Coin Grading Scale
January 22, 2015
If you are interested in getting into numismatics, it is important for you to understand the scale on which all coins are graded. Getting a coin graded is a great way to determine the actual value of the coin and is very important to all coin collectors.
Here is a outline of the basic elements of coin grading for both mint state coins and circulated coins:
Mint State Coins
– Surface Preservation (marks): Largely a result of the type of handling the coin receives after being struck.
Some surface preservation issues include bagmarks, small scratches, gouges, scrapes, cabinet friction from storage in older coin cabinets, slide friction from albums or flips, roll friction, or hairlines from being wiped.
– Strike: The way a coin is struck can be weak or incomplete due to several factors such as: worn dies, inadequate striking pressure from the coin press, improper spacing of the dies, or slight irregularities in the blank.
Note: as a rule, usually hard metals such as nickel will have more issues than soft metals like gold.
– Luster: is the reflectivity of a given coin caused by the manner in which light reflects off of the flow or stress lines of the coin.
– Eye Appeal: (most often manifested in the toning of color of the coin) is the most subjective of all of the areas of grading uncirculated coins
– Wear: graded by presence or absence of design elements
– Eye Appeal: how well the coin looks to the naked eye
Here is the grading scale that is universally accepted in the entire numismatic community:
MS 60-70 Uncirculated
AU 50, 53, 55, 58 About Uncirculated
XF 40, 45 Extremely Fine
VF 20, 25, 30, 35 Very Fine
F 12, 15 Fine
VG 6, 10 Very Good
G 4, 6 Good
AG 3 About Good
FA 2 Fair
PR 1 Poor
Getting your coins graded by third party grading companies like NGC or PCGS is a great way to solidify the exact value and quality of that coin. By getting a coin graded, it can take a coin worth its market value in gold or silver and raise it to something much more valuable.
Hopefully this helps anybody that is wanting to learn more about numismatics and coin grading itself. Happy Hunting!