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ALJADA

Sangs - what everyone should know!

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ALJADA

Hello Everyone,

Before I continue with my post I would like to properly introduce myself for the benefit of those who do not know me or know of me, so as to properly understand where I come from in terms of what I am about to write within this post. My name is Alex Urizzi and I am the Head of the grading department of SANGS. I have been actively involved in South African Numismatics for over 8 years from being a collector then a small dealer followed by an academic numismatist and grading advisor to many of South Africa’s top collectors whilst continuing to deal in coins for my living and finally becoming head of grading at SANGS and no longer being involved in the selling of coins. I have written several journals covering the Sterling Series of South African Coins and my research into this series is, to date, unsurpassed anywhere in the world. The National Numismatic Society of South Africa has awarded me with a merit award for my work in this field and I continue to actively research this series for the future benefit of all collectors of this series. Much of my numismatic career also included the study of grading coins under the now commonly accepted Sheldon Scale method and to this end I took the numismatic courses offered by the ANA and in most of these courses I passed with honours. Over the years I have submitted well over 4,000 coins to the NGC & PCGS, NONE of which were what are commonly known as Mandela coins. Countless coins which I personally owned & submitted for grading are in the best South African collections and many of these remain FINEST KNOWNS even years after they were certified. I have sold raw coins online and guaranteed a minimum grade to the buyer, with the result being exactly as guaranteed. The Robert Bakewell Collection received its first NGC Registry award some years ago and the collection detail specifically credits my input and assistance in assembling much of the collection and detail that helped win the award. I have also just completed a comprehensive grading guide for SANGS which will be published and available in due course to all who wish to learn how to grade properly and grade South African coins in the correct manner. SANGS will shortly be offering full grading courses for all who have an interest in grading coins and through this medium we hope to lay any confusion regarding the grading of our coins to rest. The above is only part of my involvement in SA Numismatics and I continue to do my very best at keeping myself in tune with all aspects regarding the grading of our coinage as well as SA Numismatics in general. I believe that this places me in a very unique position to correctly grade any of our coins for the benefit of all involved in SA Numismatics.

Whilst many of you may be weary of the fact that the shareholders of SANGS include certain dealers, one needs to consider certain facts regarding these shareholders. One of them is a third generation dealer/numismatist with a genealogy dating back almost 100 years in SA Numismatics. Who can claim such a wealth of experience in South Africa regarding SA coins? The most coveted award in SA Numismatics titled “Excellence in Numismatics” is awarded yearly by the NNSA and bears his Grandfathers’ name in the title! The family name is and will always be a part of SA Numismatics and is highly respected by all who have any clue about SA Numismatics. It’s easy to be in this field for a few years and think you know everything, only to find out you know nothing except what you big mouth tells you. Another shareholder is a second generation dealer with over 30 years experience in numismatics and he knows more about the minting of coins than anyone alive today in South Africa! He is chairman of SAAND, a position which commands the utmost respect and integrity in our industry. He is the current recipient of the award I mention above and was chosen for the award by the most highly respected numismatists in the industry! The accolades these gentlemen have attained are what we as true numismatists only dream of and as such their integrity is this industry cannot be questioned, especially not by so called dealers who have 3 or 4 years experience on BID OR BUY!! These gentlemen add credibility to this industry and their involvement in SANGS should be seen as a benefit. Are we so naïve to believe that all the other third party grading services do not have dealers as shareholders? I know better.

The shareholders of SANGS have given me the mandate to ensure that the coins graded at SANGS comply with the standards set by several internationally accepted grading systems incorporating the Sheldon Scale as the numerical aspect of grade. I studied and adapted the American Numismatic Association Grading Standards for USA coins & applied it to our coinage with no exceptions. The NGC is the official grading company for the ANA and as such should also apply this standard to our coinage. Whether they do so or not is not my concern as I do apply this standard to our coins together with the Official Grading Guide standards of the PCGS. Any coins graded by SANGS will always be graded according to these standards but adapted in cases where the necessity arises as many of our coins have nuances which are still not incorporated by the USA based third party grading services.

