Collectors Corner / Coin Collecting
/ Grading your coins..
United States Coins..
Grading Your Coins..
CAN YOU TELL IF YOUR COINS
MAKE THE GRADE ?
Coins, like anythig old, come in all conditions.. Unless you know how to grade
the coins in your collection, you will be unable to buy, sell, or trade them. So
important is grading in coin collecting that one grade difference in a coin could
mean a large price difference. Starting from best to worst, here is how coins are
A proof coin has a very high luster and is made by the Mint
especially for the collector; it is not for circulation. Most of these coins are
minted for Proof Sets.
A brilliant uncirculated coin is one that has
never been in circulation and still has its luster. These coins are found in all
of your mint sets..
An uncirculated coin may have lost most or all of its
luster. However, it will show no wear whatsoever. It may have scratches (Bag Marks)
from rubbing against other coins in the bag in which all coins are shipped from the
Although many dealers will disagree, It has beeen
said there is no such classification as "almost uncirculated." If a coin
has been in circulation, it has been in circulation, and it should be given one of
the classifications appearing below. But I have been collecting for Thirty years
and I still use this grade and so do many other collectors & Dealers..
An extremely fine coin will show only the slightest
amount of wear on the high points. All fine detail such as hair will be as clear
as on an uncirculated coin.
A very fine coin begins to show some signs of wear, possibly
on the lettering or on the fine details. Otherwise, it is a most desirable coin.
A fine coin begins to show definite signs of wear. On a Jefferson
nickel, for example, the cheekbone will be worn flat.
A very good coin is a rather worn coin. The head of Lincoln
on the cent and Washington on the quarter will be worn almost smooth. This is about
where most collections start.. This coin is very desirable to new collectors and
A good coin is really a very worn coin you can tell it has been
in circulation all of it's life! The date and lettering show much wear, although
both will be readable.
A coin in fair condition is usable as a space filler only. You
may have to hold it close to the light to read the date, and only outlines will be
A poor coin will be identifiable. Mutilated coins should be graded
poor, regardless of the condition of the rest of the coin. However, many a collectors
have in his or her collection a rare coin with a hole drilled through it, because
that is all he/she can afford or can find. They can always up-grade latter when the
coin becomes available to them.
Numbers System: Collectors use a numerical and descriptive grading scale that includes the following major grades:
Good (G-4 to 6) -- a heavily worn coin, but still recognizable and collectible.
Very Good (VG-8 to 10) -- a well-worn coin, with some design details faint.
Fine (F-12 to 15) -- moderate to considerable even wear; major design details clear.
Very Fine (VF-20 to 30) -- light to moderate wear.
Extremely Fine (EF-40 to 45, also XF) -- light wear; some mint luster may show.
About Uncirculated (AU-50 to 58) -- only slight wear; 50% or better mint luster.
Mint State (MS-60 to 70) -- no wear; but may have contact marks or other impairments depending on the numerical grade from 60 (impaired) to 70 (perfect).
Proof coins, made for collectors with specially polished dies and coin blanks, also use the 70-point numerical scale with the prefix "Prf." If a proof coin hasn't been circulated, the minimum grade would be Prf-60.
The THREE links below
will take you to detailed Grading pages
for all U.S.
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