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Sheldon Coin Grading Scale

The Sheldon Coin Grading Scale is an 70-point coin grading scale accepted internationally for evaluating coin’s condition and quality. Sheldon Coin Grading Scale was developed by Dr. William Herbert Sheldon in 1948 in order to grade large U.S. cents. Sheldon Coin Grading Scale was modified in the 1970s to account for a wider range of coins.

The Sheldon Coin Grading Scale goes from 1 to 70. The higher the grade of the coin, the better the condition of the coin (and the higher the price).

Original Sheldon Scale (1948)

In 1948, the original Sheldon Scale was presented by William H. Sheldon for grading large cents but didn’t include enough detail in application for widespread use.

#Grade
1Basal State-1
2Fair
3Very Fair
4, 5, 6Good
7, 8, 10Very Good
12, 15Fine
20, 30Very Fine
40Extremely Fine
50About Uncirculated
60Mint State
65Mint State
70Mint State

Adapted Scale (1970–Present)

Slightly modified grading standards was added in 1970, most common coin grades are as follows:

Circulated grades
#GradeCodesDescription
1PoorPOCoin should be identifiable as to type, date and mintmark.
2FairFRCoin is worn flat, with only traces of lettering visible in coin.
3About GoodAGRims worn into lettering but most lettering remains readable in coin.
4GoodG, G4Rims mostly full but may be flat or slightly worn into top letter in spots.
6Choice GoodG+, G6Rims and top lettering full but design flat and visible only in outline form.
8Very GoodVG, VG8Most central detail worn flat.  Some inner lettering in coin still visible.  Rims remain full.
10Choice Very GoodVG+, VG10Considerable wear flattened most of the fine detail in coin.  Most lettering remains readable.
12FineF, F12About half of detail in coin worn flat.  All lettering remains visible.
15Choice FineF+, F15Slightly more detail visible in the recessed areas of the coin.
20Very FineVF, VF20Moderate wear on the higher surface features of the coin.
25Very FineVF25Entire coin surface shows some wear, but major design features remain clear and visible.
30Choice Very FineCh.VF, VF+, VF30Wear now evident over entire surface of the coin. Intricate detail beginning to flatten.
35Choice Very FineCh. VF, VF+, VF35Light wear is seen over entire surface of the coin, though all major detail still visible.
40Extremely FineEx. Fine, EF40All design elements still visible, high points now worn flat. Little to no luster remains on the coin.
45Choice Extremely FineCh. Ex. Fine, EF45High points of design show light wear on the coin. Luster may still be visible in few areas.
50About UncirculatedAU, AU50Small traces of wear at the highest points of the coin. Half of the original mint luster remains.
55Choice About UncirculatedCh. AU, AU55Three-fourths of the original mint luster remains on the coin.
58Choice About UncirculatedCh. AU, AU58Almost all of the original mint luster remains on the coin.
Uncirculated Grades
#GradeCodesDescription
60Mint State 60MS60No wear on coin.  poorly struck with many heavy marks or hairlines.
61Mint State 61MS61No wear on coin, with average or weak strike.  Heavy marks or hairlines allowed.
62Mint State 62MS62No wear on coin, with average or below average strike.  Numerous marks or hairlines.
63Mint State 63MS63Average or slightly weak strike with moderate marks or hairlines on coin.
64Mint State 64MS64Average or better strike with scattered marks or hairlines, though none severe on coin.
65Mint State 65MS65Above average strike with minor marks or hairlines, mostly out of focal areas.
66Mint State 66MS66Well struck with a few marks or hairlines, not in focal areas on coin.
67Mint State 67MS67Very well struck with minor imperfections visible without magnification.
68Mint State 68MS68Only the slightest weakness in strike with a few tiny imperfections barely visible.
69Mint State 69MS69Fully struck with miniscule imperfections visible upon close inspection.
70Mint State 70MS70Fully struck and lustrous, free of visual marks.

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