Ever since the days of the first two coin collectors, grading has been of utmost importance in the buying, selling and trading of coins.  Grade, or the condition of a coin including the amount of wear, is one of the key factors in determining the value of any coin.


     Historically, there has been little, if any, standardized system for grading coins.  Different collectors would have different systems of grading coins based on different sets of criteria.  What was important to one person may or may not have been important to another.


     In the last several decades there have been a number of attempts to standardize grading.  All of these attempts, in one way or another, have contributed to the formation of one generally accepted set of standards for grading coins.  These standards are collectively known as the Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards for United States Coins. What follows are the essential elements used to determine the verbal and numerical grades as they apply to the Roosevelt dime.

MINT STATE : Absolutely no trace of wear.



       A flawless coin exactly as it was minted, with no

       trace of wear or injury.  Must have full mint luster

       and brilliance or light toning.  Any unusual striking

       traits must be described.


       Virtually flawless but with very minor imperfections.



       No trace of wear; nearly as perfect as MS-67 except

       for some small blemish.  Has full mint luster but may

       be unevenly toned or lightly fingermarked.  A few

       barely noticeable nicks or marks may be present.



       A mint state coin with attractive mint luster, but

       noticeable detracting contact marks or minor




       A strictly Uncirculated coin with no trace of wear,

       but with blemishes more obvious than MS-63.  Has full

       mint luster, but surface may be dull, spotted or




ABOUT UNCIRCULATED  Small trace of wear visible on highest



AU-58  Very Choice

       Has some signs of abrasion:  high points of cheek,

       and hair above ear; tops of leaves and details in


AU-55  Choice

       Obverse:  Only a trace of wear shows on highest

       points of hair above ear.

       Reverse:  A trace of wear shows on highest spots of

       of the flame.

       Three-quarters of the mint luster is still present.


AU-50  Typical

       Obverse:  Traces of wear show in hair above ear.

       Reverse:  Traces of wear show on flame but details

       are sharply defined.

       Half of the mint luster is still present.


EXTREEMLY FINE  Very light wear on only the highest points.

EF-45  Choice

       Obverse:  Slight wear shows on high points of hair

       above ear.  Ear is sharp and detailed.

       Reverse:  High points of flame are lightly worn. 

       torch lines are clearly defined and fully separated.

       Part of the mint luster is still present.


EF-40  Typical

       Obverse:  Wear shows on high points of hair and at

       cheek line.  Ear shows slight wear on upper tip.

       Reverse:  High points of flame, torch and leaves are

       worn, but all details are clearly defined and

       partially separated.

       Traces of mint luster may still show.





VERY FINE  Light to moderate even wear.  All major features

           are sharp.



VF-30  Choice

       Obverse:  Wear spots show on hair, ear, cheek and

       chin.  Hair details are weak but have nearly full

       visible details.

       Reverse:  Wear shows on flame but some details are

       visible.  All vertical lines are plain.  Most details

       in the torch and leaves are clear.



VF-20  Typical

       Obverse:  Three-quarters of the details still show in

       hair.  Face worn but bold.  Some details in the ear

       are visible.

       Reverse:  Wear shows on the flame but a few lines are

       visible.  All torch lines are worn but bold. Most

       details in leaves are clear.



FINE   Moderate to heavy even wear.  Entire design clear and



F-12   Obverse:  Half the details show in hair.  All of the

       face is weak but boldly visible.  Half of inner edge

       of ear is worn away.

       Reverse:  Vertical lines are all visible, but

       horizontal bands are worn smooth.  Leaves show some

       detail.  Flame is nearly smooth.





VERY GOOD  Well worn.  Design clear but flat and lacking



VG-8   Obverse:  Entire head is weak, and most of the

       details in hair and inner edge of ear are worn

       smooth.  All letters and date are clear.  Rim is


       Reverse:  About half the outer vertical lines in

       torch are visible.  Flame is only outlined.  Leaves

       show very little detail.  Rim is complete.








GOOD   Heavily worn.  Design and legend visible but faint in





G-4    Obverse:  Entire design well worn with very little

       detail remaining.  Ear is completely outlined.

       legend and date are weak but visible.  Rim is


       Reverse:  Torch is worn nearly flat but is completely

       outlined.  Leaves are worn smooth.  Rim is visible.





ABOUT GOOD  Outlined design.  Parts of the date and legend

            worn smooth.



AG-3   Obverse:  Head is outlined with nearly all details

       worn away.  Date readable but worn.  Legend merging

       into rim.

       Reverse:  Entire design partially worn away.  Rim

       merges into legend.