following introduction and Grading Guide is the result of the work prepared
under the guidance of the Grading Committee of the International Bank
Note Society (IBNS.) It has been adopted as the official grading standards
of that society.
The collectors and dealers around the world follow these standards
is the most controversial component of paper money collecting today. Small
differences in grade can mean significant differences in value. The process
of grading is so subjective and dependent on external influences such
as lighting, that even very experienced individual may well grade the
same note differently on separate occasions.
To facilitate communication between sellers and buyers it is essential
that grading terms and their meanings be as standardized and as widely
used as possible. This standardization should reflect common usage as
much as practicable.
One difficulty with grading is that even the actual grades themselves
are not used everywhere by everyone. For example, in Europe the grade
'About Uncirculated' (AU) is not in general use, yet in North America
it is widespread. The European term 'Good VF' may roughly correspond to
what individuals in North America call 'Extremely Fine' (EF).
The grades and definitions as set forth below cannot reconcile all the
various systems and grading terminology variants. Rather, the attempt
is made here to try and diminish the controversy with some common-sense
grades and definitions that aim to give more precise meaning to the grading
language of paper money
to look at a banknote?
| In order to ascertain
the grade of a note, it is essential to examine it out of a holder and
under a good light. Move the note around so that light bounces off at
different angles. Try holding it up obliquely so that the note is almost
even with your eye as you look up under such examination.
Some individuals also lightly feel along the surface of the note to detect
Washing, Pressing of Banknotes
or pressing paper money is generally harmful and reduces both the grade
and the value of the note. At the very least, a washed or pressed note
may lose its original sheen and its surface may become lifeless and dull.
The defects a note had, such as folds and creases, may not necessarily
be completely eliminated and their telltale marks can be detected under
a good light. Carelessly washed notes may also have white streaks where
the folds or creases were (or still are).
Processing of a note which started out as Extremely Fine will automatically
reduce it at least one full grade.
|Glue, tape or pencil
marks may sometimes be successfully removed. While such removal will leave
a cleaned surface, it will improve the overall appearance of the note
without concealing any of its defects. Under such circumstances, the grade
of that note may also be improved.
The words "pinholes", "staple holes", "trimmed",
"writing on face", "tape marks" etc. should always
be added to the description of a note. It is realized that certain countries
(example, India & Pakistan) routinely staple their notes together
in groups before issue. In such cases, the description can include a comment
such as "usual staple holes" or something similar.
After all, not everyone knows that certain notes cannot be found otherwise.
The major point of this section is that one cannot lower the overall grade
of a note with defects simply because of the defects. The price will reflect
the lowered worth of the defective note, but the description must always
include the specific defects
|The word uncirculated
is used in grading guide only as a qualitative measurement of the appearance
of a note. It has nothing at all to do with whether or not an issuer has
actually released the note to circulation.
Thus, the term About Uncirculated is justified and acceptable because
so many notes that have never seen hand to hand use have been mishandled
so that they are available at best in AU condition.
Either a note is uncirculated in condition or it is not; there can be
no degrees of uncirculated. Highlights or defects in color, centering
and the like may be included in a description but the fact that a note
is or is not in uncirculated condition should not be a disputable point