GRADES:

I tallied everything into four grade divisions: Uncirculated(UNC), Almost Uncirculated(AU), Extra Fine(EF), and Very Fine(VF) or lower. The very fine or lower column includes all pieces described as very fine, all the way down to the worst grades of "Poor" or even "Cull".

I rarely adjusted the grades downward if there were also descriptions of flaws or damage that accompanied the grades. As a example, if a piece was described as "AU but with a large deep obverse scratch", I still entered it as AU even though it's "net" grade may have been VF or EF. Holed pieces were never downgraded from the described grade. An "UNC" piece with a hole was always entered into the "UNC" column.

If a piece was described using a split grade, EF/AU for example, it was almost always entered as the lower of the two grades, in this case as EF.

My tally was done using sales catalogs that were issued between 1975 and 2001(save one). I did not include catalogs prior to 1975 in my study due to the gradual change in grading standards that occurred during the 1960s and 1970s, especially with the use of the AU grade which was used more infrequently during earlier years. Some of the tallies from my previous study were from a pile of old Christensen and Stone catalogs from the 1960s and early 1970s. These tallies have been eliminated from the present study. I also did not include any tallies from sales catalogs issued approximately after the year 2000 due to the advent of ebay and it's obvious effect on the token and medal marketplace. No tallies from ebay are included in this study.

As far as the UNC grade is concerned, sellers during the period of time that this study covers usually did not describe an uncirculated piece using the 10 point MS grading system. An uncirculated piece was usually described simply as "Unc", with the occasional use of "choice" or "gem" for nicer pieces. Generally speaking, pieces that today are being graded MS60, MS61, MS62, and sometimes even MS63, would have been graded AU, or in some cases even EF during the time period that this study covers.

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