Goldealers Blog

Coin Grading

Image of a pile of Krugerrand Coins

This guide provides the Basics of Coin Grading as well as Details of the Different Coin Grade conditions.

It is important that newcomers to collecting coins should get to know the different grades of coin condition before buying or selling coins. Beginners often get confused when first encountering these coin grades. Whilst Goldealers Ltd predominantly deals in Bullion Coins, this guide applies to both bullion and collectable coins.

British Coin Grading System

The system most commonly used in Britain recognizes the following classes of quality:

  • Brilliant Uncirculated – BU, B Unc
  • Uncirculated – Unc
  • Extremely Fine – EF or XF
  • Very Fine – VF
  • Fine – F
  • Fair
  • Poor

The word ‘fine’ implies a coin of high quality, yet it is near the bottom of the coin grading scale. Fine, is probably the lowest grade that a collector would class as acceptable. It is also important to note that grade is in the eye of the beholder. There will always be a difference of opinion as to the exact grade of a coin.

In cases where a coin is worn more on one side than the other, two grades are typically shown. The first for the obverse, the second for the reverse. e.g. F/VF.

Other faults not described by the grading system are typically described separately. e.g. dents, noticeable scratches, edge knocks, holes & areas of corrosion.

American Coin Grading System

Americans grade coins very differently to the British. Whilst some may consider the American coin grading system to be more accurate, Goldealers find that it is more prone to abuse. The British system is more conservative than the American system.

The Americans have many more terms than the British. An example being ‘About Good’ which would apply to an item where the date is only partially legible, being heavily worn & damaged. The British would basically grade this coin ‘poor’.

Coin Grading Description

Extremely Fine

Describes coins which have been put into circulation, but have received only the minimum amount of damage since. There may be a few barely noticeable marks, or slight scratches, but otherwise the coin should show very little signs of being circulated.

Very Fine

Coins in very fine condition show some amount of wear on raised surfaces, but all other detail is still clear.


This grading shows noticeable wear on raised parts of the design, most other details should be clear.

Coin Values

The difference in value between coins of improving grades is certainly not linear. Not only is the grade of the coin of significant importance, but also market trends, liquidity, rarity, lustre etc. For example today, we would typically pay anywhere between £200 and £4500 for a King George III 1818 Sovereign dependent on grade and if we have an interested buyer, whilst an 1820 George III sovereign could fetch anywhere between £200 and £2000. Right in the middle is the 1819 George III sovereign which is worth considerably more at anywhere between £20,000 and £40,000.

Goldealers Ltd trade in bullion coins. Whether you would like to purchase or sell Krugerrands, Sovereigns or other, these coins are all graded professionally by Goldealers Ltd. You can be certain that any bullion coins we purchase or sell would be in EF condition or better. Conditions below EF will be purchased at scrap value and sold at scrap value.

For damaged, soldered, mounted or previously mounted coins, do not expect to receive more than intrinsic gold content.