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Coin Grading

Grade describes the condition of wear of a coin and the effect of contact marks. The following definitions are the accepted grading standards, approved and described by the American Numismatic Association in their publication, “Official A.N.A. Grading Standards for United States Coins”.

Mint State (MS) and Uncirculated (UNC) – are used interchangeably to describe coins showing no trace of wear. Such coins may vary to some degree because of blemishes, toning, or contact marks.

MS-70 Perfect Uncirculated – A flawless coin and finest quality possible with no trace of wear and no contact marks. Extremely rare condition in coins prior to 1950

MS-65 Gem Uncirculated – An above average uncirculated coin with a sharp strike which may be brilliant or lightly toned, with very few contact marks or blemishes and minimal distractions in the field or on main devices.

MS-63 – is an average uncirculated coin with a minimal amount of marks and may show some lite weakness in strike.

MS-60 Uncirculated. A Mint state coin that may lack in brilliance, weakness in strike or has has numerous bagmarks or blemishes.

AU-58 Very Choice About Uncirculated – Very light trace of wear may be seen on one or more of the height points of the design. No major detracting contact marks will be present and the coin will have attractive eye appeal and nearly full luster, often with the appearance of a higher grade.

AU-55 Choice About Uncirculated – only small traces of wear are visible on the highest points of the coin.

AU-50 About Uncirculated – shows traces of wear on all of the highest areas. At least half of the original mint luster is present.

EF-45 Choice Extremely Fine – light overall wear shows on highest points. All design details are very sharp. Mint luster is evident in protected areas of the coin surface.

EF-40 Extremely Fine – design is lightly worn throughout, but all features are sharp and well defined. Traces of luster may show.

VF-30 Choice Very Fine – light even wear on the surface and highest points of the design. All lettering and major features are sharp.

VF-20 Very Fine – same as Choice Very Fine, but with moderate wear on the higher points.

F-12 Fine – moderate to considerable even wear. Entire design is bold and ALL lettering is visible, but with some weakness.

VG-8 Very Good – well worn with major features clear and bold yet rather flat. Some center detail is missing.

G-4 Good – heavily worn with designs visible but faint in areas. Many details are flat.

AG-3 About Good – very heavily worn with portions of lettering, date and legends worn smooth. The date may be barely readable.

Proof – Generally a mirrored finish coin, struck on a specially prepared polished die, distinguished by sharpness of detail. Proof refers to the method of manufacture and is not a condition.

Proof Sets – are sets of specific proof coins issued by the Mint. Modern proof sets usually contain one coin of each denomination from the Mint that issued proof coinage that year.

Prestige Proof Sets – have been issued in this country since 1983 and usually contain a Proof Set and a commemorative Dollar of the same year. They come in very special packaging.

Official Mint Sets – are specially packaged by the government for sale to the public. Mint Sets include an uncirculated specimen of each denomination of coin and mintmark issued for a particular year.

GRADING SERVICES

PCGS – Professional Coin Grading Service is the world’s largest third-party grading service for coins, tokens and medals. It authenticates, grades, attributes and encapsulates those items.

NGC – Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, also one of the world’s largest and trusted third-party grading service for coins, tokens and medals, uses the internationally accepted Sheldon grading scale of 1 to 70.