How Does Coin Grading Work?


Starting a coin collection is relatively easy, but recognizing its (coins’) value is rather difficult. Not many people have adequate knowledge of coin grading, something that’s fundamental for a valuable collection. If you happen to be one of them, here is a brief explanation of coin grading:

Coin grading is basically the process of examining the condition of a coin and then grading it accordingly. The lowest grade that a coin can get is 1. Similarly, the highest grade that can be given to coins is 70. There are a number of agencies in the US that render coin grading services. However not all of them are reliable and standardized. So if you plan on approaching a coin grading company, make sure to conduct adequate research first.

That being said, here are some important points that you need to know about the “70-Point Coin Grading Scale”:

70-Point Grading Scale

First and foremost, the coins are given a particular number (that represents its value) on the Sheldon Scale when graded. Moreover, coins are graded at key spots, some of which are given below:

(P-1) Poor

The first grade is P-1. As the name suggest, the coin will be in a terrible and unrecognizable condition. The date may scarcely be visible, if not gone altogether. As mentioned earlier, this is the lowest grade that coins can possible get.

(FR-2) Fair

Here the coin is assigned a numeric value of 2. The images on the sides should be adequately visible. Plus the date should be noticeable enough to be read.

(G-4 to 6) Good

Coins with a value of four are considered to be in a good condition. However, the details (inscriptions) may seem a bit vague. Moreover, it rims will be undamaged.

(VG-7 to 10) Very Good

Numeric values ranging from 7 to 10 are assigned to coins that appear to be in a very good condition. Here all the details of the coin will be quite visible, with negligible faint.

(F-11 to 19) Fine

Coins that fall under this grade are generally quite worn out. However, the details are bold and visible.

(VF-20 to 38) Very Fine

As the name suggests, these coins are lightweight, with all the basic elements clearly noticeable. Plus, they are quite clean appearance-wise.

(EF-39 to 40) Extremely Fine

This rating is given to coins that have minimum wear & tear, and be very light. Moreover, all its key elements will be quite bold.

(AU-50) About Uncirculated

These coins will probably have over 90% of its design remaining and will give a reasonable amount of shine as well. Moreover, they will be exceedingly lightweight.

(60 to 65) Mint State

Coins with the mint state grading generally have 100% of their design intact, with sufficient luster. Furthermore, they are strictly uncirculated.

(70) Perfect Uncirculated

Perfect Uncirculated grading is the highest possible grade a coin can get. The coin appears in an impeccable condition, with seemingly no wears or damage, which is a reason why it’s so costly.

Understanding the coin grading scale is a must for every coin collector. There’s a lot to remember but these simple grade definitions will help you build an exquisite coin collection, easily.

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