PCGS Currency recently graded its first “Poor 1” Note, a Fr. 225 $1 1896 “Educational Series” Silver Certificate. This is the lowest grade possible under the PCGS Currency Grading Standards, the only written grading standards published by any major third-party grading service.
The note was submitted to PCGS Currency for grading at a recent Baltimore Coin & Currency Expo for on-site grading by Set Registry enthusiast Cliff Andrews, who won the 2009 PCGS Currency Set Registry award for best “Low Ball” set. Collectors compete in “Low Ball” sets much in the same way they compete in regular Set Registry competitions, except that they compete to obtain the lowest grade possible.
“Unlike coins, which typically wear down evenly in circulation until they achieve low grade status,” stated Laura A. Kessler, Vice President of PCGS Currency, “currency is made of paper and is inherently more fragile. Low grade notes are usually redeemed and destroyed before they reach Good or even Very Good condition, and are very seldom seen in very low grades such as Fair or Poor without being repaired or damaged and mangled.”
The Silver Certificate graded “Poor 1” was the first awarded this grade by PCGS Currency, according to PCGS Currency President Jason W. Bradford. “While we have graded notes with an ‘Apparent’ grade as low as ‘Poor 1’ with problems such as repairs and tape stains, we had never seen a note that was as worn as this note without having any major problems that would be out of the ordinary for the grade—such as a repair, writing, or damage outside of the scope of normal wear and tear. In fact, the note was so worn that we had some difficulty determining the signature combination, and therefore the Friedberg number. Only after we found the loop of the ‘R’ in the Roberts signature were we able to determine that it was from the Bruce-Roberts signature combination issue, and therefore a Fr. 225.”
The PCGS Currency Set Registry was introduced in 2007, and has expanded from just a few sets to more than 1,000 collector participants competing in more than 200 different categories. Collectors compete by entering notes from their collection into a safe and secure database, and individual notes are ranked by grade and weighted by rarity.
Information on competing in the PCGS Currency Set Registry, or joining the PCGS Currency Collectors Club, may be obtained by visiting the PCGS Currency website at www.pcgscurrency.com, or by calling (309) 222-8200.