The Grading Game
Grading is a learned skill that requires the proper tools, the knowledge of the particular series, and lots and lots of practice. Many collectors shy away from grading because they are concerned that if they fail, they have the potential to lose a lot of money. The American Numismatic Association (ANA) believes that everyone can learn to grade proficiently enough to be able to grade the coins in their own collection.
There are four basic metals that are used to mint coins in the United States. The metals include gold, silver, nickel and copper. Because the metals have different amounts of malleability, they wear at different rates. Naturally, the design of a coin also plays an important role in the rate and location of wear.
Grading is subjective, so you may find yourself in disagreement with some assessments in the game. It is generally more difficult to accurately grade a coin from an image than actually holding the coin in your hand. Use this game as an entertaining tool to help you to become more familiar with the American Numismatic Association Grading Standards.
Special thanks to Chester L. Krause, Myrna Lighterman, Mark Lighterman and Brian Fanton for their contributions to this project.
How to Play
Notice that there are four categories, each one a different metal. You will choose a metal which will bring you to a screen of squares. Each square shields a different coin. Your job is to locate a pair of coins that represent the same grade. Your goal is to find all of the matched pairs in as few moves as possible. The game will keep a record of your moves so you will know how long it took you to complete all of the matches. Interested in playing again? Great, but fair warning, the location of the coins change each time you attempt to play so memorizing your moves before playing the game again will not help. Should you need to review the Sheldon Grading Scale, before you begin, click here. Happy grading!
Copper is considered a hard metal in which to mint coins, only more malleable than nickel. Large cents were made entirely out of copper. You will be grading the Lincoln cent series. All of the images depict Wheat cent coins minted from 1909 until 1958. When grading mint state and AU examples, you will want to think about the colors red, red-brown, and brown.Play Now
Nickel is the hardest of the four metals. Because nickel is so strong, it resists dings and scratches that can happen during the minting process. Nickel coins tend to be graded conservatively. All of the images are of Liberty Head nickels, which were in production from 1883 to 1912.Play Now
Silver is more malleable than nickel or copper and is considered a soft metal. It is considered a soft metal. The luster on silver coins created during the minting process is unique. Silver coins also have a tendency to tone more so than other coins. Toning in itself is a destructive process, although there are many collectors who enjoy toned coins. All of the images are of Morgan dollars, arguably the most popular U.S. coin to collect.Play Now
Gold is the softest of the metals popularly used in making coins. Because gold is the most malleable, graders are often a little more forgiving when grading gold coins. You will also notice that in the game, there are fewer gold coins to match. Gold coins are generally not found in the lower grades. All of the images in this set are Liberty Head half eagles.Play Now