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All About Grading
The PSE Standardized Philatelic Grading Scale
The PSE Standardized Philatelic Grading Scale enables a consensus expert opinion about single stamps and pairs to be expressed accurately and consistently using well-established philatelic terminology and an overall numeric grade. The following is a brief description of the overall guidelines.
- Perfectly-balanced jumbo margins Post Office Fresh (POF)
- Perfectly-balanced normal sized margins, POF
- Not quite perfectly-centered, POF
- Extremely well-centered margins, POF
- Almost extremely well-centered, POF
- Very well-centered, POF
- Margins reasonably clear on all sides
- Margins just clear on one or more sides
- Perfs touch or cut stamp design slightly
- Perfs cut into stamp design
Centering - First, PSE experts consider a stamp's appearance, or centering, and indicate their opinion as follows:
Condition - Next, the stamp's condition is considered, and the opinion indicated as follows:
- Original gum
- Never hinged
- Previously hinged
- Original gum, disturbed
- Part original gum
- No gum
- Unused, no gum as issued (special printing)
- Minor fault (tiny defect, e.g.; corner perf crease, thin spec, small toned spot, etc.)
- Faults, Creases (tears, thins, facial scuffs, fake grill, pen cancel removed, regummed, fake cancels, repairs, etc.)
- Reperforated (R/L | T/B)
Overall Numeric Grade - Finally, PSE's experts consider the appearance and soundness of the stamp and assign an overall numeric grade. The scale ranges from 10 to 100, 100 representing a stamp in flawless Gem condition. Twenty-five points are deducted straightaway for minor defects and 50 points for significant defects. Jumbo qualifiers (J) can be added after the numerical grade by PSE's experts in the event that the stamp falls into the proper category based on centering and condition, but has exceedingly large margins in comparison to the average of that stamp.
The basis for the PSE Standardized Philatelic Grading Scale is a follows.
Examples of PSE Standardized Grading Scale
A fully color illustrated, in depth look into how PSE authenticates and grades stamps can be found below.
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