As time passes you will see how much SANGS can and will benefit you. We are not here to compete with anyone, but we are here to offer you great service and the correct grading of your coins regardless of what anyone may or may not tell you. If you choose to make use of our services then thank you very much and you will not regret it. If you choose not to use our services then this is okay with us but please refrain from any negative comments unless you can properly substantiate such comments. What happened to South African pride for South Africans!??

In closing I wish to clarify one issue regarding the numerical grading system and how it relates to the old system of grading because it seems that many people out there still do not know the correlation eg. Many of you out there still think that a grade of AU53 or AU50 for that matter is equal to an ABOUT UNCIRCULATED grade!? It is not an About Uncirculated grade and such an assumption will cost you a fortune. Here is the correct correlation as per SANGS:

MS60 – MS70 Uncirculated grades

AU58 ABOUT UNCIRCULATED

AU55 GOOD EXTREMELY FINE

AU53 EXTREMELY FINE

AU50 NEARLY EXTREMELY FINE

XF45 GOOD VERY FINE

XF40 VERY FINE

VF35 NEARLY VERY FINE

VF30 GOOD FINE

VF25 FINE

VF20 NEARLY FINE

F15 VERY GOOD

 

I trust the above has clarified the different grading scales. I thank you for your time in reading this. Please understand that I am not on this forum very often anymore and I will not be available to reply in a timeous fashion as I have much to do on a daily basis. If you need more info please check out our website. Thank you again.

Alex Urizzi

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jwither

To clarify the grading descriptions above, these are aligned with what is used in the British system and not in the United States. The exception being that I have never seen any British auction firm (dealers may differ) actually use the term "almost uncirculated", only terms such as "practically as struck" or equivalent. Under the US terminology, such as that used by NGC and PCGS, AU-50, AU-53, AU-55 and AU-58 ARE "almost uncirculated" though there is a big difference in appearance between AU-50 and AU-58.

 

Also, while NGC and PCGS use the Sheldon scale, to my knowledge, they doi not use ANA grading standards for US coins except maybe for circulated coins. They use their own grading standards. This statement being based upon comments I have seen on the NGC Message Boards since I myself do not collect any US coins.

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ALJADA
To clarify the grading descriptions above, these are aligned with what is used in the British system and not in the United States. The exception being that I have never seen any British auction firm (dealers may differ) actually use the term "almost uncirculated", only terms such as "practically as struck" or equivalent. Under the US terminology, such as that used by NGC and PCGS, AU-50, AU-53, AU-55 and AU-58 ARE "almost uncirculated" though there is a big difference in appearance between AU-50 and AU-58.

 

Also, while NGC and PCGS use the Sheldon scale, to my knowledge, they doi not use ANA grading standards for US coins except maybe for circulated coins. They use their own grading standards. This statement being based upon comments I have seen on the NGC Message Boards since I myself do not collect any US coins.

 

The term 'almost uncirculated ' is incorrect, it is 'about uncirculated' that has the abbreviation AU. Secondly the PCGS grading guide which is applicable as their grading standard is almost exactly the same as the ANA grading standard. I have both books and have studied them extensively for over 6 years. The NGC is the official grading company for the ANA and they have not published an official grading standards guide which therefore by default should mean that both the ANA & the NGC agree with the official guide issued by the ANA. I do not wish to argue this point with anyone as the official grading standards for SANGS is what it is and is based on these books as well as several others published by the top numismatists in the USA & elsewhere and thats that. Thank you.

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jwither

I agree with you that grades like AU-50 and AU-53 are not actually "almost uncirculated". The point I am making is that collectors in the United States still consider those grades as "almost uncirculated" even though they know the quality differs and is actually a lot lower. Its simply the result of historical usage. I know this because there are many knowledgeable collectors in the US who post on the NGC Message Boards mostly collecting US coins who use these terms.

 

The other point I was trying to make is that those adjective descriptions are not used in the manner you describe based upon what I have seen. Yes, they are used in Britain but the actual results I have seen do not consistently correlate to those Sheldon grades. I know that because I have bought many coins from British auctions and the grades they have received from NGC have been both higher and lower than the chart you posted. SANGS is of course free to use what ever grading standards it wants.

