What are the limits of grading?

Some collectors and professionals disapprove of grading. But why?

Here are a few criticisms of grading that may make some people reluctant. It's important to be aware of them. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of grading, you'll be able to judge for yourself whether or not you need to have your old banknotes graded.

  • The banknote is no longer available
    Once shrink-wrapped, your banknote is protected, but you can no longer physically touch it. Sometimes, however, it's important to touch a banknote to "feel" (smell and touch) the quality of the paper and see if it's been washed or ironed!
    Once you've graded the banknote, you need to rely on the term (EPQ or NET) mentioned on the slab.
    EPQ : The banknote has exceptional paper quality.
    NET : The banknote has undergone a restoration or cleaning treatment.
    But what if it's neither EPQ nor NET? Well, you can't judge the quality of the paper...

  • Its quality rating is engraved for life
    When a banknote is graded, it enters the certifying body's database. However, most of our banknotes are unique, as they have a serial number. So if you feel that the grader was too harsh on the quality rating, then unfortunately that rating will stick with you.

  • Local specificities
    No matter how expert the appraisers are, they can't possibly know all the specific features of certain banknotes or issues.

  • Impact of Banque de France pinning on banknote quality rating.
    For Banque de France issues, some French banknotes are pinned as soon as they come off the press. It is therefore not possible to find unpinned banknotes. This is why, in such cases, PMG assigns a grade higher than 66 (i.e. with the EPQ mention) despite the pinning, because they consider that there is no higher quality. But sometimes they can be wrong, because some banknotes really do exist unpinned!