Grading is a way of determining the physical condition of a coin. Grades range from Poor
(almost completely worn out) to Perfect Un-circulated (a coin with absolutely no
wear and no flaws of any kind).
Coins that have been properly stored since the day they were minted-- i.e., made-- are
called "un-circulated" or "mint state." If a coin saw circulation for a
short time but still looks nearly brand new, it is called (or graded) "About
Un-circulated." After that, the grades in ascending order are:
- GOOD:- Heavily
worn with design visible but faint in areas. Many details are flat.
- VERY GOOD:- Well
worn with main features clear and bold although rather flat.
- FINE:- Moderate to
considerable even wear. Entire design is bold with overall pleasing appearance.
- VERY FINE:- Shows
moderate wear on high points of design. All major details are clear.
- EXTREMELY FINE: -Design
is lightly worn throughout, but all features are sharp and well defined. Traces of luster
- ABOUT UN-CIRCULATED:- Has traces of light wear on many of the high points. At least half of the mint
luster is still present.
Un-circulated coins have different grades as well, depending on how carefully each coin
was made, handled, and stored. Some un-circulated coins have heavy marks caused by contact
with other coins during minting or storage. Other un-circulated coins are nearly free of
such marks. The coin in the best state of preservation will almost always have the