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RISadler
"almost uncirculated" ... "practically as struck"

 

Serious? Sounds to me the same as being "partially pregnant." :disgusted:

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Cash in the Attic

Hi Alex

 

Hope you are well.....

 

Just to be clear...and i really hope that i dont sound stupid asking the following : Below you have listed the SANGS Grades. Lets say i buy a SANGS graded 1893 Tickey ( SANGS Graded VF 25 ) the coin is actually a " Fine ", so when i look at the catalogue value of the coin, i should be looking at the " Fine " Value and not the " Very Fine " Value....

 

MS60 – MS70 Uncirculated grades

AU58 ABOUT UNCIRCULATED

AU55 GOOD EXTREMELY FINE

AU53 EXTREMELY FINE

AU50 NEARLY EXTREMELY FINE

XF45 GOOD VERY FINE

XF40 VERY FINE

VF35 NEARLY VERY FINE

VF30 GOOD FINE

VF25 FINE

VF20 NEARLY FINE

F15 VERY GOOD

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ZARBOY

Hi Samantha

 

This is the application of SANGS, NGC and PCGS grades.

 

I also see people advertising grades like 50, 53, 55 with CAT UNC prices.

 

Regards

 

Thomas

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alloway65

Why is there such an astronomical difference between prices for the SANGS Grading of Different Coins???:worried:

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Cold Sea
Why is there such an astronomical difference between prices for the SANGS Grading of Different Coins???:worried:

 

Asked myself the same question - maybe insurance, cross-subsidisation. The grading process should to be the same, or maybe not.

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alloway65

So if 10 minutes is spent Grading a R5 Mandela Coin then for one of the more exotic coins with a Grading cost ratio of 50:1, then over 8 hours should be spent Grading each exotic Coin! Quite a boring exercise I would imagine.....and high wear and tear rate on the exotic with all the handling and re handling!

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ALJADA
Hi Alex

 

Hope you are well.....

 

Just to be clear...and i really hope that i dont sound stupid asking the following : Below you have listed the SANGS Grades. Lets say i buy a SANGS graded 1893 Tickey ( SANGS Graded VF 25 ) the coin is actually a " Fine ", so when i look at the catalogue value of the coin, i should be looking at the " Fine " Value and not the " Very Fine " Value....

 

MS60 – MS70 Uncirculated grades

AU58 ABOUT UNCIRCULATED

AU55 GOOD EXTREMELY FINE

AU53 EXTREMELY FINE

AU50 NEARLY EXTREMELY FINE

XF45 GOOD VERY FINE

XF40 VERY FINE

VF35 NEARLY VERY FINE

VF30 GOOD FINE

VF25 FINE

VF20 NEARLY FINE

F15 VERY GOOD

 

Hi

 

You are correct. The exact same should apply when looking at a NGC or PCGS coin graded VF25. The Sheldon scale VF25 is equal to a FINE grade in our catalogues.

 

Cheers

Alex

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GROOVIE MOVIES

Good day all

I would like clarity opinions from other numismatists and collectors on this 2012 post.

Is Alex accurate in his statement that SANGS grades VF as fine, XF as very fine, AU and extremely fine, and only AU58 as Almost/About uncirculated?

This challenges my understanding of the sheldon grading scale as I always took the abbreviations as directly linked to their grading. ie. VF as Very Fine, XF or EF as Extremely Fine, etc...

This is how the sheldon scaling system is defined in most if not all the websites and I have yet to see it defined as it has been suggested in this article by Alex (ALJADA)

If this is indeed the case with how SANGS define their grading, I must admit it creates a lot of confusion as it would not be in line with international standards. Perhaps Alex is correct and the international standard has changed over the years?

If so, it would also be the main reason why people regard SANGS grading as inaccurate as they do not understand their grading definitions. Another aspect of the SANGS grading I find confusing is the two different grades depicted on the capsules. Up until recently I assumed it was the grade of the opposite side of the coin, but since reading this article I don't know what to make of the second grade.

Any thoughts?

