Compared to current coin collectors, ancient coin collectors place far less value on grade. The level of wear or how it appears on a coin is referred to as grade.
The quality of the strike(s), the condition of the die upon striking, the quality of the metal used for the planchet, wear from circulation, and the effects of burial and conservation are just a few of the many considerations that must be made while grading ancient coins.
Even historical elements must be taken into account. Roman coins from the Golden Age (A.D. 96–161), for instance, are typically thought to be better struck than those from the Third Century A.D., when the empire was exceedingly unstable.
Usurpers like Procopius (A.D. 365–366) and Carausius (A.D. 287–293) frequently had coins minted by mobile mints that traveled with the army. Due to the hurried nature of their production, these coins frequently include irregularities.
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
Excellent Mint State plus all qualities, including well-centeredness, mint shine, and a great strike. There are no defects, hence none will be mentioned. This grade is very rarely used.
As struck, frequently with mint shine, no obvious signs of wear or use, no circulation marks, no corrosion, no dings, and no encrustation. may have die wear and strike imperfections. This grade is rarely used.
about Mint State
As struck, frequently with mint shine, no obvious signs of wear or use, no circulation marks, no corrosion, no dings, and no encrustation. may have die wear and strike imperfections. This grade is rarely used
EF or XF
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A coin is rated as Very Good (VG) if the majority of the small details are still discernible around the margins but have worn practically smooth over the main center of the designs. Even important details can become hazy. Although worn, the inscriptions on the flan will still be readable. Coin may have more than 30% of original inscription and design. Major planchet defects (e.g. pitting, cracks, irregularly shaped flan) are common in this grade.
Good defines a coin that has even the most important elements worn away. The designs are essentially just outlines, occasionally with gaps. There could be inscriptions, but they might be hard to read. Although attribution to a sub-variety specified by minute features might not be attainable, identification to a general type should still be very simple. Coin may have less than 30% of original inscription and design visible. Coin can be attributed as to ruler and type.
FAIR describes a coin so worn that even the largest major details blur into the fields. Inscriptions are mostly gone and the coin may be very difficult to identify even to a general type, sometimes only as far as the general category of Roman but not the particular series.