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Collectors Grading Scale Authorized By The ANA

Jun 19, 2008
Coins in the United States are often graded using a scale that has been created by the American Numismatic Association, which is a non-profit organization that was created in 1891 and then chartered by the United States Congress in 1912.

A proof coin is distinguished by its sharp detail and brilliant mirror-like surface. Also a proof is not necessarily a condition, but instead it is the method of manufacturing, simply implying perfect mint state. Uncirculated coins are struck like circulating coins with no greater force, different dies, special cleaning after stamping, and Mylar packaging, but they may vary in some degree due to blemishes, toning, or slight imperfections.

Perfect Uncirculated (MS-70) are coins in perfectly new condition that show absolutely no trace of wear or any evidence of scratches, due to the fact that they have not had any contact with other coins and have been handled properly. They are of the finest quality possible and very few of these regularly issue coins have ever been found in this condition.

Choice Uncirculated (MS-65) are coins that are above average that may be brilliantly or lightly toned, with only a few contact marks on the surface or rim. Grades MS-67 through MS-62 indicate that the coins have a slightly higher or lower grade of preservation. Uncirculated (MS-60) are coins having no trace of wear, but showing a number of contact marks and the surface might be spotted or lacking in some luster.

Choice About Uncirculated (AU-55) is a grade of coins showing barely any evidence of wear on the highest points of the designs on the coin, with the majority of the mint luster remaining. About Uncirculated (AU-50) this grade has traces of light wear on many of the high points and at least half of the luster from the mint is still evidently present on the coins.

Choice Extremely Fine (EF-45) grade still shows light on the overall wear on the highest points and each of the design details are still very sharp with some of the mint luster still being evident on the coin. Extremely Fine (EF-40) is a grade of coin that is lightly worn throughout the design, but all features remain sharp and still well defined, while traces of luster continue to show.

Choice Very Fine (VF-30) grade has light even when there is wear on the surface and the highest parts of the design, while all of the lettering and major features remain sharp on the coin. Very Fine (VF-20) grade coins show a moderate amount of wear on the high points of the design, but all major details are clear. Fine (F-12) grade continues to show moderate to considerable even wear throughout the coin and the entire design is bold with an overall pleasing appearance.

Very Good (VG-8) coin grade is well worn with the main features clear and bold although rather flat. Good (G-4) grade coins are heavily worn with the design visible, but faint only in areas and contain many flat details. Collectors do not desire coins that are rated under this grade, but rare and valuable coins in this condition are often saved when there are no others available. About Good (AG-3) is the lowest grade and is a coin that is very heavily worn with portions of lettering, date, and legends worn almost smooth, and at times, the dates may barely be readable.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant about rare coins, stamp collections, and rare collectibles. Follow these links to find the best marketplace for: rare coins, stamps, and collectibles.
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