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For 25+ Years


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Grading Standards for U.S. Paper Money
Uncirculated
UNC
A perfectly preserved specimen, with no mishandling. Paper is clean and firm without discoloration. Corners are sharp and square, without evidence of rounding. An uncirculated note will have its original, natural sheen.
About Uncirculated
AU
A virtually perfect note, with some minor handling. May show very slight evidence of bank counting folds at a corner or on light fold through the center, but not both. An AU note cannot be creased, a crease being a hard fold that has usually “broken” the surface of the note. Paper is clean and bright with original sheen. Corners are not rounded.
Extremely Fine
EF
A very attractive note, with only light handling. It may have a maximum of three light folds or one strong crease. Paper is clean and bright with original sheen. Corners may show only the slightest evidence of rounding. There may also be the slightest sign of wear where a fold meets the edge.
Very Fine
VF
An attractive note, but with more evidence of handling and wear. It may have several fold both vertically and horizontally. The body of the note may also show signs of handling. Paper may have minimal dirt, or possible color smudging. Paper itself is still relatively crisp and not floppy. There are no tears into the border area, although the edges do show slight wear. Corners also show wear but not full rounding.
Fine
F
A note that shows considerable circulation, with many folds, creases and wrinkling. Paper is not excessively dirty but may have some softness. The edges may show much handling, with minor tears in the border area. Tears may not extend into the design. There will be no center hole due to excessive folding. Colors are clear but not very bright. A staple hole or two would not be considered unusual wear in a fine note. Overall appearance is still on the desirable side.
Very Good
VG
A well-used note, abused but still intact. The corners may have much wear and rounding. Tiny nicks and tears may extend into the design. Some discoloration and staining may be present. Sometimes a small center-hole, from excessive folding, is evident. Staple and pinholes may be present, and the note itself is quite limp, but NO pieces of the note can be missing. A note in VG condition may still have an overall not unattractive appearance.
Good
G
A well-worn and heavily used note. Normal damage from prolonged circulation will include strong multiple folds and crease, stains, pinholes and/or staple holes, dirt, discoloration, edge tears, center hold, rounded corners and an overall unattractive appearance. No large pieces of the note may be missing. Graffiti is a common occurrence on notes in G condition.
Fair A totally limp, dirty and very well used note. Larger pieces may be half torn off or missing besides the defects mentioned under the grade of Good. Tears will be larger and obscured portions of the note will be bigger.
Poor A “rag” with severe damage because of wear, staining, pieces missing, graffiti larger holes. May have tape holding pieces of the note together. Trimming may have taken place to remove rough edges. A Poor note is useful only as a “filler” (see Glossary) or when such a note is the only one known of that particular issue.
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