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Comparative Grading Chart

Benchmark Adjectival NGC PCGS Descriptions *
VG8 Very Good F12 F12 The coin design is flat although fully recognisable but with little fine detail remaining.
F15 good Fine VF20 VF20 There is more depth to the coin design with some fine features showing, especially incised detail.
VF30 good Very Fine EF40 EF40 Most of the fine detail of the coin design is apparent but the high-points will be flat.
EF45 good Extremely Fine AU50 AU50 Slight flatness on the high-points of the coin.
AU53 about Uncirculated AU55 AU55 Slight wear on the high-points of the coin which is apparent without the aid of magnification.
AU58 ** virtually Uncirculated AU58 AU58 Slight wear on the high-points of the coin which become apparent with the aid of magnification.
MS60 *** Uncirculated AU58-MS60 AU58-MS60 No wear, but the coin will have a combination of scuff marks, heavy cuts, rim nicks and naturally occurring hairline scratches.
MS61 *** Uncirculated MS60-MS61 MS60-MS61 No wear, but the coin will have noticeably fewer of the scuff marks, heavy cuts, rim nicks and naturally occurring hairlines.
MS62 Uncirculated MS61-MS62 MS61-MS62 The coin will have a few detracting marks particularly in the fields or a combination of a few minor marks such as small cuts, light scuffs or naturally occurring hairlines.
MS63 Choice Uncirculated MS62-MS63 MS62-MS63 The coin will have only a couple of detracting marks or a combination of a few minor marks such as small cuts, light scuffs or naturally occurring hairlines. These are sometimes obscured by the design.
MS64 near Gem MS63-MS64 MS63-MS64 On close examination, the coin will have a few minor marks in combination such as small cuts, light scuffs or naturally occurring hairlines.
MS65 near Gem MS64-MS65 MS64-MS65 On close examination, the coin will have a few obscure marks in combination such as minor cuts, light scuffs or naturally occurring hairlines.
MS66 Gem MS65-MS66 MS65-MS66 The coin appears near perfect and will reveal only a few minute marks or naturally occurring hairlines under magnification.
MS67 Gem MS66-MS67 MS66-MS67 The coin appears near perfect and will reveal only a couple of minute marks or naturally occurring hairlines under magnification.
MS68 Gem MS67-MS68 MS67-MS68 The coin is near perfect and will reveal only a couple of infinitesimal marks or naturally occurring hairlines under magnification.
* In our grading descriptions we have used the 'Oxford Dictionary' definition of 'few' ie a small number and 'couple' meaning two.
** Both NGC and PCGS have graded a disproportionate number of coins in AU58 holders. Many coins that could be considered uncirculated are found in this category e.g. Brown Uncirculated (BN) pennies of George V which are missing the tip of the moustache due to a poor strike are often found in AU58 holders.
*** The major grading services show no reluctance grading coins in the US series as MS60 and MS61 but tend to avoid these grades when certifying international coins. Many of the Australian coins in AU58 holders could possibly fall into these MS grades. Another consequence of the reticence of the services to use the MS60 and MS61 grades on international coins is the log-jam of coins found in MS62 and MS63 holders. Some of the coins graded MS62 should probably be graded MS61 while many of the coins in MS63 holders are deserving of an MS64 grade. It has been found that US coins that were graded early by the services when they were calibrating their standards can go up (or down) a point or two if they are re-submitted today. This may also prove true of Australian coins which have only been graded in numbers over the last 5 - 10 years.