What is Coin Grading?
Grading is a way of determining the physical condition of a coin. Grades range from Poor (almost completely worn out) to Perfect Uncirculated (a coin with absolutely no wear and no flaws of any kind). Over 99.9% of all coins fall somewhere between these two extremes.
Coins that have been properly stored since the day they were minted are called "uncirculated" or "mint state." If a coin saw circulation for a short time but still looks nearly brand new, it is called (or graded) "About Uncirculated." After that, the grades in descending order are:
Uncirculated coins have different grades as well, depending on how carefully each coin was made, handled, and stored. Some uncirculated coins have heavy marks caused by contact with other coins during minting or storage. Other uncirculated coins are nearly free of such marks. The coin in the best state of preservation will almost always have the greatest value.
Submission CenterGrading Standards
An added benefit of PCGS coin grading is the PCGS Guarantee of Grade & Authenticity. This cash-back policy ensures the accuracy of the grade assigned to any PCGS-graded coin, as long as it remains in its tamper-evident PCGS holder. Read the policy in its entirety through the link below.
You can learn to grade with a moderate degree of accuracy after years of experience and exposure to the right resources. PCGS offers a number of free resources to get you more familiar with coin grading:
Extremely useful online tool for determining approximate grades using high resolution images.
Access the most complete online encyclopedia for U.S. coins to learn pricing, auction results, condition consensus and more.