NGC Coin Grading Scale
NGC uses the internationally accepted Sheldon grading scale of 1 to 70, which was first used in the United States in the late 1940s. This scale was adopted by NGC when it began operations in 1987 and is considered to be the industry standard. Below are NGC's grading standards for each numeric grade as well as major strike types and designations.
Certain coins have surface problems that preclude numeric grading by NGC. These coins may be eligible for NGC Details grading. Learn more >
What is a 70?
NGC defines a Mint State or Proof 70 coin as having no post-production imperfections at 5x magnification.
Plus & Star Characters
In addition to their superior technical merit, coins that receive a Plus () Designation must have above-average eye appeal. For example, a coin graded NGC MS 64 is close to the quality of a coin graded NGC MS 65.
Not all coins are eligible for the Plus () Designation). Coins grading from XF 45 to MS 68 or PF 45 to PF 68 may receive a , while lower- and higher-grade coins cannot. The is assigned when merited to United States coins from 1792 to date, excluding US bullion and modern commemorative coins, and to world coins struck prior to 1970.
Coins are automatically evaluated for during grading. Coins must be submitted for grading to be reviewed for this designation.
Eye appeal is the most subjective attribute of a coin, but there are many standards shared by numismatists. Exceptional eye appeal may include attributes such as vibrant, colorful toning; intense luster; or, in the case of Proof coins, especially strong cameo contrast. To receive a , coins must be free of any obvious planchet irregularities, and display no bothersome spots or blemishes. Toned coins can be of a single color or multicolored but cannot have any areas that are dark brown, approaching black.
It's important to remember that coins with the Star () Designation can fall anywhere within the grades to which they are assigned. For example, a coin graded NGC MS 64 could be at the lower end, mid-range or higher end of NGC MS 64.
NGC applies the to qualifying coins in its normal course of grading. As they are already of the ultimate grade, any coin graded NGC MS 70 or NGC PF 70 will not be eligible for the . Coins already certified by NGC can be resubmitted and reviewed for using the Designation Review service.