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Special Considerations


Pressing, cleaning, or “restoring” a note is a common practice and should be taken into consideration during grading. Opinions range on the pros and cons of the subject. On one hand, altering a note can make it appear cleaner, bringing out the sharpness of the colours under the thin layer of dirt. Flatting methods make major folds less noticeable and distracting to the beholder, improving the overall eye-appeal.

On the other hand, altering a note can further damage the integrity of the paper and, depending on the method used, disintegrate the note over time. Furthermore, it hides or understates ware on the note, misleading the prospective grader. Pressing a note, for example, can camouflage a major fold, but it cannot repair the broken paper fibres within it. The wear is still there, but less noticeable to the untrained eye.

Finally, on a higher grade note, the act of flattening out inherent imperfections in the paper also eliminates the desirable qualities of a well printed Uncirculated note. The Bank of Canada 1954 series, for example, typically has shallow waves throughout the note caused by damp paper during the printing process. Restoring a note will ruin this desirable quality. Other irreversible changes include the elimination of embossing and a general change in the texture of the paper.

If a note is unaltered and has not gone through a restoring process and receives the grade of EF or higher it will receive an auxiliary designation of ORIGINAL stated on the holder directly beneath the number grade.


Damage to a note, outside of the normal realm of the notes grade, will be mentioned separate from the grade of the note in the comments section of the certificate. Other characteristics of the note will be taken into account for the assessment of the grade, disregarding any unusual damage. No net grade will be given.

One exception to the rule exists and that is that a damaged note may never reach the designation of UNC-60 or higher. The damage to the note is a sign of wear and hence is contrary to the definition of an uncirculated note showing ‘no signs of wear’. If an otherwise Uncirculated note has a pen mark or pinhole, for example, it will receive a grade of AU-55.

Special Serial Numbers

Special serial number collectors make up a large and important sub-market of the hobby. Anomalies such as RADAR notes, birthday notes, repeaters, low serial numbers, ladder notes and million number notes are highly sought after pieces and deserve mention. Any mention of these special serial numbers will appear in the comments section of the certificate.

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