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Grading Systems for Banknotes


The Bramwell system of grading is a numerical system that has been accepted by dealers, collectors and investors of banknotes throughout the world, in ever growing numbers.

The system is simplicity itself, taking away a lot of the guess work of grading banknotes.

The major advantage of the Bramwell system is it provides a continuous and convenient scale of grading ranging from the very best to the very worst graded banknotes, with the gaps in the standard method of grading.

In the Bramwell system the perfect uncirculated banknote is graded at 100.

For imperfect banknotes the degree of damage is assessed numerically as we have described below, with the result of any damage subtracted from the perfect banknote score of 100.

For assessment of the system, banknote damage is considered under five very distinct headings: these being.

  • Cleanliness
  • Folding
  • Surface
  • Edges
  • Body

Our table defines three levels of damage under each of the five headings listed above, then gives for each level a “damage number”. Intermediate levels and their damage numbers can be accurately estimated from the listed banknote table.

To grade a banknote, the damage number under each of the five headings is estimated and the five damage numbers added together. This gives the “total damage number” which is the number subtracted from 100 to give an accurate individual banknote grade.


Detectable soiling. 5
Considerable soiling and/or bankers folds. 10
Very dirt banknotes with legibility considerably reduced. 20
One or two folds that leave a just detectable crease. 5
Several folds which are clearly visible. 10
Many and repeated folds which have caused damage to the banknote. 20
Heave centrefold on both surfaces of the banknotes, breaking the paper. 20
Just detectable damage to the surface of the banknote, folds or crumples. 5
Considerable damage to the surface of the banknote at several places. 10
Considerable damage to the banknote over an extended surface area. 20
Cleaning of the banknote, washing, bleaching, repairing, ironing. 20
Just detectable roughness or indentations on the surface of the banknote. 5
Considerable damage to the edges ,rounding extending to the margins. 10
Badly damaged edges, tears, rounding of corners, into the banknote design. 20
One or two pinholes. 5
Several pinholes, or one or two larger holes. 10
Several large holes, attempted repairs. 20

Grading under the Bramwell System

Starting at 100 for a perfectly preserved banknote, the grader then uses our numeric system of grading banknotes, to arrive at an accurate system of grading all banknotes.

The Bramwell System follows the standard grading system commencing with An uncirculated banknote will have rating of: 100.

An almost uncirculated banknote will have a rating of: 90.

An extra fine banknote has a rating of: 50.

A very fine banknote has a rating of: 30.

A fine banknote has a rating of: 10.

A good banknote has a rating of: 5.

We highly recommend the Bramwell system of grading banknotes, it takes much of the guess work, and differing opinions away from the grading of banknotes.

This article is written for educational and information purposes only, further inquiries and opinions on the art of grading banknotes, or any other subject can be directed to:

The Editor
Australasian Banknotes.

COPYRIGHT : Australasian Notes Pty Ltd. 2010.