dimensions, it won't see the light of day. Fine with me. I will have accomplished what I wanted to do, come up with a better way of doing things. If not, I had an interesting intellectual exercise. It's not personal; its just business Michael. My proposed scale was not conceived with you in mind at all.

"SUN"

Level 6

If a different grading scale comes about, it will a great money maker for the grading services.

Mike

Level 7

I didn't think of that but yes. Prices go up every year. This would be a price passed onto the collector. Thank you.

Golfer

Level 5

I am not that experienced grading, but if you want help, I can try. 100 point grading system is sure a challenge for graders. 70 or 100 points. Only 30 more grades. Might be fine since they are giving out plus marks now. Interesting!

Long Beard

Level 5

I pondered on this with some serious thought and concluded that it absolutely would work. Better than the outdated Sheldon scale. Since it would accomplish the exact same thing as the CAC graded coinage, there in lies why it will not happen any time soon. Along with stiff resistance from the top two grading firms. Not until we as collectors push for a change. I'm in!

Stumpy

Level 5

Great idea Pally! Unfortunately, I can only follow posted data as I am a novice grader. Good luck though!

TheNumisMaster

Level 5

Sounds great! I only have one concern, and that is pricing. If the difference between a 58 or a 59, or even a 93 and a 94 is so subtle (which it hands-down would be do to the large scale of the 100-point system) then a 59 would command barely any more of a premium than a 58, and the same would hold true for a 94 vs. a 93. Seeing as how everyone is operating with the Market grading system, they are in effect pricing the coin rather than technically grading it. Because of this, the 100-point scale might be inefficient, as there will be disagreements about where and how much prices should vary. Aside from that one issue, I think it could be wonderful! Keep up the good work, my friend.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Also i kind of think that getting into the applied economics of the scale is getting the cart before the horse. First we need to know about its ability to be used accurately and reliably. If the community likes it and it becomes widely used, the money guys can figure all that out. They always have and always will.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

That's a good observation... Like Sheldon, with circulated coins tend to be graded in five point intervals but in standard increments so there is no difference in point value at different points on the scale like Sheldon where some points have greater value than on other places on the scale. So as a rule MS coins get the individual numbers grades and circulated coins get grades incrementally in intervals of 5 points. Have you ever seen a Sheldon 59 grade? I haven't seen one out there yet, they must exist. So would there possibly be a place for an 88 grade coin? Possible, but almost all circulated coins will have those 5 point grade intervals

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Right Kepi! The government leaders say "follow the science"

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Yep ideally the same set to all. That in itself will take a long time. Unless I have sets where each one of the coins is the same across each coin in different sets

Kepi

Level 6

Sounds exciting! An experiment... Science rules! ; )

Longstrider

Level 6

Well, if it is going to be considered in a serious manner I reckon we need to test the idea. So if I understand it, you will be sending the same group of coins to all the sample testers? That will most definitely give you some data to work with. Seems like the logical next step. Very bold. Good luck and thanks.

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