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Thread: Grade Koi

  1. #1
    Oyagoi koifishgirl's Avatar
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    Grade Koi

    Can someone please tell me what a grade A and AA and AAA koi means in terms of grade? And does any of these grade mean show koi? Or are show koi sold as show koi or what?

  2. #2
    Guest Nancy M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koifishgirl
    Can someone please tell me what a grade A and AA and AAA koi means in terms of grade? And does any of these grade mean show koi? Or are show koi sold as show koi or what?
    Depending on the dealer: (A) is usually pond grade, hardly any pattern, (AA) is also pond grade with more varieties and pattern, (AAA) is high quality, pond grade and at some dealers it means show quality, every dealer has there own grading system. The dealers I go to have pond grade koi in price ranges from $12 to $100. AAA grade is show quality, but you still need the eye to know what to look for. Most Koi that are show quality, are going to cost you anywhere from $100 to High thousands, depending on what size they are, and variety. I have personally bought a koi for $30 from our dealer when it was a tosai and now it is 3 years old, and it has won, best baby, best in size 1, 2, 3 and best young. SO you don't always have to spend a lot of money. Sometimes you get the one that they overlooked through the culling process.

  3. #3
    Oyagoi koifishgirl's Avatar
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    Can you tell me some of the different ways that koi are classed in terms of grade? What are the other ways that they grade koi. I have noted that some say pond grade and select and thats about all I know about koi in terms of grade. Are you saying the A would mean pond grade and AA select and AAA show koi or better? How am I to know what means what if all use different grading systems.

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    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    I think for the average pond keeper as well as dealers ( lots of new starts )
    the grading system is a simple method to classify good better best. it also
    helps justify the pricing.

    but the best of a mediochre breeder is still mediochre. For many years name breeders would allow other farmers to use their backup pairs for spawning with the understanding that the owner would come back and select the top ones for himself. The the farmer who bred and raised them would sell them under the name of the owner of the brood stock. people paid for the name not the ability of the name brand breeder to select outstanding individuals.

    Just as in the olde gold mine days where they shotgunned in some high grade stuff in a tired worthless mine for sale, you can easily color up a grade by adding a few individuals from the next grade up. This often happens with the start up of a new dealer with their supplier, who wishes to get off on the right foot.

    if you want a high class grade koi you will have to pay alot of money for a good one.
    A breeder knows when there are tosai that will turn out . he hangs on to them so that in 2-3 or 4 years it has reached it's potential and brings a high price. It does not get sold as tosai for $100.

    I don't wish to put a damper on enthusiasm just a reality check so that the truth will be known. You will pay dearly for a show grade koi. Can you show koi selected from a AAA batch. Sure you can!

    For me my first reality check came with my first visit to an all japan show. That opened my eyes as to what was possible. I had never seen that quality
    before at any dealers handling AAA's. ( In their defense, no one was willing to pay for that quality of koi, so why bring it in on speculation.)

  5. #5
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    KFG: Exactly. You understand it !

    Dick: The "salting" of a shipment of koi, or of a breeder's greenhouse pond, with a few worthy individuals... a curious way to gain stature in a land that so reveres personal honor. But, a nice way to get a customer to come again to see what there might be.
    Last edited by MikeM; 07-04-2005 at 10:20 PM. Reason: Posted simultaneously w/Dick, so needs clarification.

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    Oyagoi koifishgirl's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, yes I do understand what he is saying and what I dont understand is why dont they have one way of grading koi, if you go to a dealer and he say he has koi A AA AAA would you not think that everyone should grade the same way. I mean what is select? Is that considered second best?

  7. #7
    Jumbo Tom C's Avatar
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    Nancy hit it on the head. It's up to the breeder or dealer what they want to grade them at. I have seen AA and AAA koi that should have been culled. I drove 2+ hours to a local breeder/dealer to buy some koi. When I talked to him on the phone he said he had a lot of real nice AA and AAA koi for sale. I got to his place and the koi all should have been culled. You could get nicer koi off of eBay then what he had. He was asking $10 to $15 each wholesale for these koi that were 5" to 7". I was real nice about it and told him his koi sucked. I told him he needs to learn how to cull the junk koi with no color and ones that are deformed.

    Find a dealer you trust and buy from them. Don't base your koi on how a dealer grades them.

    Tom

    Keep it simple, keep it straight Koi-Bito.com

  8. #8
    Jumbo jnorth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom C
    Don't base your koi on how a dealer grades them.

    Tom
    Great advice! Unfortunately for many inexperienced koi keepers they find this out after they have already been suckered.
    Koi-Unit

    ZNA Potomac Koi Club

  9. #9
    Jumbo
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    The best place to begin is usually at the beginning--

    The professional Breeder has no letter rating system for his koi. He has fish that he culls as they are unfit for sale. Then fish he selects out as they have no future- tateshita. And the rest are tategoi until they are no longer tategoi and sold off at their peak. Some of the big production breeders down south, sell stock according to the level of its pattern. Once these fish get into the distribution system they can be sold in grades. This implies of course, that there is no individuality to the stock, just a group rating. But guess what? At each level of distribution, these lots are picked through so that the final distributor gets the poorest individuals of a once letter rated lot. In this case, always remember that the guy who graduated LAST in his class from medical school is still called--- Doctor!

    It goes without saying that if a koi is NOT distributed as an 'individual' then it is distributed as a ' piece'. Meaning it is part of a greater production- if you want a show fish beyond one year old, stay away from these graded fish.

    The very best fish to buy as a show fish is an individual four year old. The reason? They are fish that have been held back from sale for a long time because they represent the very prime of each spawn. But they are now large and not many breeders have space for this size fish next growing season- so they are actually priced cheap for what you are getting. But having said that, no four year old fish has a small price tag - just cheap relative to the value one gets in three and two year olds! So most of us buy three year olds so that most of the risk is out of the fish ,yet it is not a fortune. A two year old is even cheaper because there are so many, but two year olds may soon be going down hill and might be worthless by age four! And all one year old tategoi are not for sale, unless you are there, in Japan and pay for what the fish would sell for later in life. Obviously, these are not graded fish we are talking about. Some can sell for thousands- again, to reflect what they might be worth if all things come together. This is the gamble in buying expensive tategoi.

  10. #10
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    still think you ought to write a book JR.


    I know a few Dr's in the koi world we could get to write the forward! (LOL)

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