What does MS or Unc. mean in coin grading? The letters MS or Unc. refer to the terms Mint State or Uncirculated which are interchanged to describe no trace of wear on coins with divisions to indicate slight blemishes or imperfections allowed. Realize that Proof coins are specially manufactured coins with sharp details and a mirrorlike surface
The perfect uncirculated MS-70 coin. An MS-70 coin has a very attractive sharp strike and original luster of the highest quality for the date and mint. No contact marks are visible under magnification of an MS-70 coin. There are absolutely no hairlines, scuff marks or defects on a perfect MS-70 coin. A coin of this grade level will of course be attractive and have outstanding eye appeal. Copper coins must be bright with full original color and luster. Very few regular issue coins are found in the MS-70 condition.
An MS-69 coin must have very attractive sharp strike and the full original luster for the date and mint, with no more than two small non-detracting contact marks or flaws. No hairlines or scuff marks can be seen on a MS-69 coin. A coin graded as MS-69 is expected to have exceptional eye appeal. Copper coins must be bright with full original color and luster.
In a coin graded at the level of MS-68 you can expect an attractive sharp strike and full original luster for the date and mint, with no more than four light scattered contact marks or flaws. No hairlines or scuff marks can show on an MS-68 coin and the coin will have exceptional eye appeal. Copper coins must have lustrous original color.
When a coin is MS-67 it has the full original luster and sharp strike for date and mint. A MS-67 coin may have three or four very small contact marks and one more noticeable but not detracting mark. On comparable coins, one or two small single hairlines may show under magnification, or one or two partially hidden scuff marks or flaws may be present but the coin will still have exceptional eye appeal. Copper coins will have lustrous original color.
A coin graded as MS-66 must have above average quality of strike and full original mint luster, with no more than two or three minor but noticeable contact marks. In MS-66 a few very light hairlines may show under magnification, or there may be one or two very light scuff marks showing on frosted surfaces or in the field. The eye appeal must be above average and very pleasing for the date and mint. Copper coins display full original or lightly toned color as designated.
An MS-65 coin shows an attractive high quality of luster and strike for the date and mint. In MS-65 coins you can expect a few small scattered contact marks, or two larger marks may be present, and one or two small patches of hair lines may show under magnification. Noticeable light scuff marks may show on the high points of the design while still having overall quality that is above average with an eye appeal this is very pleasing. Copper coins have full luster with original or darkened color as designated.
An MS-64 coin has at least average luster and strike for the type. Coins graded at MS-64 may have several small contact marks in groups, as well as one or two moderately heavy marks may be present. In this division one or two small patches of hairlines may show under low magnification with noticeable light scuff marks or defects while still having an attractive overall quality with a pleasing eye appeal. Copper coins may be slightly dull. Color should be designated.
Uncirculated coins at the division of MS-63 may have mint luster slightly impaired. MS-63 may have numerous small contact marks, and a few scattered heavy marks may be seen with small hairlines visible without magnification. Several detracting scuff marks or defects may be present throughout the design or in the fields. The general quality at MS-63 is about average, but overall the coin is rather attractive. Copper pieces may be darkened or dull. Color should be designated.
In a coin graded as MS-62, you may see an impaired or dull luster, or clusters of small marks may be present with a few large marks or nicks in focal areas. Hairlines may be very noticeable. MS-62 can allow large unattractive scuff marks to be seen on major features. The strike, rim, and planchet quality may be noticeable below average while the overall eye appeal is generally acceptable. Copper coins will show a diminished color and tone.
A coin graded as MS-61 may have mint luster diminished or noticeably impaired, and the surface have clusters of large and small contact marks throughout. Hairlines could be very noticeable. At the division of MS-61 scuff marks may show as unattractive patches on large areas or major features, or small rim nicks, striking or planchet defects may show and the quality may be noticeably poor. Eye appeal is somewhat unattractive. Copper pieces will be generally dull, dark and possible spotted.
The division of MS-60 coins can allow unattractive, dull or washed out mint luster. There may be many large detracting contact marks, or damage spots, but absolutely no trace of wear. There could be a heavy concentration of hairlines, or unattractive large areas of scuff marks. Rim nicks may be present, and eye appeal is very poor. Copper coins may be dark, dull and spotted.
In the Almost Uncirculated or AU-58 coin grade the barest trace of wear may be seen on one or more of the high points of the design. No major detracting contact marks will be present and the coin will have attractive eye appeal and nearly full luster, often with the appearance of a higher grade.
In a coin at AU-55 Only small traces of wear are visible on the highest points of the coin. As is the case with other grades described here, specific information is listed in the text under the various types, for wear often occurs in different spots on different designs.
A coin graded as AU-50 can have traces of wear on nearly all of the highest areas with at least half the original mint luster still present.
A coin considered EF-45 can have light overall wear on the coins highest points. All design details are very sharp. Mint luster is usually seen only in protected areas of the coin's surface such as between the star point and in the letter spaces.
Coins that are graded EF-40 can have only slight wear but more extensive than the preceding, still with excellent overall sharpness. Traces of mint luster may still show.
At this division a coin have light even wear on the surface, design details on the highest points lightly worn, but with all lettering and major features sharp.
The grade of VF-20 in coins may show moderate wear on the higher parts.
In the F-12 level of coin grades you can see moderate to considerable even wear. Entire design is bold. In the Liberty nickel, for example, all lettering, including the word LIBERTY are visible, but with some weaknesses.
Well worn. Major designs visible, but with faintness in areas. Head of Liberty, wreath and other major features visible in outline form without center detail.
Coins considered G-4 can be heavily worn. Major designs visible, but with faintness in areas. Head of Liberty, wreath, and other major features, as applicable, visible in outline form without center detail. (To qualify for the inter-mediate grade of G-6 a coin must have full rims).
Very heavily worn with portions of the lettering, date, and legends being worn smooth. The date on the coin is barely readable.