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Grading Currency

When establishing the value of a bank note, condition and rarity are the two most influential factors. Learning how to grade currency is an essential part of the hobby, and is by no means easy. Grading requires practice and experience, and can take years to master.

The Sheldon Scale was developed in 1949 as a method of grading coins and uses scores ranging from 0 (Poor) to 70 (Mint State). This scale was later adapted for currency. While a note can receive any grade between 0 and 70, the most common grades are outlined below. For more detailed information on grading currency, please review our selection of grading guides.

Poor (PR) - 1
Heavy wear, barely discernible details. Majority of note is one piece, but likely is not complete.

Fair (FR) - 2
Heavy wear. May be missing large pieces. Stains, tears, holes or other problems will be present.

About Good (AG) - 3
Extremely worn, but mostly intact. May only be missing small pieces.

Good (G) - 4
Heavily worn, but intact. Lacks eye appeal and colors are likely faded. May have small nicks, tears or other problems.

Very Good (VG) - 8
Heavily worn, but fully intact. May be heavily soiled/stained.

Fine (F) - 12
Considerable wear. No major stains or tears, but some pinholes may be present.

Very Fine (VF) - 20
Moderate wear--bill retains some crispness/brightness. No major stains or tears.

Extra Fine (EF/XF) - 40
Mild wear. No more than three folds are present.

About Uncirculated (AU) - 50
Little to no wear. May have one or two light folds.

Uncirculated or Choice/Gem Uncirculated (CU) - 60 to 70
No wear or folds (small corner bends may be present). Notes receiving lower grades may be slightly off-center.

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