Why ICG ?

ICG IS A GRADING COMPANY specialized in grading world paper money. We are a new company, but the people who work here are not new to the paper money hobby. Collectively, we have many years of experience handling, collecting, dealing and generally loving and admiring paper money. We are also specialists. We specialize in world paper money. We don’t know about coins or about other collectibles, but we are thoroughly familiar with the historic banknotes issued around the world since the early days of paper money until today.


Which means that we know what to expect when we grade the banknotes of our clients. We know what the paper should look like; whether it is meant to be flat or originally rippled; whether it had staple holes or marks when it was put in circulation. Familiarity with the details of the banknotes we grade allows us to be able to tell when a note has been tampered with, so that when you choose ICG as your grading partner you know you will get accurate, fair and reliable grading. With ICG you will always get properly identified and properly graded world notes, so you can enjoy your collection without the disappointment that comes with misgraded notes.


We are based in Europe, closer to most collectors and dealers in the eurozone, the UK, the Middle East, Africa and most of Asia. Our convenient location reduces the transit time for notes travelling from you to us and back, lowering the waiting time and the risk of loss in transit.


Proximity and convenience are important aspects of our business. You will be able to meet us personally in most of the large paper money fairs around the world and we encourage you to establish personal contact so you can see first hand what we are about and what dedication and personal care we bring to the paper money hobby.


Moreover, we make grading simple, so you can always submit your notes directly and without the intermediation of a local dealer. You will also not need to join any collectors club or pay any upfront fees in order to submit notes to ICG. You can get started today. Register as an ICG client and you are ready to submit your notes.


But there is one reason above all why we know you will love ICG, and that is our grading standards. With ICG you know you will get honest, fair, thorough and consistent grading. Our grading is recognizable to collectors and dealers of world paper money because it is largely done “the old-fashioned way”. At ICG, grading is what it says on the holder, so you will not have to wonder whether a note graded by ICG will have hidden creases or may have been cleaned before it was encapsulated. If it was, you will always read about it on the ICG label.


We have, it is true, made some concessions to more recent grading trends, such as the use of a numerical scale from 70 down to 2, or the use of more than one grade for notes which we define as “uncirculated”. But in doing so, we have consulted with numerous collectors to make sure that we were in tune with general trends and we have used common sense. Among the “innovations” ICG introduces, we have limited the number of strictly “uncirculated” categories to four: “70/perfect UNC”, “68/GEM UNC”, “66/choice UNC”, and “63/UNC”. We know some collectors may consider even two “UNC” definitions one too many, but we believe from our experience and research that participants in the hobby accept some nuances. But we think there is a limit to how thin you can slice the strictly UNC category, which is why, unlike some of our competitors using up to 13 different UNC categories, we have only four.


You will also find other unique ICG grading features, such as the fact that we will use the top grading category “70/perfect UNC” as needed, because let’s be honest, there are some truly flawless banknotes out there. We also differ from our competitors in the way we use the “centering/margins” in our grading. Obsession with margins is not part of the world paper money hobby’s DNA and we feel more relaxed about it than our competitors.


To learn more about this and about the ICG grading principles in general, click here.