Coin Conditions


When coin collecting, it’s essential to understand how the condition affects the overall worth of the coin. Each and every coin is evaluated based on many different factors. Let’s go over them so that you have a good idea of what to look for when bargaining for a coin to add to your collection.

Each of your coins should be graded, and this is something you can do at home for your entertainment but will need to have professionally done if you plan to sell your collection. There are 16 levels to the grading, ranging from poor to mint state perfect with number grades of one to seventy. The number signifies the suspected worth in comparison to other coins. For instance, a score of 20 will be worth 20 times more than a score of 1. However, keep in mind that when collecting, the value of a coin is based upon the monetary worth of the coin itself unless it’s highly sought after. A penny with a score of 30 will still only be worth a single cent if it’s not considered rare or coveted.

Poor coins, rated as P-1, have facades heavily impacted by circulation. Slightly better is the fair and about good, FR-2 and AG-3, both of which are still extremely worn down but recognizable. The more details you can see, the higher the rating. Once you get into the good and good-plus range, G4-6, you’ll clearly see the outline of the bust and partial parts of the rim, but the main details are faint. It’s not until you get into the very good grade, VG-8, that you’ll be able to read the country of origin and designation of the coin.

The fine grades range from F-12 to XF-45. You’re looking at fine, very fine, good very fine, extremely fine, and choice extremely fine. This starts at moderately worn and works up to clearly legible details. Each one, however, has a distinct country of origin listed and a motto that can be read. The more wear on the high points, the less fine the coin is considered. If there is very little wear and everything is visible, it’s considered choice extremely fine.

Beyond the fine category comes the about circulated and mint. The about circulated are the AU 50-58 and are either uncirculated but still a bit worn or circulated very briefly. They show minimal wear throughout, and the luster has a heavy impact on the scale. The shinier the coin, the higher the AU grading. The mint condition coins, mint state basal, and mint state perfect are MS-60 and MS-70, respectively. They comprise the highest grade. They show zero wear of circulation and must be studied under a microscope to distinguish whether hairlines impact the quality.

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