Components of the overall condition factor include, but are not limited to any physical damage the coin may have received, sharpness of strike, eye appeal, or aesthetic beauty and the coin’s net grade.
Physical damage includes scratches, dents, gouges, corrosion, carbon spots and improper cleaning to name a few examples.
Strike is an important consideration. A well struck coin that brings out all the design highlights is always in much greater demand than a weakly struck example. This is especially true of uncirculated coins. Such a coin with sharp, crisp design elements is always favoured over one that displays weak or “mushy” looking design elements.
Eye appeal is basically “How does the coin look to you?” The rule of thumb here is that attractive coins are much more eagerly sought by experienced collectors than unattractive coins regardless of the coin’s grade.
Demand, or the lack of it, explains why certain scarce early coins can be obtained for relatively nominal sums in relation to more current issues. An uncirculated 1`923 cent can cost much more than a much scarcer large cent in the same grade. The answer is that more collectors are assembling sets of small cents and have ignored the early large cents.
Demand can and most probably will change over time. History tells us that it is inevitable. What was popular long ago is not so much in demand today. Collector fancies do change over time. Demand then is the ultimate factor in determining a coin’s value. A collector will not pursue a damaged or weakly struck coin. Neither will the individual want a coin with zero eye appeal. In summation, if 100 specimens exist and only 20 collectors seek it, there is minimal value attached to the coin.