How are the categories arranged in CNG's catalogs and website?
CNG's catalogs typically have the following categories: Greek (including Celtic), Oriental Greek, Central Asian, Roman Provincial, Roman Republican and Imperatorial, Roman Imperial, Byzantine, Early Medieval, World, British, Miscellaneous, Antiquities, and Large Lots. Other sections may be added to accommodate or feature large collections of a particular coinage. The coins in each of these sections are arranged in a specific order.
How does CNG grade coins?
Greek coins begin with the coins of the Celtic world. The Celtic coins are arranged geographically by region, from the Balkans to Britain, with the coins of individual tribes ordered alphabetically within each region. This naturally follows the spread of the Celtic coinage from its beginnings in the Balkans in the later 4th century BC to its eventual cessation in the west, in Gaul in Britain, in the 1st century BC. The coinage of the Greek world is then presented by region from west to east around the Mediterranean Sea. The arrangement begins in Spain and moves east, through Gaul, Italy, and Sicily. Carthage follows Sicily, as their coins are closely related. The arrangement then picks up at the northwest edge of the Black Sea, and moves south, though Thrace, Macedon, Thessaly, and into Greece proper, followed by the coins of Crete and the Cyclades. Continuing from the northeastern coast of the Black Sea, the arrangement flows south, following the coast of Asia Minor, then into Syria, the Levant, and the western reaches of Arabia and Persia. Turning west along the southern coast of the Mediterranean, the coins of Egypt are then presented, followed by Kyrene, Numidia, and Mauretania.
Oriental Greek comprises the coinage of the Hellenic kingdoms and territories to the east of the Tigris River, up to the time of the first Skythian migrations. This includes the coinages of Parthia, Elymais, Characene, Baktria, and are arranged from east to west. The Central Asian section includes the coins following the first Skythian invasion up to the advent of Islam. This includes the numerous series covered by Senior's corpus on the Indo-Skythian coinage, as well as the ancient and medieval coinage of India, and the Sasanian empire and its related coinages. Numerous invasions occurred in this region during this time, and the development of coinage closely followed the invasion routes. In general, the coins are arranged chronologically by region along these routes (usually a north-south pattern). The subsection on India, however, is more complex. The development of coinage in India during the ancient and medieval period is highly complex. In a general sense, Indian coinage is mostly a regional coinage, developing and sustaining in specific areas along trade routes over time. However, a few large kingdoms periodically dominated these routes, which affected the coinage in many of these small regions. As such, the Indian coinage is presented divided into periods punctuated by these large kingdoms. Within each period, the coins are arranged in geographic order following these trade routes. The Sasanian coinage bridges all of the periods and regions of the Central Asian section, and so is presented after India. The Hunnic and local issues that developed as the empire waned in the east and west round up this section.
The Roman Provincial section includes the coins also known as Greek Imperial coinage. This comprises both "imperial" issues in the name of emperors as well as autonomous and "pseudo-autonomous" coins issued by Greek cities under Roman control. The arrangement of the coins follows the regional arrangement of the Greek Coinage section (see above), with the coins of each city presented chronologically by emperor. If the quantity of coins in this section is very small in a particular sale, the "imperial" issues will be placed in the Roman Imperial section under their respective emperor, and the Greek city issues will be placed under their respective area in the Greek Coinage section.
The Roman Republican and Imperatorial section is arranged chronologically within three subsections: Early Italian & Roman Issues, Roman Moneyer Issues, and Roman Imperatorial Issues. The Early Italian & Roman Issues subsection comprises all anonymous issues of Rome as well as the Roman issues of subsidiary cities, such as Hatria in Picenum and Tuder in Umbria. The Roman Moneyer Issues presents the issues in the name of the various Roman moneyers down to 50 BC, and follows the arrangement in Crawford (with a few modifications). The Roman Imperatorial Issues follows the chronological arrangement of CRI.
The Roman Imperial and Byzantine Coinage sections are presented in a chronological arrangement by emperor. Within each emperor's coinage, the coins are arranged by mint first, followed by struck date, and, finally, denomination. The mint arrangement for each section follows RIC and DOC, respectively.
The Early Medieval Coinage section comprises the successor states in Europe following the fall of the Western Roman Empire, as well as the coinage of the Crusader states and early Islamic coinage. The portion dealing with the successor states is arranged chronologically, beginning with the Vandals and ending with the Carolingians. This is followed by the coins of the Axumite kingdom, which bridges both the timeframe of the section as well as the regional arrangement (west to east). The coinage of the Crusader states is arranged chronologically by state, as they developed throughout the period of the Crusades. The final subsection, Islamic coinage, begins with the anonymous "Arab-Sasanian" issues and includes all of the Islamic coinage before the advent of the modern Islamic states. The arrangement of this coinage is very complex. As with the early Indian coinage (described above), this coinage developed along a regional pattern following the fall of the Abbasid Empire. These regions, though, are periodically dominated by various kingdoms that develop over time. As such, the arrangement of the Islamic section begins with the anonymous early coins followed by the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates. The coins are then presented in a regional arrangement, from east to west, with these regions divided into chronological periods punctuated by the various kingdoms that dominate the region. The Islamic subsection culminates with the coinage of the Ottoman Empire, which spanned across most of the regions that had previously been separate, and fell with the advent of the modern Islamic states that developed after the First World War.
The World Coinage section includes coins of the modern world states (including those that no longer exist), and is organized alphabetically by state. The coinage of each state is typically presented in their "traditional" arrangement in their respective primary references. Usually this is either by a chronological arrangement for royal issues, or an alphabetic arrangement for city issues.
British Coinage is divided into a number of subsections, which are basically Anglo-Saxon and the various post-1066 dynasties. Within each subsection, the coins are arranged chronologically by type or issue, then by mint (and moneyer, if applicable), and, finally, denomination.
The Miscellaneous section is a "catch-all" for items that are typically exonumia, such as tokens, medals, coin weights, collectable counterfeits (i.e. Becker forgeries), and fantasy pieces that do not fit into any of the other sections of the sale. The Antiquities section usually only occurs in our mail bid sales, and includes items from a variety of periods, ancient to modern. Large Lots includes lots of varying sizes, as small as two coins to as large as a thousand or more. Lots that are of a single type of coinage are arranged respective to the various sections listed above, followed by "mixed lots" -- those containing coins of two or more different types.
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CNG prides itself on very conservative grading. Generally, two factors must be accounted for in grading - effects of wear and effects of manufacture. Effects of wear result from circulation, find conditions, and conservation. Worn examples display a loss of sharpness, corrosion, and scratches. Effects of wear are the primary factors in determining a coin's grade. Effects of manufacture, such as poor centering, flatness, and multiple strikings, can affect the aesthetics of a coin, and thereby its value, but typically do not affect the grade. As such, when CNG grades their coins, the grade is usually supplemented by information relating any detrimental factors caused in the coin's manufacture. For example, a coin that is in exceptional condition, but has been struck a bit off-center may be graded as EF, slightly off-center strike. Another factor that must also be considered is the state of the dies in a series to which a coin belongs. With ancient, and some medieval, coin series, dies were executed with a variety of refinement. Some series are exemplified by highly artistic dies, while others were made from very crude dies. In the latter case, it is possible that a coin may appear to be in a lower grade than it actually is. When this occurs, the grade is accompanied by the phrase "for issue."
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