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About NGC Grades

What is the NGC Grading Scale?

NGC grades US and world coins, tokens and medals according to the internationally recognized Sheldon scale of 1 to 70. Certain coins, tokens and medals are ineligible for numeric grading due to a surface problem (such as scratches, cleaning or damage). These coins may be eligible for NGC Details grading.

NGC Grading Scale

NGC Details Grading

What are the NGC's standards for a 70 grade?

NGC defines a 70-graded coin as having no post-production imperfections at 5x magnification. For more information about the difference between post-production imperfections and mint-made anomalies such as struck-throughs, click here.

What is an NGC Details Grade?

NGC assigns an adjectival NGC Details Grade to coins that have surface conditions that preclude numeric grading. These surface conditions include improper cleaning, scratches and damage.

Why don't NGC Details-graded coins receive a numeric grade?

Numeric grades give a strong indication of a coin's value relative to its value in other grades. Most collectors and dealers would pay more for an MS 64 than an MS 63. This is not necessarily the case for coins that have received NGC Details grades.

The value of NGC Details-graded coins is much more subjective due to the variety and severity of the surface problems that result in NGC Details grades. It depends a lot on one's personal preference. Some collectors may prefer an XF Details Improperly Cleaned coin to an AU Details Scratched coin, while for others it may be the opposite.

If NGC were to assign numeric grades to coins with surface problems, it might imply that higher graded examples would be worth more than lower graded examples. That would not always be the case, however, depending on the type and severity of the problem. An MS 64 Scratched coin would not necessarily be worth more than an MS 63 Improperly Cleaned coin; it could be the opposite.

To avoid this potentially confusing scenario, we describe an NGC Details-graded coin's condition with an adjectival grade range along with a statement of the primary surface problem.

Why do I need to pay the full grading fee if my coin is labeled "Not Genuine," "Altered Date," "Added Mintmark." Or with a similar notation?

NGC provides an expert opinion of a coin's authenticity. If a coin is labeled "Not Genuine," "Altered Date," "Added Mintmark," or with a similar notation, that determination has been reached as a result of NGC's authentication process. There is at least as much, if not more, work involved in determining that a coin is not genuine or altered as there is in determining that a coin is genuine.

Why does NGC not tell me how my coin was determined to be "NOT GENUINE"?

When NGC graders make a determination that a coin is not genuine (or altered), they do so based on their collective experience as well as the many resources at their disposal, from X-ray fluorescence spectrography to comprehensive image databases. It is not possible to distill this knowledge and information into a simple, standardized format that could apply to every coin. In addition, providing such detailed information could help a counterfeiter to improve their craft and create more convincing forgeries.

What does it mean if my coin was returned with a label that says "Questionable Authenticity"?

If NGC graders believe that a coin is likely to be not genuine but their research is inconclusive, the coin will be labeled "Questionable Authenticity" and not encapsulated. The grading fee will be refunded less a $5.00 processing fee.

For more information, click here.

What does it mean if my coin was returned with a label that says "No Opinion" or "No Decision"?

In rare instances, a coin that may normally be eligible for NGC certification will be returned not encapsulated with a label that says "No Opinion" or "No Decision." This notation is used for coins that cannot be conclusively attributed, authenticated and/or graded due to their condition, a lack of available research or other factors. When a coin is labeled "No Opinion" or "No Decision" the full grading fee will be refunded.

What is "Not Suitable for Certification"?

On occasion, NGC will return a coin as "Not Suitable for Certification." This is used for coins that are severely damaged or otherwise impaired. The surface condition of these coins makes it impossible for NGC to render a conclusive opinion about authenticity, attribution and/or NGC Details grade. When a coin is determined to be not suitable, NGC will refund the grading fee, less a $5 processing fee.

What is the difference between the NGC Plus () Designation and the NGC Star () Designation?

NGC assigns the Plus () Designation to coins at the high end of their assigned numeric grade. For example, a coin is graded NGC MS 64+ if it approaches the quality of a coin graded NGC MS 65.

NGC assigns its Star () Designation® to coins that have exceptional eye appeal for their assigned numeric grade.

Learn more about NGC Plus () and Star () Designations >

Still not finding an answer? Contact NGC Customer Service at (+1) 855-GRADE10 (855-472-3310) or

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