The NGC Coin Grading Scale

A grading scale is used to describe a coin’s condition. Historically, a variety of descriptive adjectives were used to relate the appearance or condition of a coin. A 70-point numerical scale that correlated to the most commonly used adjectives was first employed in the late 1940s. Numerical grades eventually became the preferred method to describe a coin’s condition, and this numerical scale was adapted for use by NGC when it began operations in 1987.

NGC grades coins on a numerical scale from 1 to 70, with 70 being the highest grade assigned.

Prefix   Numerical Grade   Adjectival Description
MS   60–70   Mint State (Uncirculated)
AU   50, 53, 55, 58   About Uncirculated
XF    40, 45   Extremely Fine
VF   20, 25, 30, 35   Very Fine
F     12, 15   Fine
VG    8, 10   Very Good
  4, 6   Good
AG   3   About Good
FA   2   Fair
PR   1   Poor

Proof issues incorporate the same grades. Proof coins will be so noted with the use of the prefix PF for all grades 1 through 70. Less commonly, but where appropriate, coins displaying proof characteristics indicative of special handling that are not true proofs are described with the grade prefix PL, prooflike, or SP, specimen.

What is a 70? NGC defines a Mint State or Proof 70 coin as having no post-production imperfections at 5x magnification.

Coins with detrimental surface conditions are graded according to the standards and conventions for NGC Details Grading.