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Brit Tip #6

Grading standards in the UK and the United States are different.

Talk about an obvious statement! The more important thing is to pry into how they differ. The terminology is similarly named. Let's start at the bottom of the British scale and work upwards.

Poor. Considered not collectable unless extremely rare. This is equivalent to "About Good" or "Good" and maybe even "Very Good" in the US.

VG - very good. Reckoned at 12% perfect, the grade is similar to a coin considered "fine" in the US.

F - fine. 25% perfect, the grade is similar to aVF in the US. Head is not worn to a silhouette. Considered the minimum collectable grade.

VF - very fine. 50% perfect, this is similar to aXF in the US. Good VF is similar to XF in the US.

EF - extremely fine. 75% perfect, this is similar to the "About Uncirculated" designation in the US. Good EF approximates MS-60!

UNC - uncirculated. 100% perfect, falls at about MS-62 or MS-63 in terms of US grading. US MS-60 and MS-61 are technically uncirculated but have many detracting marks as a rule. These may or may not be reckoned uncirculated by the British system depending on how bad they are.

Choice UNC - MS-64 to MS-65.

Gem UNC or About FDC - MS-66, MS-67.

FDC - MS-70.

The Brits have not accepted the 11-point uncirculated grading system and prefer to use lustre as a criteria for grading when it comes to copper coins, so the terms "UNC," "UNC with trace lustre," "good lustre," "much lustre," "almost full lustre," "full lustre" carry more weight than the technical grade.

This is strictly my interpretation and will vary from person to person. Opposing inputs welcomed!!

Posted on CU 7/23/2003