This collectible coin grading scale will give you a better understanding of how the scale works so that you can do a better job properly identifying coin values.
I put this guide together to explain exactly how the collectible coin grading scale works, so that you can identify coins on your own. We will talk about the 70 point scale and how it relates to the actual condition of collectible coins.
Before we get started, take a close look at the coin grading scale above. By the way, you can click on the graph for a larger, more detailed image. It may not make sense now, but as you read through this article, the information will come together. When you’re finished reading the article, come back here and click on the graph again. When you finish reading this article, you’ll find this image to be a great graphical representation of the coin grading scale. All right, are you ready to learn how the scale works? Great! Let’s get started.
How the Coin Grading Scale Works
Just about everyone uses the 70 point scale nowadays. This scale was introduced back in the 1940s and is the staple today. All worthy professional coin grading services use this scale. The use of the same guidelines is what makes it easier to identify and know what you’re buying or selling as a coin collector.
I’ll start with the best condition and work my way down from there. I’ll provide the grade and description. I’ll also let you know the prefix and numerical grade used with that prefix.
Mint State Coins
Mint State (MS) coins are also referred to as uncirculated coins. These coins show virtually no trace of imperfections or wear. The highest of these would be MS70, which is a coin that looks as though it came straight from the mint. At the bottom of MS coins would be the MS60. These will have some contact marks, minor blemishes, or may be spotted. However, these coins still don’t show signs of wear.
- MS70 (Best Condition)
About Uncirculated Coins
About Uncirculated (AU) coins range from AU50 to AU58. These coins may also show evidence of friction and wear, but still have about half of its original luster.
Extremely Fine Coins
Extremely Fine (EF) coins are starting to show some of the wear more so and have minimal luster. You’ll find that the features are still in extremely fine condition (hence the name).
Very Fine Coins
Very Fine (VF) coins show moderate wear but the features are still clear.
Fine (F) coins are starting to show more wear. They have an overall clear but dull look to the design of the coin.
Very Good Coins
Very Good (VG) coins are pretty worn out. The features are still clear but pretty dull overall.
Good (G) coins are pretty worn out. I don’t know why they are called good, because they’re really not that good. The design is still recognizable but definitely flat and worn out.
About Good, Fair and Poor coins
About Good (AG), Fair (F), and Poor (P) coins are extremely worn and in bad condition. In the case of Poor coins, the coins may be hardly recognizable. As a collector, these are definitely not the types of coins you are looking for unless they are very old and a better alternative is not available.
Collectors Should Focus on Mint State (MS) Coins
As a collector, you should always look to acquire mint state coins whenever possible. These coins typically increase in value better than others. Not to mention, they are a much more enjoyable coin to look at in your collection.
I hope this has been helpful. Be sure to let me know if you have any questions at all! Also, don’t forget to scroll up to view the coin grading scale graph again, now that you have a good understanding of how everything works.