A grading system used by many of the members of the Early American Coppers club is introduced to the collectors and dealers of CSA paper. At many an auction or coin and currency show two or more pieces of the same type, variety and technical grade may appear. Many times the price realized varies greatly from piece to piece. Consider:
1. 1861 T-22 CR-151 VF, choice cut and/or color
2. 1861 T-22 CR-151 VF, a few trivial distractions consistent with the grade, or cut a bit off
3. 1861 T-22 CR-151 VF, washed and pressed
4. 1861 T-22 CR-151 VF, very small edge tear, minor stain or trivial repair, net F-VF
5. 1861 T-22 CR-151 VF, some staining, or repair/damage which is readily noticeable, net F
6. 1861 T-22 CR-151 VF, significant staining or repair/damage, net VG
$200.00 to $300.00
This is a reflection of the real world of currency trading. How can one determine the value of an "VF" 1861 T-22 CR-151 with the current price guides? Generally, notes fall into one of three categories: Oh Wow!, That's Nice, and Yuk! Of course, there are those in between as well, but for the most part, that sums it up for any given grade level.
The prices listed above may seem high, but they are not. Many T-22s offered as "VF" are really Fines or maybe F-VF. Double check whether market or collector grading is being used and adjust accordingly.
An "Oh Wow!" note can be considered CHOICE. CHOICE means one or several things: Exceptionally clean surfaces and color (free from marks and stains), or a great cut on an attractive note. Color is important in that it must be attractive; No washed notes here. Also, there cannot be any significant distractions on the note. The more pleasing the note, above and beyond normal, (i.e. clean surfaces, cut and color) the more likely the note will command a "runaway" price.
CHOICE in CSAQ refers to a note that is exceptionally clean with nice color or cut with no more than average handling for the grade (preferably less). A note that has impeccable surfaces, cut and gorgeous color may be worth more than CHOICE.
CHOICE notes may be worth more than average notes of a higher grade. Condition is as important as technical grade!
AVERAGE in CSAQ refers to an original note that has typical handling for the grade. A high grade XF or better piece has few distractions, a VG piece can have more. A washed and /or pressed note that is attractive can fall into AVERAGE.
SCUDZY represents varying degrees of "Yuk!". Note that these notes are collectable, and do have value, just not as much as AVERAGE or CHOICE. A note with some repair or damage will be worth more than SCUDZY, but certainly not AVERAGE. A SCUDZY note may be harshly washed and restored such that the color is badly worn; or has significant and obvious repair and/or damage. SCUDZY notes may also be original, but have problems like tears, missing pieces or edge problems that detract from the note. A minor problem or two is not cause enough for a note to be SCUDZY, however, anything that really detracts will put it in the SCUDZY category. Usually a note with more than one grade level of reduction due to problems is SCUDZY. Problems detract from the grade to determine net grade and price.
This type of grading represents a godsend to those who are concerned about quality and paying and getting fair prices for notes. On the other hand, this additional layer of grading may seem excessive to some. Some may not like it! What are the motivations of those who criticize it? Perhaps it can be improved and they have a good idea. Or are they selling or buying? If so, what side of the equation is their argument vs. what they are trying to do?!?
It reflects the real world. And has decades of use in numismatics at least in a couple of segments. Think about it.