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step by step thought process

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I would like to know what thought process your graders go thru. Basically the step by step approach they use when looking at a note. My hope is that I can learn what steps (checklist) to take when I see a note.


For example, when I look at a note, first I look at the serial number, is it a star, fancy number, then the border, then paper quality, etc. and for some reason I forget to hold it up to a light to see if there are any pinholes, etc. present.


Professional Graders may only need to spend 30 seconds per note, but maybe you could slow down that thought process for me. I’m sure after grading many notes, graders can simply look at a notes and say that a pmg-25.


If you can, let me know as a new collector what step by step thought process I should be taking when I look at a note.




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That's a great question GW, I'm looking forward to the experts answer.

I have my own method which I took in principle from Dog/Pet shows, that is, you have a known...Perfect (or in Animal Show terms The Standard of the Breed) which in currency terms is a 70 then I deduct points for each imperfection...Out of centre, rounded corner, fold, bump nicks etc etc.

It is of course and always will remain subjective especially when it gets into the lower grades where dirt and creases are a factor......your opinion of the extent of soiling and creases will/may differ from mine pretty much guaranteed.

Graders are only human.....Opinionated? certainly, but still only human.

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Great question! The answer to this question would be very lengthy, so I'm going to refer you to our newsletter articles from July and August. They were written on 2 topics, "Splits vs. Tears" and "EPQ".






In these articles, I discuss methods we use to find repairs and also for determining if a note will receive EPQ. I will be writing articles each month and will continue to focus on grading. Please stay tuned for more tips from the PMG grading room.



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Thanks, I’ve been reading the articles, they are helpful. Any additional information would be great. From looking at the grading scale, I came up with my own checklist, I really wanted to get something simple so that I could have placed on the back of a business card, that I could then carry around in my wallet, something small/simple that I could review when I’m at a currency show. after more review, its not that simple.


- What I need more help on is an article on "how to measure" handling, I should be able to count the folds and check the margins/registration.


- Here are simple 6 steps of what I was able to make from the grading scale.





Step 1 – check margins/registration

50/50 (70)

Minutely off (69)

Off slightly (68)

“Tight” on one or two sides (63)

Touching the design (61)

Fraying (6)


Step 2 – check color and eye appeal

Great color and eye appeal (65-70)

Good eye appeal (63)

Lacks some eye appeal (62)

Diminished eye appeal (i.e. toned paper, small stain, fading, etc.) (60)

Good eye appeal (25)


Step 3 – check handling

No handling (69, 70)

No significant handling (68)

Minor handling (67)

Handling can be significant (50)

Little evidence of handling (45)


Step 4 – check folds

No folds (60, 63, 64)

Single vertical fold or one to two light corner folds (58)

Two folds that has been pressed (55)

No more than two vertical folds or a single horizontal fold (53)

Two heavier folds or a light horizontal and vertical fold (50)

Three light vertical folds (45)

Three folds, one of which may be horizontal (40)

May have four to five light folds (35)

May have several light folds (30)

Numerous folds (20)


Step 5 – check alterations, problems

May have counting marks, smudges, pinholes or other problems (61)

Common alterations include attempts to diminish the appearance of folds (45)

Considerable circulation, rounded corners, pinholes, minor margin splits may be present, but the note will be whole with solid paper. (12)


Step 6 - "net graded"

tear, corner missing, repaired, re-embossed, washed, stained, ink or writing and PVC damage.


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