Grading coins has long been a contentious subject. Some will claim that it is down to an individual's interpretation of what grade a particlar coin should be - be wary.
In today's market where a grade can affect a coin's value by thousands of pounds a coin must be carefully qualified. There are clear guides on coin grading and whilst there may be minor differences in interpretation or opinion, one person's Fine should never be another's extremely fine. At AMR Coins we grade conservatively and use standard terms for our grading. With hammered coins in particular, factors such as the quality of strike, roundness of flan and flan defects must also be taken into account and these will be properly described. As an brief guide, grading terms are outlined below:
Flawless, a term generally only applied to 'Proof' coins.
Uncirculated (UNC) or 'As Struck'
A coin that is in the same condition as it was when issued, with no wear through circulation at all. The term 'Brilliant Uncirculated' is sometimes used to describe an Uncirculated coin with full mint lustre or brilliance, and Choice Uncirculated to describe a coin which has no or only miniscule imperfections.
Extremely Fine (EF)
A coin that shows very little evidence of being in circulation. Faint wear, typically to the high points of the design, may be discernable through close inspection/under magnification.
Very Fine (VF)
A coin that has had limited circulation but shows some wear to the high points of the design.
A coin that has seen considerable circulation and therefore has considerable wear to the raised surfaces of the design.
A worn coin where only the main features and legends are still distinguishable.
Clearly the wear to a coin is progressive and does not occur in steps (EF, VF, F) and the price that any given coin commands does not follow change in steps either. Therefore AMR Coins also use the well recognised terms:
Good: better than e.g. Good VF
Nearly: not as good as e.g. Nearly EF
Other terms may occasionally be used such as 'almost', 'about' and 'virtually' all of which imply closer to a grade than 'nearly'.
We are confident in our grading and will happily discuss the grading of any coin on our website.