I got a pm asking about the differences between conservation and grading, so I thought it would be better to make a post so anyone who is interested can learn. First, grading. Grading is the process of determining the condition of a coin. Coins are graded on a scale of 70, with 70 being perfect. Over at LBC, badon and I recommend buying investment grade coins with a score of 69 or 70. 68s are OK for *very* rare coins, but still try for at least a 69 if possible. Of course, the higher the grade, the more collectors want them, and the higher the price. Who wouldn't want perfect coins? There are two main grading companies, NGC and PCGS. For Chinese coins, NGC is dominant. NGC recognizes more (but not all) varieties of Chinese coins. NGC's holders are better at showing the edges of coins and keeping air out (important for silver!). All the other grading companies (ICG, ANACS, etc) are considered by the market to have lower quality standards. So a ICG MS 69 is not as valued as highly as a PCGS MS 69. On to conservation. Conservation is the process of removing debris left over by the minting of the coin. Often there is dust and other chemical residue from the different stages of minting. The results of conservation is that coins generally have brighter foregrounds and deeper fields. In general they just look better. In addition, the removal of chemical residues will *generally* prevent the formation of oxidation spots on silver coins, also known as White Spots of Death (WSoD). WSoDs have a dramatic negative effect on the collectibility and value of a coin. The only company that I'm currently aware of the does conservation is NCS. NCS and NGC have a crossover service, but aren't the same company. This crossover service allows members and dealers to submit coins to NCS directly. NCS will apply their super-secret techniques to the coin, and then hand it over to NGC for grading. It's a handy one-stop shopping experience. Hope that helps. If you guys have any questions, I'll do my best to answer.