Eye Appeal is one component of grade. For coins grading above MS/PR 60, eye appeal is one of the four components of grade.
For Mint State and Proof coins, the three factors comprising a coin's "technical grade" are:
For Circulated coins, there are:
The "technical" grade of the coin is the grade of the coin based on the factors above without taking eye appeal into consideration. Eye appeal either adds or subtracts from the "technical" grade, or is neutral as a factor in determining the final grade. For toning, PCGS uses seven levels of eye appeal, from "Amazing" to "Ugly". For luster on mint state coins and depth of reflectivity on proofs, PCGS uses six levels of eye appeal, from "Amazing" to "Negative".
The following are the minimum standards for eye appeal on high grades: MS/PR68 – Must have positive eye appeal MS/PR67 – Must have above average eye appeal MS/PR66 – Cannot have below average eye appeal MS/PR65 – Cannot have negative eye appeal. AMS/PR65 coin can have below average luster or color (toning) if it is outstanding in every other way.
High end coins for the grade, i.e. "plus" grades, cannot have negative or below average eye appeal for the grade.
Spots on gold coins, spots on copper coins, and "milk spots" on silver coins are not really part of eye appeal, but they are part of the grade and grade deductions are made similar to those made for marks or hairlines. In all three instances above we have minimum/maximum grade guidelines for spots. Note that in some instances, spots can appear subsequent to grading. In the case of copper coins, the spots would result in a grading deduction, and, since there are often environmental factors beyond our control, PCGS does not guarantee against downgrades for spotting on copper coins. For modern silver issues, spotting is a Mint acknowledged problem that is also beyond the control of PCGS. For modern silver coins, it is possible for two coins to have the same technical grade and one be spotted and one be spot-free. In these instances, the spotted coins will command a lesser price in the marketplace.