In an effort to make things easy we have developed a simple but strong grading system. It is based in the European grading systems and you can see the match to them in the table bellow. We know that this is a very small subset of how coins can be graded, if you feel like you need to specify more the grade of your coin, you can always do so in the comment field. These are the coin gradings we use:
Early samples of a coin issue, historically made for checking the dies and for archival purposes, but nowadays often struck in greater numbers specially for coin collectors (numismatists). Preparation of a proof striking usually involved polishing of the dies. They can usually be distinguished from normal circulation coins by their sharper rims and design, as well as much smoother "fields" . They are usually issued directly from the Mint.
Brilliant Uncirculated (BU)
Perfect new condition, showing no trace of wear. The finest quality possible, with no evidence of scratches, handling or contact with other coins. Very few regular issue coins are ever found in this condition. Usually they need special handling from the Mint.
Has no trace of wear but may show a number of contact marks, and surface may be spotted or lack some luster.
About Uncirculated (AU)
Has traces of light wear on many of the high points. At least half of the Mint luster is still present.
Extra Fine (EF)
Design is lightly worn throughout, but all features are sharp and well defined. Traces of luster may show.
Very Fine (VF)
A moderate amount of wear is noticeable on the high points of the coin's design. All major details are clear.
The coin shows moderate to considerable even wear throughout. Entire design is bold with an overall pleasing appearance.
Very Good (VG)
Well worn with main features clear and bold although rather flat.
Heavily worn with the design visible but faint in areas. Many details are flat. The date may be barely readable. Rare or valuable coins in this condition are often saved when no others are available.
Coin gradings comparative
|CoinsCollectionMarket||Design remaining||United Kingdom||France||Spain||Italy||Germany||Scandinavia||Netherlands||Portugal||USA|
|Good||10%||G||AB (Assez Beau)||RC||M||GE (Gut erhalten)||2||G (Goed)||REG||AG-3 to G-4|
|Very Good||25%||VG||B (Beau)||BC||B (Bello)||SGE (Sehr gut erhalten)||1-||ZG (Zeer Goed)||MREG||VG-8|
|Fine||50%||F||TB (Très Beau)||BC+||MB (Molto Bello)||S (Schön)||1||Fr (Fraai)||BC||F-12|
|Very Fine||75%||VF||TTB (Très Très Beau)||MBC||BB (Bellissimo)||SS (Sehr schön)||1+||ZF (Zeer Fraai)||MBC||VF-20 to 30|
|Extra Fine||90%||EF/XF||SUP (Superbe)||EBC||SPL (Splendido)||VZ (Vorzüglich)||01||Pr. (Prachtig)||Bela||EF-40 to 45|
|About Uncirculated||95% + some luster||UNC||No use||No use||No use||UNZ− (Fast unzirkuliert)||01/0||No use||No use||AU-50 to 55|
|Uncirculated||100% + luster||UNC||SPL (Splendide)||SC||SPL/FDC||UNZ (Unzirkuliert)||0||FDC (Fleur de Coin)||Soberba||MS-60 to 65|
|Brilliant Uncirculated||100% + full luster||FDC||FDC (Fleur de Coin)||FDC||FDC (Fior di Conio)||STGL (Stempelglanz)||0||FDC||FDC (Flor de Cunho)||MS-66 to 70|
How to grade my coin
What you need
In order to perform a proper coin grading you need to have an good light source and an excellent magnifier preferably something over 5x in order to see specific details.
Determine if the coin has circulated or not. If the coin shows the slightest hints of wear then it should be considered circulated. Otherwise it should be considered unciriculated.
Select the grading
You now know if its circulated or not then you should compare your coin to the scale shown above to determine where it fits on the scale. For uncirculated coins only need to determine if it has some lack of luster or it shows a small number of contact marks then it is Uncirculated, otherwise it should be considered Brilliant Uncirculated. For the circulated coins check the descriptions above. Just take into account that the damage is not proportional; in other words, the amount of detail loss between Brilliant Uncirculated and Uncirculated is not the same as that which is lost between Good and Very Good. In fact, the coin that grades Brilliant Uncirculated and Uncirculated has lost none of its detail, but the coin that grades Good and Very has lost about 60%. Use the written descriptions to place your coin as best you can. If you want more precise grading, you can contact with professional coin grading companies.