Ancient coin collectors value grade much less than modern coin collectors do. Grade refers to the degree of wear or how it appears on a coin.
A few of the many factors that must be taken into account when grading ancient coins are the quality of the strike(s), the state of the die at the time of striking, the quality of the metal used for the planchet, wear from circulation, and the effects of burial and conservation.
Even historical factors must be considered.
Roman coins during the Golden Period (A.D. 96–161), for example, are generally regarded as having greater striking quality than those from the Third Century A.D., when the empire was extremely unsteady.
Mobile mints that moved with the army frequently produced coins for usurpers like Procopius (A.D. 365–366) and Carausius (A.D. 287–293).
These coins typically have imperfections because of how quickly they were produced.
Technical grading solely considers physical wear – A coin with no physical wear but minted with worn dies and only exhibiting VF details would nevertheless be certified Mint State.
Visual grading reflects how a coin truly appears – The same coin would be graded VF
fleur de coin
Mint State plus all characteristics are superb – well centered, mint luster, exceptional strike, and so forth. No flaws will be described because there are none. This grade is very rarely used
|MS||Mint State||As struck, often with mint luster, no evident wear, no indication of circulation, no corrosion, no scratches, and no encrustation. May have strike flaws and die wear. All but the most insignificant strike flaws should be described, especially if a photograph is not provided. This grade is rarely used .|
|aMS||about Mint State||As struck with no evident wear, no indication of circulation, no scratches, no corrosion. May have strike flaws, die wear, light patina or toning and very small bits of encrustation. Usually some mint luster. All but the most minor strike flaws should be described, especially if a photograph is not provided. This grade is rarely used.|
|XF or EF||Extremely Fine||An superb coin with very minor wear visible only on the design’s highest points. Even tiny characteristics are complete and apparent (if struck). may have little patches of corrosion, strike faults, light encrustation, minor scratches, piercings, bends, or cracks.|
Little wear is visible except on very highest portions of the coin design. Coin is well centered with few if any planchet defects. At least 90% of inscription is legible.
|aEF||about Extremely Fine||A remarkable coin with only the uppermost parts of the designs showing deterioration. Even tiny characteristics are complete and apparent (if struck). May have perforations, mild bends, minor scratches, encrustation, strike faults, and even small corrosion spots.|
|gVF||good Very Fine||A desired coin that is beautiful and has minimal overall wear. If struck, all significant features are apparent and almost finished.|
There is a distinct separation between each device, such as between an ear and a laurel on a portrait head (if fully struck). may have strike faults, minor encrustations, minute corrosion spots, minor bending, scratches, perforations, or surfaces that are grainy or frosty. It is important to describe any strike faults that conceal any prominent features or legends, as well as any grainy or icy surfaces, scratches, perforations, bending, and pitting.
|VF||Very Fine||A nice coin with average surface deterioration. If struck, all significant features are apparent and almost finished. Legends can be read when they are present.|
May have porosity or general roughness, as well as strike defects, piercings, small bending, encrustations, scratches, and corrosion.
It is important to describe flaws that conceal important features or legends, as well as general roughness or porosity, scratches, perforations, bending, and pitting.
|aVF||about Very Fine||A coin that is collectable but has typical wear. The majority of the laurel wreath is present, but the top quarter is worn smooth, for example. All significant features (if struck) are visible, but they are not necessarily full.|
Legends are visible and readable when they are present. May have porosity or general roughness, encrustations, scratches, corrosion, or strike defects.
It is important to detect flaws that considerably obscure important features or legends, as well as general roughness or porosity, scratches, perforations, bending, and pitting.
|gF||good Fine||A valuable coin that has significant general wear. Legends can be seen and are reasonably readable when they are present.|
may be generally rough or porous, or it may feature strike defects, encrustations, and areas of corrosion.
It is important to take note of any pitting, general roughness, scratches, piercings, bending, and severe faults.
|F||Fine||A coin with significant general wear. The general design is finished, but the finer details are corroded or worn. The ability to completely read legends may not always be possible. Most old coins still in circulation today are in excellent shape.|
Coin has at least 50% of original inscription and almost all of original design. Major planchet defects may be evident.
|aF||about Fine||A coin with a great amount of wear. Legends may not be visible. Main designs of the coin can be seen. Severe pitting, overall roughness, large scratches, piercings, major bends, and large cracks should be noted, especially if a photograph is not provided.|
|Fair||Fair||A coin with a great amount of wear. Large design features can be seen, identification may be difficult but the type can be identified. Piercings, significant bends and large cracks should be noted.|
|Poor||Poor||A coin with extensive wear making identification a challenge. Flaws may not be noted.|