By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for PCGS ……
Occasionally a coin will come into the PCGS Grading Room that simply isn’t eligible for grading. A No-Grade coin might be one that is artificially toned, abrasively cleaned, has very large scratches, has been altered, or has been repaired. Some coins that are extremely rare or are well known for being improperly handled–like Colonials and Pioneer gold–can receive the benefit of the doubt. These types will occasionally receive a net grade rather than a No Grade.
However, those submitting most other coins under the circumstances listed above can expect those pieces to receive a No Grade decision. Now, this doesn’t mean the coin will necessarily be returned unholdered. Usually, a No PCGS Holder return will occur in cases where the coin has peeling lamination, is of unverifiable authenticity, is counterfeit, contains polyvinylchloride (PVC) residue, or the like.
Coins that receive a “No Grade” certification but are still encapsulated will generally be accompanied by a numerical code higher than “81” that corresponds to the issue that kept the coin from being graded with a number ranging from 1 through 70 on the Sheldon grading scale.
So, what are the typical PCGS Holder / No Grade code designations and what do they mean? Here’s a rundown:
- 82 — Filed Rims
- 91 — Questionable Color
- 92 — Cleaning
- 93 — Planchet Flaw
- 94 — Altered Surfaces
- 95 — Scratches
- 97 — Environmental Damage
- 98 — Damage
There may be other codes used in conjunction with describing the state of a No Grade coin that was encapsulated in a PCGS holder. As the numismatic lexicon continues growing, the adoption of new PCGS grading and holder designations can occur. If you would like further information about the PCGS Grading Standards, Designations, and No Grade standards, then check out the high-resolution images, in-depth videos, and more information available at www.PCGS.com/grades.
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