Coin grading has evolved over time and
originated from the Shelton grading scale
proposed during the past century.
The American Numismatic Association (ANA)
adopted this scale in the 1970's.
Since then it has become well accepted and
is currently used by most US coin dealers.
ANA Coin Grading Standards
The ANA grading scale goes from a grade of 1 to a grade of 70,
with 70 being a perfect a coin, as you can get, and 1 being about the
worst coin you could find.
The initials MS in front of the grade, stand for mint state.
Example - a MS60 would be a mint state, or uncirculated coin,
that is less than perfect. A PR69 would be an almost perfect proof
condition coin (PR stands for proof).
The Grading Scale
Here is a summary of the ANA grading standards.
For detailed illustrations and more information see the
Official ANA Grading Standards for United States Coins book, or the
Assistant software book.
A special struck coin normally made by the mint for collectors.
Proof coins show an extra sharpness of detail that comes about because
of the minting process and special dies that are used during minting.
Proofs usually have a mirror like surface or back ground. Proof
coins are uncirculated when they are released, but can grade below PR60
if mishandled or improperly stored after minting. The attribute PR
or PF is an abbreviation for proof. For more information on the
between a proof and uncirculated coin, see this
Uncirculated (MS, or mint state) -
Uncirculated coins are minted for circulation or special collector sets
and have not received wear. Like the proof coins above an
uncirculated coin may grade from a MS60 to MS70 depending on blemishes,
toning or slight imperfections such as minor marks received during the
minting process. Some uncirculated coins are made with special enhanced
coin dies to give them extra details. Note: Grades listed
below are not all inclusive. Example, even though not listed the
grading scale includes MS69, MS68, MS67, MS66, etc.
MS70 (or PR70) - MS70 is about as
perfect a coin as you can get. It is of finest possible
quality, showing no trace of wear, scratches, handling or marks from
coming in contact with other coins. MS70 coins are very scarce in older
years, with some years or mint marks being non-existent.
MS65 (PR65) - An Uncirculated coin with
above average brilliance and features. It may show light toning,
or a few minor contact marks on the surface and rim, due to coming in
contact with other coins during the minting process.
MS60 (PR60) - A MS60 coin is still
uncirculated and may show a good number of bag marks (contact marks) as
well as surface spotting, or lack of mint luster. A coin of MS59
or below is not considered uncirculated (mint condition).
AU55- About Uncirculated or Almost
Uncirculated - An AU coin will have only light wear on the
highest parts of the coin design. Often will still show the mint luster
or frosted surface of an uncirculated coin.
AU50 - About Uncirculated or Almost Uncirculated
- Has light wear on some of the highest points, however a little
more than an AU 55 will exhibit. Some of the mint luster will be
EF-45 (Extremely Fine or Extra fine) - Minor wear on highest features.
Design details remain very sharp. EF40 may show slightly more wear on
the high features.
VF-30 Very Fine - Even wear on the background and and higher parts of
the design. All lettering remains and and major feature details are
still somewhat sharp. A VF20 shows slightly more wear.
F12 - Fine - A Fine condition coin shows a fair amount of
throughout the coins surface. Fine details may be worn, however
the overall design is still pleasing.
VG-8 Very Good - A Very good coin will have missing minor features and a
somewhat flat surface. It is well worn, but still readable and
G-4 Good - Some might say a "good " condition coin is not so good.
It will be heavily worn with the overall design visible but faint in
AG-3 About Good - an AG coin is very worn with parts of the lettering or
date worn smooth. Sometime AG coins will have barely readable dates.
For more details on coin grading see the books Photograde or
the Official ANA Grading Standards for United States Coins, or
Grading Assistant software book.
Other recommended coin sites:
Certified gold and silver US Coins for sale
Free GOLD and SILVER
Price Information - Website that shows daily market prices for
precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium.
- information and articles about US gold eagle coins.
One ounce Gold Coins and
Bars - website devoted to one oz. gold - gold bars and coins from
all nations, as well as information and articles about them.
Read more articles and locate information about
US Mint coins and
Coin - The American Eagle Coin - issued in 1986 in both silver
gold - find out about the history of these beautiful coins.
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