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.

Strike Type

MS
Mint State. Coins struck in the same format as circulation issues. Applies to grades 60 to 70.
PF
Proof. Coins struck in a special format for collectors.
SP
Specimen. A hybrid between Mint State and Proof.

Numeric Grades

MS/PF 70
A coin with no post-production imperfections at 5x magnification.
MS/PF 69
A fully struck coin with nearly imperceptible imperfections.
MS/PF 68
Very sharply struck with only miniscule imperfections.
MS/PF 67
Sharply struck with only a few imperfections.
MS/PF 66
Very well struck with minimal marks and hairlines.
MS/PF 65
Well struck with moderate marks or hairlines.
MS/PF 64
Average or better strike with several obvious marks or hairlines and other miniscule imperfections.
MS/PF 63
Slightly weak or average strike with moderate abrasions and hairlines of varying sizes.
MS/PF 62
Slightly weak or average strike with no trace of wear. More or larger abrasions than an MS/PF 63.
MS/PF 61
Weak or average strike with no trace of wear. More marks and/or multiple large abrasions.
MS/PF 60
Weak or average strike with no trace of wear. Numerous abrasions, hairlines and/or large marks.
AU 58
Slight wear on the highest points of the design. Full details.
AU 55
Slight wear on less than 50% of the design. Full details.
AU 53
Slight wear on more than 50% of the design. Full details except for very minor softness on the high points.
AU 50
Slight wear on more than 50% of the design. Full details except for minor softness on the high points.
XF 45
Complete details with minor wear on some of the high points.
XF 40
Complete details with minor wear on most of the high points.
VF 35
Complete details with wear on all of the high points.
VF 30
Nearly complete details with moderate softness on the design areas.
VF 25
Nearly complete details with more softness on the design areas.
VF 20
Moderate design detail with sharp letters and digits.
F 15
Recessed areas show slight softness. Letters and digits are sharp.
F 12
Recessed areas show more softness. Letters and digits are sharp.
VG 10
Wear throughout the design. Letters and digits show softness.
VG 8
Wear throughout the design. Letters and digits show more softness.
G 6
Peripheral letters and digits are full. Rims are sharp.
G 4
Peripheral letters and digits are nearly full. Rims exhibit wear.
AG 3
Most letters and digits are readable. Rims are worn into the fields.
FR 2
Some details are visible. Rims are barely visible.
PO 1
Enough detail to identify the coin's date and type. Rims are flat or nearly flat.


Designations

Plus & Star Characters

(NGC Plus Designation)
NGC assigns a to coins at the high end of their assigned grade, approaching the qualify requirements for the next grade. Read more...

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.

Read less...
(NGC Star Designation)
NGC assigns its trademarked Star Designation to coins with exceptional eye appeal for their assigned grade. Read more...

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.

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Strike Characters

RD
Red. A coin with full mint red luster.
RB
Red Brown. A coin with a mix of red luster and brown patina.
BN
Brown. A coin with full or nearly full brown patina.
Ultra Cameo
Applies only to PF coins. The fields are deeply mirrored and the devices are heavily frosted for bold contrast on both sides of the coin.
Cameo
Applies only to PF coins. The fields are deeply mirrored and the devices are frosted for moderate contrast on both sides of the coins.
DPL
Deep Prooflike. Applies only to circulation issues. The fields are deeply mirrored and the devices are heavily frosted on both sides.
PL
Prooflike. Applies only to circulation issues. The fields are mirrored and the devices may be frosted on both sides.
See All NGC Strike Characters

NGC Releases Designations

Early Releases
NGC offers the Early Releases designation for selected coins received by NGC or an NGC-approved depository during the first 30 days of release. Learn more >
First Releases
NGC offers the First Releases designation for selected coins received by NGC or an NGC-approved depository during the first 30 days of release. Learn more >
See All NGC Releases Designations