Numismatic Grading for Silver Coins

Posted by on October 26, 2011

When collecting and investing in numismatic silver coins understanding condition grades is as important as knowing the year and place the coin was struck. The following general information about numismatic grading is applicable to NGC grading, PCGS grading, and ANACS grading.

5049791466 67f73ccab4 z 248x300 Numismatic Grading for Silver Coins

1885-O Morgan Silver Dollar

The current generally used grading system is an outgrowth of the demands of the market place.  A hundred years ago coins were considered to fall into three states of condition: “Good” (well used), “Fine” (used), and “Very Fine” (hardly used).  However with the increase in collectors, auctions, and prices a better way of describing the condition was needed.  Especially with the ever widening price difference between the “Very Fine” condition silver coins and “Fine”.   This also caused the “Very Fine” grade to be considered too simplistic and incapable of describing a coin with no ware, very little ware - and then those with a bit more.  A standard of grading and an in-depth stratification of what those grades meant had to come into being.

The grade of a coin is determined by how much wear a coin shows. This is first evident on the highest surfaces of the coin. These vary from series to series, but in general the coin's detail is less and less evident as a coin is worn by handling. Each part of a coin is considered when it is graded. Each coin is considered to have three sides: the Obverse side; (head) usually has a portrait/bust image and year of mintage, the Reverse side; (tail) has the value/denomination, and the third side is called the Edge; plain, grooved, or ornamented.

3705566035654040 1 Numismatic Grading for Silver Coins
30x LED Lighted Loupe Magnifying Glass Great 4 Coins!!!
Time Remaining: 8d 20h 18m
Buy It Now for only: $8.95
2013791683084040 1 Numismatic Grading for Silver Coins
30x 21mm Jewelers Loupe Magnifying Glass ..
Time Remaining: 21d 15h 49m
Buy It Now for only: $7.99
1513779043024040 1 Numismatic Grading for Silver Coins
40x LED Lighted Loupe Magnifying Glass Great for ALL Coins, Tokens, Paper Money
Time Remaining: 27d 22h 15m
Buy It Now for only: $7.95
1211837268564040 1 Numismatic Grading for Silver Coins
40 x 25 Loupe with Light, Ideal for Coin Research
Time Remaining: 11d 7h 59m
Buy It Now for only: $12.40
2011955058084040 1 Numismatic Grading for Silver Coins
5x Bausch & Lomb Sight Savers Compact Pocket Coin Magnifying Glass Loupe
Time Remaining: 5d 15h 5m
Buy It Now for only: $12.95
3102191814904040 1 Numismatic Grading for Silver Coins
Quanlity 16x25 mm Jeweler & collector's LOUPE
Time Remaining: 5d 23h 23m
Buy It Now for only: $8.18
1315447479044040 1 Numismatic Grading for Silver Coins
10-10x & 20x Dual Jewelers Loupe w/ Case Free ~Dealer Lot~
Time Remaining: 19d 22h 9m
Buy It Now for only: $40.00
1417046649574040 1 Numismatic Grading for Silver Coins
Very Bright Lighted LED 40X Scope or Loupe for Coins & Small details like stamps
Time Remaining: 20d 23h 17m
Buy It Now for only: $9.99
1417038370034040 1 Numismatic Grading for Silver Coins
NIP Bright Lighted LED 40X Scope or Loupe Use for Coins & Small details
Time Remaining: 19d 21h 25m
Buy It Now for only: $11.98

The Obverse and Reverse share characteristics: the Field is the flat portion of the coin, the Relief is the raised portion (design) of the coin; the Rim is the raised area running around these sides, the Legend refers to the inscriptions of value and country of mintage.

Grading for wear as a state of condition is now widely done using the 70 point Sheldon Scale grading system, developed in 1948 by Dr. William M Sheldon and is in general use today.

MS   60-70              Mint State (Uncirculated)

-no wear is apparent at all although there maybe some contact marks and dulling of the original luster.

AU   50, 53, 55, 58     About Uncirculated

-all detail is readily apparent with only slight signs of wear.

XF   40, 45             Extremely Fine

-lightly worn but the relief is bold and details mostly apparent.

VF   20, 25, 30, 35     Very Fine

-moderately worn, the relief is fully apparent some details are worn.

F    12, 15             Fine

-well worn, some of the relief’s details show.

VG   8, 10              Very Good

-the relief images are worn but clear.

G    4, 6               Good

-the relief images are outlined but without details, the rim maybe worn away in spots.

AG   3                  About Good

-the relief is apparent but some of the outlines are worn flat and obscured.

FA   2                  Fair

-the mint and date are barely legible, but the series is apparent.

PR   1                  Poor

-these heavily worn coins are barely identifiable as to their series and may not have a visible date or mint mark.

The three top rated coin grading services are:

ANACS: American Numismatic Association Certification Service

NGC; Numismatic Guarantee Corporation

PCGS; Professional Coin Grading Service

4 comments on “Numismatic Grading for Silver Coins

  1. Jamey nyc on said:

    Interesting banter I’ve bookmarked the page on under “Grading Numismatic Silver Coins SilverCoins.Ag”. So hopefully our friends can give you a visit. Cheers!

  2. Ambre Le Breton on said:


    Tout d’abord merci pour le petit message sur mon site.
    Je suis permi de visiter le votre puisque c’est de bonne pratique dans les échange de lien.
    Je trouve votre site très intéressant et sobre.
    Je me rend compte en visitant les liens des message que l’on me laisse sur mon site que nous manquons tous en majorité de la fonction multilangue, et que malgrès la traduction offerte par les moteurs de recherche, le rendu n’est pas toujour très bien traduit. je n’ai pas encore mis en place cette solution mais je vais y penser sérieusement.
    Merci de vous être intéresser à mon site l’espace d’une visite.

  3. nice article..:)

  4. Evonne Emmerling on said:

    I like this site so much, saved to bookmarks .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

390,187 Spam Comments Blocked so far by Spam Free Wordpress

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>