Buying home graded banknotes on eBay

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Buying "home graded" banknotes on eBay

Buying banknotes on eBay can be a lot of fun, and you can get some great bargains. It is essential that if you are going to spend even $20 on a note, you consult two very important sources of information

- The latest catalogue, I suggest McDonalds 13th edition

- A PROPER grading guide.

Banknotes are quite difficult to grade from images on eBay, sometimes they are not too hard to grade. But ANYONE can get a rough idea of a note, and see if the note is being falsely advertised as "worth $3000 AUNC" or something. A rough guide is all you need to begin, but dealers will be picky. If you buy a certified note from any reputable dealer, you will be investing in a note that is in that condition - no doubt. If you buy a note from eBay, you really have no idea. There's nothing to stop people making false images (using Photoshop on their scan).

The internet is a wealth of information, so here is a wonderful grading guide for banknotes. All credit to the original source which is

Grading Banknotes.

Five characteristics are examined to accurately determine the state of preservation of a banknote. They are the state of cleanliness, the severity of folding, the state of the surface, the state of the edges and the severity and number of any punctures or pinholes on the note.

A points system is used where each characteristic is scored out of 20 - the maximum score for an absolutely pristine note being 100. Grading points are as follows:

Crisp, Flat, Uncirculated (CFU)        100
Extremely Fine (EF)                          90
Very Fine (VF)                                  75
Fine (F)                                              55
Very Good (VG)                                30
Good (G)                                            20

The following describes scoring for each characteristic:

As printed - clean and bright  -                       20
Slight soiling - just noticeable -                       15
Considerable soiling and/or banker's marks -  10
Very dirty, legibility is reduced  -                     0

As printed - flat and unfolded  -                      20
One or two folds leaving a very faint crease  - 15
Several prominent folds  -                              10
Many folds and heavy creasing  -                    0

As printed - crisp with no damage  -              20
Slight, just detectable abrasions or damage -  15
Readily detectible damage in several places -  10
Extensive damage  -                                        0

As printed - perfectly straight and even  -          20
Slightly rough or with very minor indentations -   15
Considerable indentation and/or with tears in the margins - 10
Badly damages edges and/or tears extending into the design - 0

As printed - no holes  -       20
One or two pin holes only - 15
Several pin holes or a slightly larger puncture - 10
Several larger holes -  0


Simply look at the note on offer one area at a time. Look for fine nicks and imperfect corners when doing the edge check. Look for fading colour, look for everything and try to honestly pick the most descriptive item from each category and save the total.

Note - try to check for evidence of rips (which sometimes may not be described) as these degrade value fast.

When you arrive at a total, start again and check even more carefully. Then take the two totals and decide. Perhaps one is higher, average them. If one is WAY higher then you probably overestimated on the first check, be realistic and just start again.

If you get the same result, you have your grade. If selling, describe the note, even give the point scale. For rare notes, the real investors out there will appreciate it - unless of course they have read this guide :)

Remember, be picky, because any smart buyer will be when it comes time to buy the note. And one last thing:

IF YOU ARE UNSURE, DO NOT BID. There can be massive differences in the prices of notes.

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