US Grading Terms

Sheldon System

The US uses a system much different to the Australian way of grading
The system is based upon that created by Dr. William H. Sheldon in 1949 for use in his book Early American Cents. The Sheldon scale is a combination of numbers and letters and was originally intended to be part of a formula for determining market prices
Important steps in the Sheldon numerical system, as it is used today, are these:

Grade Description

PO-1 Identifiable date and type
FR-2 Mostly worn, though some detail is visible
AG-3 Worn rims but most lettering is readable though worn
G-4 Slightly worn rims, flat detail, peripheral lettering nearly full
G-6 Rims complete with flat detail, peripheral lettering full
VG-8 Design worn with slight detail
VG-10 Design worn with slight detail, slightly clearer
F-12 Some deeply recessed areas with detail, all lettering sharp
F-15 Slightly more detail in the recessed areas, all lettering sharp
VF-20 Some definition of detail, all lettering full and sharp
VF-25 Slightly more definition in the detail and lettering
VF-30 Almost complete detail with flat areas
VF-35 Detail is complete but worn with high points flat
EF-40 Detail is complete with most high points slightly flat
EF-45 Detail is complete with some high points flat
AU-50 Full detail with friction over most of the surface, slight flatness on high points
AU-53 Full detail with friction over 1/2 or more of surface, very slight flatness on high points
AU-55 Full detail with friction on less than 1/2 surface, mainly on high points
AU-58 Full detail with only slight friction on the high points
MS/PR-60 No wear. May have many heavy marks/hairlines, strike may not be full
MS/PR-61 No wear. Multiple heavy marks/hairlines, strike may not be full
MS/PR-62 No wear. Slightly less marks/hairlines, strike may not be full
MS/PR-63 Moderate number/size marks/hairlines, strike may not be full
MS/PR-64 Few marks/hairlines or a couple of severe ones, strike should be average or above
MS/PR-65 Minor marks/hairlines though none in focal areas, above average strike
MS/PR-66 Few minor marks/hairlines not in focal areas, good strike
MS/PR-67 Virtually as struck with minor imperfections, very well struck
MS/PR-68 Virtually as struck with slight imperfections, slightest weakness of strike allowed
MS/PR-69 Virtually as struck with minuscule imperfections, near full strike necessary
MS/PR-70 As struck, with full strike
GV Government issue price
Proofs are graded the same as Mint State coins, 60 through 70, and are as follows: Proof-60, Proof-61, etc. An impaired or rubbed Proof can be assigned a lower grade, such as Proof-50 or Proof-58.





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