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Grade is one of the most important considerations when buying and selling bank notes. This can be said for many other hobbies and investments where a collectibles’ condition is valued. In coins and currency people say “grade is everything”. What they’re really saying is that grade and price go hand in hand. Higher graded bank notes are generally more valuable than lower graded ones. Other factors such as series and district rarity also help determine price, but, grade is generally considered the single most important factor.

Grading is subjective with room for interpretation. One person may see grade differently than another.  The advent of third party, independent currency grading directly addresses the problem of overgrading. Third party grading offers the buyer a much greater level of confidence. Third party graded notes are often referred to as “certified” or “slabbed” notes”.

Grading services go through a process when accepting submissions. The first step for any grader (third party or otherwise) is authentication. Once the banknote is determined genuine, it’s then graded. The last step is sealing the note in a protective, environmentally safe holder. So why would anyone want to buy uncertified (raw) notes? Why not buy exclusively certified? The answer is that many heavily circulated notes, in lower grades, don’t necessarily warrant third party certification. Third party grading adds to the overall cost of a banknote. Furthermore, minute grade differences within these lower grades may not equate to much of a price difference. This is particularly true with high denomination notes. Many lower grade, circulated notes are therefore sold raw.  On the other hand, Uncirculated and Almost Uncirculated (AU) banknotes are often certified. They are generally more expensive notes and are sometimes referred to as “investment grade” banknotes. Uncirculated notes may exhibit significant price swings between grade. Third party, independent grading is therefore recommended for these higher grade examples.

Buying certified notes, versus buying raw notes, often comes down to personal preference. It has a lot to do with one’s own comfort level and grading skills. Many seasoned collectors and dealers feel comfortable dealing in raw notes. On the other hand, someone new to the hobby whose grading skills are not as sharp yet, may find more comfort in handling third party graded notes only. Certified notes take out the guesswork for some people. Certification, generally speaking also increases liquidity.

Here at we deal in certified AND uncertified notes. All notes are absolutely guaranteed genuine. When we grade raw notes you can be assured that we call ‘em like we see ‘em and use the same grading standards both buying and selling. When we grade a raw note it reflects our own grading opinion based on decades of experience.

Regardless of who grades a note, problems concerning negative eye appeal should always be disclosed. For example: pinholes (open or closed), tears (repaired or otherwise) and restorations should always be mentioned in a banknote’s description if such problems exist. Here at you can always be assured that we will disclose a banknote’s problems (if any) when assigning a grade.

Marc's Notes