Good (G) - Coin will be heavily worn,
but the main design and legend will be visible. Lettering may be worn
smooth. May be dull or faded areas.
Very Good (VG) - Still well worn but
more of the rim will be evident. Design and legend will be clear but
worn flat. Lacks specific details.
Fine (F) - Medium to heavy wear but even
overall. The design becomes clearer and details begin to appear. Some
letters within the design will be apparent.
Very Fine (VF) - A visibly nicer coin.
High spots will show light, even wear. Various major features are visible.
Lettering is all readable.
Extra Fine (XF) or (EF)- Slight wear
will show on the highest points of the main devices. Words are sharp
and easily readable. All details are clearly defined.
AU 50 - Slight traces of wear on the
highest points of the coin; may be dull with some evidence of luster
under any toning.
AU 53 - Just slightly better than an
AU 50 with a little more luster visible. Eye appeal begins to make a
difference between the AU grades.
AU 55 - An obviously nicer coin than
an AU 50 with no major difficulties. More luster shines through the
AU 58 - This is oftentimes called a slider
as it will appear to many observers to be uncirculated. Just the faintest
wear on the highest points of the coin. Luster should be quite evident,
although some toning can be apparent. Usually coins with poor eye appeal
will not make the AU 58 grade.
MS 60 - Mint State indicates a coin that
has no wear and is uncirculated. It may have numerous bag marks and/or
be toned. MS 60 is the lowest quality of an uncirculated coin.
MS 61 - An uncirculated coin that is
just slightly better than MS 60. However, no question that it is uncirculated.
Whereas, some may debate over the merits of a coin being MS60 because
of the excessive bag marks, the MS61 should be more desirable.
MS 62 - This coin should be a much cleaner
specimen than an MS 60, yet, just slightly better than an MS 61. There
should be fewer bag marks as the coin takes on more attractive features.
MS 63 - This is the grade that many collectors
feel is the most collectible in numismatics. Prices are typically reasonable
compared to higher grades and the coin should have at least an average
strike and eye appeal, with minimal distracting marks.
MS 64 - This is the grade where prices
in many series begin to increase dramatically. For this reason the coin
will begin to show fewer marks and the strike will be the strongest
yet. No primary distractions that will draw your eye. A near-gem coin
with just a few tiny marks or weakness in strike to keep it from a higher
MS 65 - This is the gem category. Coin
should be fully struck with eye appeal. Either brilliant or toned but
there should not be any unsightly marks or color that negates eye appeal.
Any marks should be very minor in appearance. Prices spread out even
MS 66 - A coin that just jumps out at
you as being nicer than an MS 65. The main devices on either side should
have no more than very minor ticks and the fields should be cleaner
than that of an MS 65.
MS 67 - A superior coin that has no major
distractions to speak of. The fields should be near flawless with just
the slightest contact on the main device. This coin should emit a look
of satisfaction from the viewer. Prices increase further especially
for coins with short supplies and strong demand.
MS 68 - A difficult grade to determine
by most experts. When does a coin become MS 68 but is not quite MS69
or 70? A very superior coin with maybe just a minor tick on either side
keeping it from perfection.
MS 69 - This is a coin that should create
a gasp when viewed. There should be no imperfections to the naked eye.
With a magnifying glass a minor mark or impediment may be visible.
MS 70 - A perfect coin with no imperfections
seen with a magnifying glass. There should be no marks whatsoever; the
coin must look like it just left the Mint. Very unusual in early coins
as the mint did not have the quality they do today. Modern coins have
been given this exalted grade although there is debate whether coins
can be perfect.