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Kitchener, ON, Canada
N2B 3C7

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The following are the definitions we use in our grading of our notes. Select a grading term to find out the definiton from the list below and read how we describe our grading our notes.

| Ink Errors | Counting Creases | cutting cups | Band Marks | Flicks | Crease | Damage

One of the last stages a note goes through in the printing process is the application of the signatures and serial numbers. This is because in the span of time that a particular series in is print, those are the only two pieces of information that change. They are applied by a press that exerts a significant amount of force on the paper, leaving behind not only the ink but an indentation in the paper.

This indentation is often visible on the opposite side of the note and is referred to as embossing. Embossing is an extremely desirable quality in a note for it is an indicator of originality and it exemplifies just what a well made note should look like. When a note is pressed, the process gets rid the embossing along with the targeted imperfections. Therefore, if the embossing is still present, you can be assured that the note is original.
"Ink Errors"
During the production process, the sheets of paper are printed and moved without being given the proper time to dry out. Sheets rub against each other and workers grab the stacks of notes, smearing the still wet ink. Furthermore, when too much ink is added to the applicators, it sometimes bleeds through the note, appearing on the other side. These are considered undesirable qualities in a note, but not wear.
"Counting Creases"
More predominant in the older series, a counting crease is a small bend in the note, usually a few centimetres long, found diagonally perpendicular to the side edge of a note. They happen as a result of the old banking system, where bank tellers had to count incoming notes by hand. They often appear in pairs, either parallel to each other or in opposite corners of the note; evidence indicating that tellers often double counted the stacks.

Counting creases are allowed in the range of uncirculated grades because they are considered an inherent imperfection in banknote production. The presence of a counting crease, however, prevents the designation of perfect paper quality, and hence its presence indicates a maximum grade of CHOICE UNC-64
"Cutting Cups"
This anomaly is a series specific condition, existing only on notes with an interwoven security strip. When the blades of the cutting machines apply pressure on this area, it slightly bends the metal security strip before the pressure is enough to cut it. The buckling of this security strip before it cuts causes the paper to adopt a half moon shaped dome, rarely larger then a centimetre across, that envelopes the areas where the security strip and the edge meet.
"Band Marks"
Lying under the category of acceptable imperfections in the Uncirculated grades, band marks are a slight bending of the paper occurring as a result of the band that binds a bundle of one hundred notes together. The phenomenon ranges is severity from extending the entire vertical length of the note to a slight blip on the top and bottom edges of the note. The degree of severity depends directly on how close the note is to the top or bottom of the bundle of one hundred. When progressing through an original bundle of notes, the band marks will slowly decrease in severity, usually completely disappearing around the 10th note.
As the name might suggest, a flick on a note is a small (usually less then a centimetre) half-moon shaped indentation in the body of a note, reminiscent of what it would look like if someone literally flicked the note with their finger. It needs mentioning, however, that this is not how they occur. Flicks in a note happen as a result of workers and automated machines grabbing the stack of notes in the process of printing. Flicks can be almost anywhere on the note, but tend to occur at least a few centimetres away from the edge.

A flick is not considered wear because of its inherent nature within the printing process. It is, however, taken into account to assess the degree of uncirculated a note may obtain.
Typically, a crease means that the paper fibres of the note have been broken. This is irreversible, irreparable damage to a note that can only be hidden by restoring techniques, not reversed. A crease will extend the entire length of the note, be it horizontal, vertical, or wherever it may lie. The most common areas there creases first appear are vertically along the centre and quarter areas of the note as well as horizontally across the centre. Parallel to the corner of a note, forming a triangle with the crease and the corner, is also a common occurrence.
Damage to a note can lie under two categories; wear over and above the average grade of the rest of the note or auxiliary problems to the note that do not happen as a result of general circulation. For an example of the first category, a tear on a note grading EF-45 would be considered damage. A note grading G-4, however, is expected to have some tears that are not considered damage

This distinction exists to preserve a grading standard that considers the circulation life of a note. A grade is as much a general depiction of the life of a note as it is a description of its condition. Therefore, wear that is characteristic of a note that has ‘seen it all’ is not considered damage but instead taken into consideration when assessing a grade. To distinguish between tears or holes that are a result of the natural progression of a note and that that are pre-mature damage takes some experience and should be handled on a piece by piece basis.

For an example of the second category, being auxiliary problems to a note, consider pen marks. Regardless of the grade, a pen mark is considered damage. This is because writing on a note does not happen as a result of regular circulation. It is an extra problem that did not have to happen. Damage of this nature will always be mentioned separately in the comments section of the certificate, regardless of the grade of the note.

The best way to convey the difference between these two classifications of damage is the contrast in the answers to the two following questions: can a note in G-4 be free of pen marks? Yes……But can a note in G-4 be free of tears? Nearly impossible.

Commonly seen damage to notes include.
  • Holes
  • Tears
  • Writing
  • Residue
  • Sun staining
  • Trimming

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