 

Regards Robert

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jwither
7 hours ago, GROOVIE MOVIES said:

Good day all

I would like clarity opinions from other numismatists and collectors on this 2012 post.

Is Alex accurate in his statement that SANGS grades VF as fine, XF as very fine, AU and extremely fine, and only AU58 as Almost/About uncirculated?

This challenges my understanding of the sheldon grading scale as I always took the abbreviations as directly linked to their grading. ie. VF as Very Fine, XF or EF as Extremely Fine, etc...

This is how the sheldon scaling system is defined in most if not all the websites and I have yet to see it defined as it has been suggested in this article by Alex (ALJADA)

If this is indeed the case with how SANGS define their grading, I must admit it creates a lot of confusion as it would not be in line with international standards. Perhaps Alex is correct and the international standard has changed over the years?

If so, it would also be the main reason why people regard SANGS grading as inaccurate as they do not understand their grading definitions. Another aspect of the SANGS grading I find confusing is the two different grades depicted on the capsules. Up until recently I assumed it was the grade of the opposite side of the coin, but since reading this article I don't know what to make of the second grade.

Any thoughts?

 

Regards Robert

The adjective descriptions of Fine, VF, XF/EF are shared between the USA and the UK, the difference being that British standards also include "good" as in GVF, GEF, etc.

At least previously (as of the dates in the above posts), it is the British descriptors that are included on the SANGS label along with the corresponding Sheldon number.   (I assume this since I haven't checked in while.)  In my experience, a British GEF is the equivalent of an AU-55 to MS-63 under the Sheldon scale per the NGC grades I have received on my submissions on coins I have bought from British auctions, though my sample is not very large.

British standards to my knowledge are more conservative.  Also, per my prior post, US "AU" grades of AU-50, AU-53 and even AU-55 are not really "about uncirculated" or "almost uncirculated".  An AU-50 or AU-53 coin in nowhere near uncirculated and AU-55 only somewhat so.

In the past, I have mentioned that I don't really care for most MS-61 and MS-62 coins either.  It differs by series but especially applies to South Africa Union.  Too many field contact marks and poor strikes, especially on KGVI and QEII.  Many (and maybe most) from an eye appeal standpoint (in other words, how the coin actually looks) are not any better than AU-58 and in some cases, worse.  Also, I consider the odds more than minimal that if an MS-61 or MS-62 were to be "cracked out" and resubmitted, it's not unlikely that it would come back as AU-58 and vice versa.  I'd rather buy a cleaner AU-58 than a typical bag marked MS-61 or MS-62 and given the typical price spreads, at a fraction of the price.

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GROOVIE MOVIES

The problem I then have with the difference in grading definations is that it creates confusion to the newbie or casual collector as the rules that different grading societies follow seems to over complicate rather than simplify. Now I know the old saying holds true, buy the coin, not the holder, but the whole point of the grading system is to install confidence in a collector, knowing what they have or are about to purchase is a good coin. This is even more important today, considering more coins are traded online where photos don't often do justice as apose to the fairs of the past where coins could be examined in hand.

Though what you say is true, a grade such as AU 50 is no where near to being About uncirculated, one can atleast look at several graded coins to get a sense of what is accepted as AU 50 by the grading companies such as NGC. The reasoning being they hold true to the sheldon grading scale with the term About uncircuted equating to the abbreviation AU. But puting a large AU grade on your slab and then expecting people to accept your abbreviation AU meaning extremely fine as SANGS practise according to this article by Alex (a practise not disclosed or clarified on the SANGS website) serves no logical purpose but to confuse. Indeed the coin being graded might be in extremely fine condition, then grade it as such with the abbreviation EF. Don't give it a big AU with a little ef in the corner of the label.

Now I'm in no way bashing SANGS (I'm an advocate for South African coins being graded in South Africa by South Africans) but this artcle shook my understanding of what a grading was and I only seek to clarify.

regards Robert 

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Manfred1
On 8/2/2012 at 10:52 AM, ALJADA said:

If you need more info please check out our website. Thank you again

Only a quick comment ... from a non-South African.

The SANGS website is totally outdated.

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