Coin grading. One of the most contentious topics in all of numismatics. Get 10 coin collectors together to look at a coin, and your most likely going to get 10 opinions on the grade of the coin. While Third Party Grading services like PCGS and NGC have made this a bit better over the years, there are many collectors who do not agree with the grading of these services, especially on world coins.
Many of you may have noticed over the years that I do not assign grades to raw coins which I sell. This is not because I can’t grade (believe me, if that were the case, I would have a very hard time making a living!), but because I appreciate that everyone has their own grading standards and it truly is more of an art than a science. Another major reason I do not assign grades to raw pieces is that we sell coins to collectors around the world, and grading standards are completely different country to country. For example, an American Extra Fine is completely different than a British Extra Fine (which would be close to a high AU on an American grading scale). However, if someone is to ask my opinion on the grade of a piece, I will gladly give you my thoughts.
One of the biggest problems with grading is there are some dealers who will actively attempt to conceal problems or faults on pieces. There are absolutely some very nice pieces which have been cleaned in the past, but if they have hairlines, I think it is important to disclose that, rather than have someone who is disappointed in the future should they decide to send a piece in for grading.