Paper currency grading

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Paper currency grading is the process of determining the grade or condition of a bank note, one of the key factors in determining its value. A banknotes grade is generally determined by crispness (Rigid not limp paper), brightness, and depth of color. Other factors that are taken into consideration include centering of the printed area, artificially suppressed folds, repairs, and pinholes. Certification services professionally grade banknotes for tiered fees.

United States[edit]

United States banknotes are graded by a system much like the 70 point Sheldon coin grading scale which is used for coins. Top quality grades include "Gem" or "Choice" condition which is usually dubbed as "New" by sellers down to "poor" for notes barely identifiable.

Circulated grades[edit]

# Grade Grade code(s) Description[1][third-party source needed][2][third-party source needed]
1 Poor PO Note is mostly in one piece, in this grade skilled restoration is often done.
2 Fair FR Note is mostly intact but can have large pieces missing, problems which include holes, stains, tears, and splits will likely be present.
3 About Good AG In this grade the note will be very well worn, small pieces may be missing.
4 Good G Note will be fully limp lacking eye appeal, and color which is usually faded. Small edge chips, nicks, and margin tears may be present as well as small pieces missing.
6 Good G Notes in this grade are very worn with wear. A small piece from the edge/corner may be missing, or a small internal hole may be present with serious splits, and fraying of the margins.
8 Very Good VG In this grade the note is heavily circulated/worn but is intact. Slightly rounded corners, frayed edges, or slightly rough margins may be present with splits, and light stains common. Small pieces such as a corner tip may be missing, and the note will be limp.
10 Very Good VG Very good 10 is considered an intermediate grade, the note is fully intact but has minor problems. Notes that fall into this category may include those that just miss the next grade up because of a "heavy fold or two with isolated soiling" or overly worn areas.
12 Fine F Notes in this grade have spent a considerable time circulating, as a result the note will still be solid but some of the papers body will be lost. The corners may be slightly frayed or rounded, the edges may be frayed, minor edge splits may be present, and pinholes may be visible but none should be distracting. No major damage such as tears or stains should be on notes in this grade.
15 Fine F Notes in this grade will have a good body, sound paper, bright colors, and above average eye appeal but miss the next grade up due to too many folds or too much circulation. Folds cause a loss of paper durability which may be present in isolated areas.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Numerical Grading Scale". Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  2. ^ "PMG Paper Money Grading Scale". Retrieved September 10, 2016.