Grading Scales

ICG graders use the following grading scale guide to issue their opinions about the notes they review and grade:

 

Perfect UNC

70

A perfect, as issued, note. Notes at the top grade will not have any folds or internal bends and no marks or signs of handling. Corners will be perfect and the paper bright and fully original, with sharp colours

Gem UNC

68

A Gem UNC note will be almost flawless, as Perfect UNC ’70’ notes, but might have almost imperceptible wear in one or two corners or the slightest handling mark

Choice UNC

66

A Choice UNC note will be virtually perfect, as Gem UNC ‘68’ notes, but might have a more noticeable edge bump or minor handling mark

Uncirculated

63

An Uncirculated note will be fresh and original and will have no full-length folds, as Choice UNC ‘66’ notes, but might have a combination of two or three minor handling marks, such as small internal or edge bends or corner wear. Paper and or colours might appear less fresh than on higher grades, but will still be fully original

AU/UNC

60

AU/UNC notes will be essentially perfect and will not have full-length folds, but might have a noticeable counting mark or a small corner fold or several minor handling marks beyond what would be found on Uncirculated ‘63’ grades. The paper should remain fresh and fully original and colours should be sharp

AU+

58

AU+ notes will be essentially perfect notes, but will have a full-length vertical or horizontal soft fold or a larger corner fold together with a minor handling mark. An AU+ will never have noticeable creases and minor folds should not “break” the surface of the paper and the paper should remain fresh and original

Almost UNC

55

Almost Uncirculated notes will be nearly perfect notes, but might have a full-length soft fold and one or two small handling marks. A perfect note with a tiny corner crease – normally no more than 5mm in total length – might also be graded Almost Uncirculated, as long as no other folds are present. An Almost Uncirculated note will never have full-length creases and the paper should be crisp and original

EF/AU

50

An EF/AU note will be a sharp and original note which might have two soft folds, or a small crease, not reaching the full-length of the note, or a single vertical or horizontal soft fold together with a soft counting mark

Extra Fine +

48

An Extra Fine Plus note will have fresh and original paper as in higher-graded notes, but will have a full-length crease and no other flaws. A fully perfect note which had three soft folds and no other flaws would also be graded Extra Fine Plus

Extra Fine

45

An Extra Fine note will be fresh and crisp, with relatively little circulation, but might have a full-length crease, “breaking” the surface of the paper, together with one or two other minor handling marks, such as minor corner rounding or a small corner fold or edge bend

VF/EF

40

A VF/EF note will be a fresh and crisp note with two or three full-length creases. It might also have several soft folds and handling marks beyond what would be expected from full Extra Fine ‘45’ notes, but will retain much of its original appeal

Very Fine +

35

A Very Fine Plus note will be a circulated note, with obvious signs of handling, but will retain much of its original sheen and the paper will be crisp. There will be multiple folds and/or creases, but areas of the surface will probably remain intact

Very Fine

30

A Very Fine note will show average evidence of circulation, including multiple folds and or creases. It may also have some dirt and more obviously rounded corners. The note will remain relatively crisp and attractive and the paper will retain much of its original body

F/VF

25

A F/VF note will show extensive circulation, including multiple folds and creases and general wear, but will retain some crispness and general appeal. The note may have minor tears around the edge folds and may have pinholes and other minor defects which prevent it from reaching the presence of a full Very Fine ‘30’ note

Fine

20

A Fine note will show much evidence of circulation and wear, and the paper may be limp and have lost most of its original crispness. The note will have numerous folds, creases and wrinkles and could have several stains and colour problems. There may be some minor damage to the edges and it is to be expected that a Fine note will have small tears and pinholes, but there will normally not be any parts of the note missing

VG/F

15

A VG/F note will have much wrinkling and the paper will show some limpness and staining, but there will be overall eye-appeal and the note will not have any noticeable holes or missing bits of paper

Very Good

10

A Very Good note will show much evidence of circulation. The paper will be limp and heavily wrinkled, but the features of the note will be fully recognizable and the note will generally remain “collectible”. Stains and small tears are likely present and nicks and small but visible holes are also common in this grade

G/VG

8

A G/VG note will be limp and will have limited eye-appeal. There will be some paper damage visible to the naked eye, possibly including large tears or small missing bits of paper

Good

6

A Good note will be a very heavily circulated note, with small pieces of paper missing and very limp and damaged paper. A Good note might also have scotch tape or noticeable tape marks, as well as some tears and stains

Fair

4

A Fair note will be a totally limp and dirt note, with large chunks missing and a combination of other signs of extreme circulation, such as graffiti, large tears or stains and rust

Poor

2

A Poor note will be heavily damaged, with large pieces missing and barely recognizable paper features