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.