While there are established systems and processes for grading a coin, it is ultimately a immanent conclusion. One grading service may assign a coin at a higher or lower grade than another military service based on the come of wear a particular grader perceives .
A Brief History of Coin Grading
The Early Years
In the mid-19th century, coin collectors realized the necessity of defining the timbre of coins in order to assess their values. A basic arrangement of grade was developed, which consisted of three levels :
Mass circulation has worn the coin, but the details of its design were still visible
The details of the coin’s design were preserved better than that of a “good” coin, and it retained some of its mint luster
The details of the coin were clearly defined and it retained a luster near its original mint state.
As the commercialize for coin collect grew throughout the late 19th and early twentieth centuries, it became clear that a more comprehensive examination marking system was needed. Some coins graded as “ fine ” were obviously more fine than others, and some “ uncirculated ” coins had more luster and detail than others.
Terms such as Very Good, Very Fine, Extra Fine, Almost Uncirculated, and Gem Uncirculated began to enter function among collectors as ways of more precisely describing the stipulate of a particular coin .
A Standard System
In 1948, a long-familiar numismatist, Dr. William Sheldon, attempted to standardize coin grading with a 1 to 70 grading scale. The Sheldon Scale, as it became known, serves as the basis for today ’ s professional mint grading services. The master scale is included below .
Original Sheldon Scale
In the 1970 ’ s, the American Numismatic Association adopted a modified translation of the Sheldon Scale that is included below .
Never Abbr. clear adequate to identify, date may be worn fluent with one side of the coin blanked. Coins that are very ill corroded may besides fall under this class. 2
Never Abbr. Some contingent shows 3 – 3.5
About Good, Almost Good
AG clear lettering although identical heavily worn. The date and design may be worn smooth. 4
G4 Rims of the coin are slenderly wear, design is visible, but faint in areas, with many parts of the coin wear flatcar. peripheral lettering about full. 6
Choice Good G+,
G6 Rims of the coin are complete. peripheral letter is full.
Very Good VG,
VG8 Slight detail shows, with two to three letters of the word LIBERTY picture in coins with this feature. 10
Choice Very Good
VG10 slightly clearer design-features, with five or possibly six letters of the bible LIBERTY express in coins with this have. 12
F12 Some profoundly recessed areas show detail. All letter is sharp.
The letters in the news LIBERTY show completely in coins with this feature, but may be weak.
Moderate to considerable, but evening wear throughout the coin. 15
F15 slightly more detail in the deep-set areas of the coin. 20
VF20 control clothing on the higher coat features. 25
VF25 All letter and major features are sharp. Light to moderate, but evening wear is seen on the surface and high points of the coin. 30
Choice Very Fine
VF30 All letter and major features are acuate. Light, but even wear is seen on the airfoil and high points of the coin. 35
Choice Very Fine
VF35 All letter and major features are acute.
Light, but even wear is seen on the come on and high points of the coin.Traces of mint luster may show. 40
Extremely Fine/ Extra Fine Ex.
EF40 overall sharpness.
Light tire seen at the highest points of the coin .
Details of the mint are sharp .
Traces of mint shininess may show. 45
Choice Extremely Fine
EF45 Slight, overall wear is seen at the highest points of the mint ( examples being raised features ).
All the details are wide and identical crisp.
Mint luster may show merely in protected areas of the coin ’ mho surface ( such as between the star points ). 50
About Uncirculated / Almost Uncirculated
AU50 Traces of wear at the highest points of the mint.
At least half of the original batch luster remains. 55
Choice About Uncirculated
AU55 Three-fourths of the master batch shininess remains. 58
Choice About Uncirculated
AU58 about all of the original mint luster remains.
Mint State 60
MS60 unattractive, dull or bleached, mint shininess typify this coin .
There may be many big detracting contact marks ( pocket nicks ), or wrong spots, but absolutely no decipher of wear .
There could be a heavy concentration of hairlines, or unattractive large areas of scuff-marks .
Rim nicks may be present, and eye appeal is very poor .
copper coins may be black, dull and spotted. 61
Mint State 61
MS61 Mint luster may be diminished or perceptibly impaired, and the surface has clusters of small contact marks throughout .
Hairlines could be very noticeable .
Scuff-marks may show as unattractive patches on bombastic areas or major features .
little rim nicks, striking or planchet defects may show, and the quality may be perceptibly poor people. Eye entreaty is unattractive .
copper pieces will be broadly dull, darkness and possibly spotted. 63
Mint State 63
MS63 Mint shininess may be slenderly impaired .
numerous small contact marks, and a few scattered, fleshy marks may be seen .
modest hairlines are visible without enlargement .
respective detracting scuff marks or defects may be give throughout the design or in the fields .
The general quality is average, but overall, the coin is preferably attractive .
copper pieces may be darkened or dull. 64
Mint State 64
MS64 Coin has good, overall average luster and even strike for the type .
respective little touch marks in groups, ampere well as one or two reasonably heavy marks may be give .
One or two little patches of hairlines may show under low, ( 3-4x ) magnification .
noticeable, light, scuff marks or defects may be seen within the design or in the field .
attractive overall quality with a pleasing eye appeal .
copper coins may be slenderly dull. 65
Mint State 65
MS65 Coin shows an attractive high gear quality of luster and strickle for the date and originating mint .
A few, humble, confused, contact marks, or two larger marks may be present, and one or two small patches of hairlines may show under ( 5x+ ) magnification .
detectable, light, scuff marks may show on the highest points of the purpose features .
overall quality is above average and eye appeal is very please .
copper coins have full luster with original or darkened color. 66
Mint State 66
MS66 Coin has above average quality of affect and full moon original mint luster, with no more than two or three minor, but noticeable, liaison marks .
A few very light hairlines may show under ( 6x+ ) enlargement, or there may be one or two light, scuff marks showing on frosted surfaces or in the field .
The eye appeal must be above average and very pleasing for the date and originating mint .
copper coins display full original or lightly toned color. 67
Mint State 67
MS67 Coin has a abrupt hit with wax, master shininess, May have three or four very small reach marks and a unmarried, more noticeable, but not detracting tag .
On comparable coins, one or two modest individual hairlines may show under ( 6x+ ) enlargement, or one or two partially shroud scuff marks or flaws may be portray .
Eye invoke is exceptional .
copper coins have bright original color. 68
Mint State 68
MS68 Coin has a shrill strike with full original luster, with no more than four, lightly-scattered, contact marks or flaws .
No hairlines or mule marks show. Copper coins have bright original coloring material .
Eye appeal is especial. 69
Mint State 69
MS69 Coin has a sharp strike with full moon original luster, with no more than two little non-detracting contact marks or flaws .
No hairlines or scuff marks are visible .
Eye appeal is exceeding. 70
Mint State 70
MS70 The perfect coin, as minted. It has no trace of wear, handling, scratches or contact with other coins from a ( 5x ) enlargement .
Coins in this mark are about non-existent in older coins with very few examples known .
copper coins are bright with full original discolor and luster .
Eye appeal is especial.