Coin Grading Guide

Up to date U.S. coin grading guide and scale for the coin enthusiast and collector.


PROOF
A specially made coin distinguished by sharpness of detail and usually with a brilliant, mirror like surface. Proof refers to the method of manufacture and is not a grade.

 

PF-65 Gem Proof

Surfaces are brilliant, with no noticeable blemishes or flaws. A few scattered, barely noticeable marks or hairlines.

 

PF-63 Choice Proof

Surfaces are reflective, with only a few blemishes in secondary focal places. No major flaws.

 

PF-60 Proof

Surfaces may have several contact marks, hairlines, or light rubs. Luster may be dull and lacking eye appeal.

 

 

MINT STATE
The term Mint State (MS) and Uncirculated (Unc.) are interchangeable and refer to coins showing no trace of wear. Such coins may vary slightly due to minor surface imperfections, as described in the following subdivisions:

 

MS-70 Perfect Uncirculated

In perfect new condition and showing no trace of wear. The finest quality possible, with no evidence of scratches, handling, or contact with other coins. Very few circulated coins are ever found in this condition.

 

MS-65 Gem Uncirculated

An above average Uncirculated coin that may be brilliant or lightly toned and that has very few contact marks on the surface or rim.

 

MS-63 Choice Uncirculated

A coin with some distracting contact marks or blemishes in prime focal areas. Luster may be impaired.

 

MS-60 Uncirculated

A coin that has no trace of wear, but may show a number of contact marks, and the surface may be spotted or lack some luster.

 

 

ABOUT UNCIRCULATED
AU-55 Choice About Uncirculated

Evidence of friction on the high points of design. Most of the mint luster remains.

 

AU-50 About Uncirculated

Slight trace of light wear on many of the high points or elevated design areas. Imperfections may appear as dull spots, bag marks, edge nicks, or scratches.  At least half of the luster remains.

 

 

EXTREMELY FINE
EF-45 Choice Extremely Fine

Light overall wear on the highest points. All design details are very sharp. Some of the mint luster is still present.

 

EF-40 Extremely Fine

Slight evidence of wear on the highest points of the design such as hair lines, feathers and wreath leaves. A trace of mint luster may still show in the lowest areas of the coin.

 

VF-30 Choice Very Fine

Light, even wear on the surface and at the highest points of the design. All lettering and major features are sharp.

 

 

VERY FINE
VF-20 Very Fine

Moderate wear on the design high points. Although the details may be slightly smoothed, all major features are sharp.

 

 

FINE
F-12 Fine

Moderate to considerable even wear. The entire design is bold with an overall pleasing appearance. On 20th century coins, the rim must be fully raised and sharp.

 

 

VERY GOOD
VG-8 Very Good

Considerable wear, with most detail points worn nearly smooth. At least three letters need to be visible on the word Liberty, if the word was present. On 20th century coins, the rim will start to merge with the lettering.

 

 

GOOD
G-4 Good

Heavily worn, with the design visible but faint in areas. Many details are flat. On coins with the word Liberty, the Liberty may have disappeared. The rims are almost merging with the lettering.

 

 

ABOUT GOOD
AG-3 About Good / Fair

A very heavily worn coin with portions of the lettering, date, and legend worn smooth. The date may be barely readable. Such coins are used as fillers in a collection until a better grade becomes available unless the coin is very rare and valuable.