How to Grade Gold

How to Grade Gold. Gold coins are evaluated for collecting and resale purposes by a set standard or grade, by rarity, or by overall quality and demand. A standard for grading was established in the late 1950s so that all traders could identify the quality of gold by the same criteria.

Determine the Grade of Gold Coins

Look for coins with no sign of wear to be classified as MS (Mint State), followed by numbers between 60 and 70. An MS-70 indicates an absolutely unblemished coin with perfect color. Some dealers use Unc (uncirculated) to identify the grade.

Find the category for almost uncirculated (AU) coins, a difficult category for inexperienced collectors to identify. The AU categories are AU-50, AU-55 and AU-58. The wear on the high points of a coin is used to determine the category of almost uncirculated coins.

Expect a grade of XF or EF for extremely fine coins, with a minimal amount of wear on the high points. The two identifications are XF-40 and XF-50 for specifying the amount of light wear.

Examine the major feature of coins for sharpness and clarity. Very-fine (VF) grade coins have slightly worn features on the finer details while the major features are detailed. VF-20, VF-25 and VF-30 are the most common grades.

Select the fine (F) grade to locate coins with moderate to heavy wear. F-12 is a typical grade given to coins like the 1965 quarter. It is worn, but still retains enough of the design to be easily identified.

Determine the difference in a very-good (VG) grade and a good (G) grade of coins. The VG-8 rating requires a full rim, even though the design is weak. A G grade does not require a full rim, but the date and mint mark must be clearly defined.

Choose almost good (AG) and fair (Fair) coin conditions if you need a coin to fill in a missing date. You may not be able to read all of the date on an AG coin, and the "Fair" condition may not be readable at all.