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Grading Terms

All grading is a matter of opinion. The experts at PandaAmerica have over 100 years of combined experience, and make every effort to assign proper grades to the coins that we sell. If you are ever dissatisfied with the condition of a coin, it can be returned for a full refund. However, there are now a number of third party grading services that examine coins, assign a numerical grade and then "slab" the coins in sealed clear holders. Some of the leading grading services are Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), Independent Coin Grading, (ICG), etc.

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. Grading numbers are applied similarly as for coins struck for circulation, i.e. PR-65, PR-60, PR-55, etc. as defined below.

Uncirculated. The terms Mint State (MS) and Uncirculated (Unc.) are interchangeably used to describe coins showing no trace of wear. Coins may exhibit original mint luster and/or toning.

Brilliant Uncirculated (BU). Uncirculated coins may vary to some degree because of blemishes, toning, or slight imperfections as described in the following subdivisions (MS-70 through MS-60).

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-69 through MS-61 indicate 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.

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