The ANA Coin Grading Scale
United States coins are most often graded with a scale created by the American Numismatic Association (ANA) , a non-profit group created in 1891 and chartered by Congress since 1912. The lowest grade on this scale is About Good-3; the highest is Perfect Uncirculated-70.
Below is a brief summary of the ANA grading scale. For complete details and illustrations of all U.S. coins in each grade, see Official ANA Grading Standards for United States Coins.
Proof . A specially made coin distinguished by sharpness of detail and usually with a brilliant mirror-like surface. Proof refers to the method of manufacture and is not a condition , but normally the term implies perfect mint state unless otherwise noted and graded as below
United States Mint Proof Set
Uncirculated . Uncirculated coins are struck using the same process as circulating coins, but with quality enhancements — which gives it a satin finish — such as slightly higher coining force, early strikes from dies, special cleaning after stamping and special packaging.
United States Mint Uncirculated Set
Uncirculated coins may vary to some degree because of blemishes, toning or slight imperfections as described in the following subdivisions:
Perfect Uncirculated (MS-70). Perfect new condition, showing no trace of wear. The finest quality possible, with no evidence of scratches, handling or contact with other coins. Very few regular issue coins are ever found in this condition.
Choice Uncirculated (MS-65). An above average Uncirculated coin which may be brilliant or lightly toned and has very few contact marks on the surface or rim. MS-67 through MS-62 indicate slightly higher or lower grades of preservation.
Uncirculated (MS-60). Has no trace of wear but may show a number of contact marks, and surface may be spotted or lack some luster.
Choice About Uncirculated (AU-55). Barest evidence of light wear on only the highest points of the design. Most of the mint luster remains.
About Uncirculated (AU-50). Has traces of light wear on many of the high points. At least half of the Mint luster is still present.
Choice Extremely Fine (EF-45). Light overall wear shows on highest points. All design details are very sharp. Some of the Mint luster is evident.
Extremely Fine (EF-40). Design is lightly worn throughout, but all features are sharp and well defined. Traces of luster may show.
Choice Very Fine (VF-30). Light even wear on the surface and highest parts of the design. All lettering and major features are sharp.
Very Fine (VF-20). A moderate amount of wear is noticeable on the high points of the coin's design. All major details are clear.
Fine (F-12). The coin shows moderate to considerable even wear throughout. Entire design is bold with an overall pleasing appearance.
Very Good (VG-8). Well worn with main features clear and bold although rather flat.
Good (G-4). Heavily worn with the design visible but faint in areas. Many details are flat. Common coins in "Good" condition are not particularly desirable pieces for collectors. Rare or valuable coins in this condition, however, are often saved when no others are available.
About Good (AG-3). Very heavily worn with portions of lettering date and legends worn smooth. The date may be barely readable.