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Old 10-15-2002, 06:05 PM   #1
Nota Bene
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Comrades,

The other day I was looking at other dealers websites, and had discovered that we all use different systems of grading, or none at all.

I try to follow Krause system of grading developed for coins and table medals.

Alexei
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Old 10-15-2002, 09:12 PM   #2
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Alexei,

I think it's a great idea, now if everyone would accept this system like we've all accepted the "R" Rarity scale, it would be mission accomplished.
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Old 10-16-2002, 01:59 PM   #3
Kjetil Kvist
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Not so happy

I am not so sure if these coingrades is so easy to apply to orders and medals of Soviet Union. The Krause system is based on grading world coins from the two last centuries. They are useful when determining the grade of preservation on coins minted with modern tecniques. On antique coins or coins of medieval europe or norwegian speciedalers from the 17th century they are more or less useless. The standards is even applied differently in different countries. Everybody have heard about the "conservative european grading". Americans have several grades of Uncirculated (MS60 to MS65 is often used, MS66 to MS69 is more rare, and MS70 - the absolute point of perfection - is heavily debated). A european VF is close to an american XF, and a american AU is close to a european XF. The uncirculated grades americans use is confusing to europeans. To most collectors of coins these grades determine the value of the coins and nothing else.

I think we would have a hard time to apply these coin-specific grades to orders and medals. Struck medals is the easiest to compare. But even here we could come in to problems. Many of the heroes polished their medals with some regularity. Many collectors would even think that a cleaned example is graded at least one grade lower than the concervation else would suggest. Lover grade equals to lower price and I really don't see how we could apply that to researched orders. Some coindealers say that "if the quality isn't there, rarity dosn't matter". My impression is that rarity really matter for collectors of Soviet medals and orders.

And how about the orders which is manufactured in a way alien to modern coin production? Many of them was polished and toned before they was issued - making them absolutely not uncirculated by definition.

This is just my two cents. I am fully aware that Alexei just want to provide a better service to his customers - and that is very commendable. But I see some problems with these grading scales. (But then - I'm not so eager about the rarity scales either).
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Old 10-16-2002, 04:49 PM   #4
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Kjetil Kvist,

I know the system is not perfect, but I think that with additional comments, when needed (like polishing, corrosion, other damage, etc.), it works for me. Krause system despite some problems is still the most widely used in the world.

Do you have any suggestions on how to improve on it? Maybe we can come up with something more suitable.

Alexei
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Old 10-16-2002, 05:17 PM   #5
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I would almost rather have an entirely new system devised. It seems as if we would draw a mixed reaction from coin collectors if we try and borrow their system. Is anyone an OMSA member here? what do they recommend? This sounds like something they should come up with and encourage everyone to implement in their discriptions.

Art
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Old 10-16-2002, 06:01 PM   #6
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Art,

Since falleristics is considered a subdivision of numismatics I thought it would be logical to use this system. I would love to hear about other systems, but they would all have the same flaw - they are not as widely accepted as the Krause system.

I think Ed is an OMSA member.

Alexei
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Old 10-16-2002, 07:00 PM   #7
Kjetil Kvist
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New system

Alexei, there are two points I want to make.

1. I think that the scale (Unc, XF, VF, F etc) is fine. They might be used for Soviet medals and orders. But;

2. The Krause standards was made to be used on struck coins in general circulation. The Krause standards are just one variation of a very complex system of grades developed for coins - and have many variations in the world. They will even be tailored for specific series of coins. (Their definition of Unc is not the best, most collectors have higher standards).

For orders and medals we can use the terms, UNC, XF and the others, but we have to put new definitions behind them.

First of all. Coins and orders have a very different circulation story. Most medals can be quite attractive even when they have seen heavy use. Most of the image on a medal is visible even if the medal have seen heavy use - worn on many Victoryparades. Second. Coins and medals are manufactured in a quite different manner.

Well. I like the scale used in most COA from McDaniel. Best out of 10...but we can of course discuss what a 8 is or if it is a good or bad 8...

I have some thoughts on the coingrades applied on orders and medals (but I will hope some people with more experience will have their say in this, my background is coins and not orders):

Unc - Unissued without imperfections.
Au (Almost Unc) - Unissued or issued, one or two small imperfections. Have seen little use.
XF - Nice, have seen use, not many imperfections.
VF - Very fine medal or order, have seen use, some imperfections due to contact with other medals.
F - Fine. Used medal. Several imperfections and/or traces of polishing.
VG - Very good used medal or order. Many imperfections and/or probably repaired enamel on orders and/or heavy polishing.
G - Good used medal or order. Seen heavy use. Damages or repairs.
AG - About good. Collect only if the medal have been in action at the Reichstag!



I prefer orders and medal that have seen some wear, have a nice history, but is otherwise in a problem free condition. (I have really problems with accepting enamel damages, but have no problems with scratches or dings. But thats just me. I don't like Unc orders or medals or coins.)
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Old 10-16-2002, 09:06 PM   #8
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Please do not grade orders and medals.

Grading can be applied to things made for collectors. I lost interest in stamps and coins because of grading and the quest for perfection, ultilized by governments to sell mint coins above face value and mint stamps without any service rendered.

I love orders and medals because they are not made for collectors. I hate mint orders or medals that come right from the factory. Medals must have persons behind them, must have been worn and show signs of wear. Unfortunately, I cannot say that more wear is better because it is easy to degrade orders and metals intentionally. But even a damaged award should not lose its value because damage happens to things that are exposed to daily activity and are even worn into battle. (I love the Lenin State History Museum for the fact that they show in their Treasury Catalog on page 78 a OPW 1st Class with enamel completely missing on one of the five rays of the red star.)

I see the grading of coins as tool of dealers to increase their profit: buy as a lower and sell later as a higher grade. Grading is a subjective judgment with all its disadvantages.

The highest quality of an order or medal should be "moderate wear". A lower rank should be "mint". Otherwise the condition can be described by the terms suggested by Alexei. But please don't call it grading!
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Old 10-16-2002, 09:34 PM   #9
Eugene
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I completely agree with Kjetil.
This conventional coin grade system can be applied for late issued orders like Personal Courage, Lenin types 5,6, October
Revolution, late version of Badge of Honor and Labor Red Banner. You cannot apply the same system for Lenin type 1 or 2 as for Lenin type 6. For type 6 condition AU is quite usual and VF wouldn't be considered like very high grade. From other side vf is extremely high for Lenin type 1,2, or 3. The same story for 1st type of Badge of Honor or Labor Red Banner versus late issues of the same orders. For all orders ww2 and prior this system is
useless.
Paul McDaniel uses his 10 grades system depending on observed condition of this particular variation of the award. This system is more flexible and fare. OPW type 1 variation 1 can get high score 8 or 9 out of 10 even with partially lost enamel. Because, these pieces just didn't survived undamaged. OPW type 2 will never get grade this high with this type of damage.
I can list plenty of examples similar to this.

Art,
BTW, I'm OMSA member.
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Old 10-17-2002, 01:13 AM   #10
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Hello All

For my 2 cents worth, the Kruase standards are used by all the major medal auction houses in London and by all the British medal dealers in the world. Why would this not work well for the Soviet medals. Once you are familiar with the grading its becomes very easy to understand.

All that is then necessary is to describe the enamel condition.

Kind regards

Munroe
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