by Bianca Bart | June 25, 2024

Should I Grade My US Paper Money?

To Grade or Not to Grade?

I'm pretty certain this must be the numismatic equivalent of Shakespeare's famous question in "Hamlet."

Let's start with the basics:

Grading Scale:  Services use a 70-point numerical scale derived from the internationally recognized Sheldon grading scale.

Grading Services: The industry-accepted grading services for US Paper Money are Paper Money Guaranty (PMG), PCGS-Currency, PCGS-Banknote, and Legacy Currency Grading. 

When to Grade:  If you ask 50 dealers on whether or not someone should grade their paper money, you will undoubtedly get 50 different answers. Therefore, this opinion should be treated as only that.  If you're building a collection and you've picked up an assemblage of raw notes and an assortment of slabs, unless you are displaying them in such a fashion where it'd be more aesthetically appealing for consistency, it seems entirely unnecessary. Not only can it be a costly endeavor to encapsulate your paper money, it adds no value. As grading standards change over time, if you must certify your items, doing so as close to your intended date of sale will ensure they're housed in holders that reflect today's grading standards. 


Does Grading Add Value? While there are certainly some exceptions where the plastic will add a premium, that answer is usually no. If you own a note that's valued at $100, it's condition didn't change; therefore, it's value didn't change. In the casese of authenitcation, a rare note that's been certified may now be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Should I Grade My Notes Before Selling Them? We advise you to sell to a reputable dealer or company. At Executive Currency, our staff is trained in the technical nuances of the current and evolving grading standards and posesses the same equipment found within the grading rooms of the major services. Each note that enters our inventory passes through a thorough inspection process utilizing various light sources to ensure authentication while analyzing condition.

Receive a Fast + Free Appraisal:  Want a no-obligation offer on your notes to see what we'd pay before you waste money and time shipping them to a grading company?

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