Coin Grades
 
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Types of Coins

Coins are generally described as one of the following types:
Proof

Is a special coin minted for collectors.  It is distinguished by its sharpness of detail and a brilliant mirror like finish.  Often a special planchet or blank is used, some made of precious metal.  The US Mint strikes these coins using special presses with more pressure and care in handling to insure a superior looking coin.  They are generally specially packaged and sold at a premium. 

Proof refers to the method of manufacturing and not the condition.  They are graded the same as any other coin.  Most will grade at "Choice Uncirculated" MS-65 to MS-67 but can be rated higher or lower depending on the general appearance and condition.  MS-70 is the top of the heap with no discernable flaws; but even with proofs, this rating is rare.

Uncirculated

A coin minted for general circulation that shows no evidence of ever been in circulation. Uncirculated coins come directly from the mint in rolls or bags. When placed into rolls by a bank for distribution, they are often referred to as "Bank Rolls".  Generally they are graded as MS-60 but can be higher or lower depending on their condition.  Uncirculated coins are also referred to as "Mint State" coins, meaning in the same state as when they were minted. 

Circulated

A coin released for general circulation that shows some evidence of handling or wear.  Circulated coins are found as pocket change in the general population. Generally they are graded as MS-55 for bright new coins but can be slightly higher or much lower depending on their condition. 

 

Grading Coins

The following table follows the grading system set up by the American Numismatic Association (ANA).  Coins that fall between two grades are generally graded higher than the lower grade.  For example with old Lincoln Wheat cents I generally grade the penny a G-4 if the ear is worn away, G-5 if some of the ear is visible, VG-8 if some details are present in the hair and shoulders and F-12 if the hair and shoulder details are well worn but clearly identifiable.
 
Grade
Abbreviation
Description
Poor
PO-1
Barley identifiable date with a very heavily worn design and lettering some of which will probably be missing.
Fair
FR-2
Mostly worn flat with most of the design and lettering visible including the date.
About Good
AG-3
Very heavily worn with all of the design and lettering visible but faint.  
Good
G-4
Heavily worn with bold but flat design and lettering.  Most of the details are worn away. 
Very Good
VG-8
Design is well worn with main features clear and bold although flat.  Some of the details can be seen. 
Fine
F-12
Moderate to considerable even wear on high points with clear but worn details. 
Very Fine
VF-20
Moderate wear on high points of design.  All major details are clear although worn.
Choice Very Fine
VF-30
Light even wear on high points of design.  All major details are sharp.  No mint luster remains.
Extra Fine
EF-40
Design is lightly worn on the highest points with sharp details. Some of the mint luster may remain.
Choice Extra Fine
EF-45
Design is lightly worn on the highest points with sharp details. A trace of the mint luster will remain.
About
Uncirculated
AU-50
Has traces of light wear with full detail over most of the surface.  At least half of the mint luster will remain.
Choice About
Uncirculated
AU-55
Almost no wear with sharp features.  May have contact marks and the surface may be spotted.  Most of the mint luster remains.
Mint State
Uncirculated
MS-60
No wear. May have contact marks and the surface may be spotted or the luster may be dull.  
Mint State
Choice Uncirculated
MS-65
Above average uncirculated coin with few contact marks on the surface or rim with good mint luster.
Mint State
Perfect Uncirculated
MS-70
Perfect new condition minted with a full strike.  No trace of wear, contact marks, spotting or handling.  Full mint luster.   Few coins including proofs meet this requirement.
 
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For more Information on Coins,
visit the following web sites:

Do you have an Unusual or Valuable coin?
Click to go to The what's my coin worth site.
Find out what your coin is worth!  Visit the What's it Worth site.  It will tell you how to establish the value of your coin.
 
Lincoln Cents for Sale or Trade
Click to go to The Penney Trader's site.
Visit The Penny Trader Web Site.  It has a large selection of Lincoln Wheat, Memorial and Bicentennial Cents from the Philadelphia (no mint mark), Denver (D) and San Francisco (S) mints from 1909 to the current date.  

50 State Quarters for Sale or Trade
Click to go to The State Quarters' site.
Visit the 50 State Quarters web site to buy or trade quarters.  These brilliant uncirculated 50 State Quarters are purchased directly from the Philadelphia (P) and Denver (D) Mints.  Bright and shiny Circulated quarters are also available for sale or trade.
 
All of the coins are carefully packaged and 
sent to you via First Class Mail.


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