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I. R. Bama's Blog

12 Aug 2022

Third Party Graders, A.I. and the Need For a 100 Point Grading Scale

| I. R. Bama

I have been reflecting upon discussions here over the past two years about third party Graders and how there are differences between grading companies which translates into different grades being assigned to the same coin. We have discussed how even resubmitting the same coin for reevaluation by the same tpg can result in a different grade.


The financial gain or loss due a change of grade is impactful to every collector relative to their coin collecting budget.


I continue to advocate for the retirement of the Sheldon scale which is really two grading scales and as a result inherently fatally flawed for it's intended use. The first part, which he actually got right was the 10 points allotted to mint state coins. Having a 59 point scale for the rest of the coins, I respectfully opine, is garbage. So in my vision all of your coins that are mint state graded will not change again after being graded by a.i.


Adopting the 100 point scale employing the use of artificial intelligence would eliminate the inherent lack of interobservational reliability that is crucial in valuating our coins.
The role of A.I. would be to gather images of a number of coins in the amount to have high statistical validity and reliability and compile these coins into one of 100 categories.
I think employing these techniques to grade coins will move our hobby and academic discipline to a higher level of professionalism in grading coins.


At some point we could all personally own the software and grade our own coins. Then we can relegate tpgs to the role of carefully and professionally conserving our beautiful coins.

Comments

coinsbygary

Level 5

A 100-point system of grading may very well be better. However, as the adage goes, better the devil I know than the one I don't. I've been working with the current system and the evolution of the current system for over 50 years. I see a huge learning curve and a lot of pain transitioning to another system. I painfully watched a push to the metric system in the early 80s. It was an abysmall failure with the public because people thought they were being tricked into paying higher gas prices by buying by the liter. There will be a lot of suspicion and confusion in the coin-buying marketplace that collectors might be tricked into paying more for inferior coins.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Good thoughts! Lots of helpful education will be necessary to address these issues....

Kepi

Level 6

Keep all ideas and options open... Great blog!!! ; )

CheerioCoins

Level 5

Yeah I definitely think it would be easier to make the grading scale to 100 but it would be hard on collectors because they are so used to the 1-70. It’s a good topic to think about.

Long Beard

Level 5

Like yourself, I advocate for a shift from 70 to 100. Novice and new collectors, not leaving out some of the seasoned, struggle to comprehend the long used Sheldon scale. This becomes more confusing where plus and star designations are added for the mint state grades. Which begs to ask the question, why was CAC formed? Do these designations not mean the exact same thing? So this would appear to be a profit generator for NGC, PCGS and CAC. The latter of which, by my understanding, does not remove the actual coin for grading. So how is accuracy guaranteed when examining through plastic? Finally, in order to obtain near perfect grading you nailed it by removing the human element from the equation. First, whether the grader is a coin collector or not, by nature we always favor one above another in every aspect. Meaning that, because we favor it we overlook the reality by wishing it to be otherwise. Which is the purpose for multiple graders before assigning the final grade. So, yes, in a modern world AI grading would most certainly be the route to undertake. The greatest hurdle, however, is change. A difficult thing for humankind to overcome.

Longstrider

Level 6

Well thought out comment. I love this discussion. A lot of good ideas. Pro and con.

Rebelfire76

Level 4

This is definitely a debatable topic. As I have read up on this topic over the last year, it has seemed to me, that the 70 point scale has already expanded quite considerably since its initial usage and inception. I'm not sure that an 100-point scale who make too much of a difference. The expansions of MS grades from 60-70 in single step increments and PF grades expanding the same has provided significant improvements. The downfall is the "gradeflation," as we previously discussed, that swings single step price changes more than necessary. I'm not necessarily against an AI or computerized grading system by a TPGS, as long it is accurately grading coins respectively. It does take out the human "opinion."

I. R. Bama

Level 5

@longateider.... Who should be the arbitor of the images used? I think the ANA

Longstrider

Level 6

That could work. A non profit and unbiased place that we all could agree on.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

So I am wondering if this is something the yn' s would be interested in. We need people who know how to code. There are hundreds of thousands of coins graded available on line. We already have descriptions of grades, or criteria from ana grading standards to use to help transitioning to a new system. Remember, we have 10% of this problem solved because mint state coins are already clearly defined. There would be no difference other than human error in the grades 60 to 70. It's just translating Sheldon's other 59 graded into 90 points which seems to be the vexation of the spirit to some folks. I know that some people here have no scientific research or mathematical back ground but this would be such a boon to our community as well as eliminating people being overcharged or losing money on their coins

Longstrider

Level 6

Here is a thought. How about we discuss implementing this major change in stages? Sort of a Beta test. How aboout we start with the A.I. part but still using our good old 70 point Sheldon scale? Brilliant, I know. Work the bugs out so to speak and then move on to a different numbered scale. What do you all think?

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Yes it must be rigorously tested for validity and reliability!

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Of course!

I. R. Bama

Level 5

I don't see how coins would lose value in such a system as part of the programming would covert Sheldon grades to the new grades incorporating the same price points

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Fundamentally, the Sheldon scale is fatally flawed because it is not logical. Using a metric scale is logical. I would like to see grading taken out of the hands of humans and have artificial intelligence grade the coins

I. R. Bama

Level 5

A. I. Is the key to this. It evaluates the images and learns as it goes to refine criteria to grade each coin. @ Mike... Don't you think PCGS has a vested business interest in the status quo and they were inherently biased in pronouncing it a failure?

Kepi

Level 6

Interesting thoughts.... PCGS definitely has a "special interest" in the outcome of the graded coin...Especially when it comes to Rare and High Dollar coins.

Mike

Level 7

PCGS tried the 100 point scale. It failed. Besides 70 is hard enough.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

@ Mike.... Can you share the details of their trial and why they found it to fail? That would be super helpful to account for in the model il developing! Thanks!

I. R. Bama

Level 5

You make my point Mike. 70 points is too hard. It's not even incremental because different categories of grade have different numbers of points assigned to each category. There is no mathematical logic here. Totally devoid of logic. 100 point scales are much more logical, measurable and reliable

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Europe seems to doing well with a 100 point system as well as the evil empire China

AC coin$

Level 6

Your point is quite relevant because a 100 point scaling system should be more attainable and realistic than the ones established by other agencias. Such established ranas or rating are too marginal, in my opinion. Thanks Bama for your blog.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

We have hundreds of thousands of collected graded coin images to serve as a database

Longstrider

Level 6

Yes but we, somebody, needs to decide which ones to use and what they are. More to discuss would be toning and other "eye appeal" issues. Now this is getting fun.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Well, people's weekends shouldn't be ruined nor should emotion be brought into play. This is an exercise in academic freedom. Who could be upset by that?

Longstrider

Level 6

Happens all the time. Cases such as the Charles Darwin Evolution case. People be crazy and educated people is the craziest. I love a debate.

Longstrider

Level 6

This is such an explosive topic. The price between grades is the reason we have CAC. A.I. is an interesting idea. How many coins will we give it to learn on? Who will decide what they grade? If we ever get this correct, the idea of everyone having the software is cool. I think about this and wonder about the small amount of coins that grade in the "in between" grades we rarely see. Grades like MS 63. Personally I like discussing this idea. Some folks will have their weekend ruined. To personal. Thanks Bama. More though needed.

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