As grading is a very subjective topic, therefore, opinions may differ from one individual collector to another.
Below is my interpretation of coin grading along with examples of Walker and Franklin halves.
|About Good (AG)|
Identifiable by type and date. Design is heavily worn with surface fading into rim. Many details will be weak or missing. Collectible only in cases of extreme scarcity.
The basic design detail appearing in outline form, with some details weak and all details flat. On larger coins, some main features may be more visible but flat.
|Very Good (VG)|
Main features are clear but flat. Heavy wear evenly on the entire coin, and the rim is starting to merge with the perimeter lettering. However, these lettering must be clear.
Entire design is still strong and visible, but coins will show considerable wear on high points, details and fields. The central part of national arms, crown, or portrait, may be flattened. However, rims must be fully raised.
|Very Fine (VF)|
Light to moderate wear evenly on high points and fields. Fine details will be slightly smoothed, but all lettering and major features must be clear and present. For portraits, at least two-thirds of hairlines must show.
|Extremely Fine (XF)|
Light overall wear on highest points, particularly portrait hairlines or national arms. Slight wear, nicks, or scratches may be scattered over the fields. Entire design must be sharp and clear, and traces of luster must show.
|About Uncirculated (AU)|
On smaller coins, slightest hint of wear on the high points. On larger coins, slight wear on high points or few scratches on fields. At least half of the original luster will be present.
Must not have any wear, but may have some contact marks. Luster must be average bright, or could be slightly dull or spotted in the case of copper/bronze coins.
|Brilliant, Choice, Gem|
Upper level UNC coins, with better luster, strike, and less contact marks. Must have eye appeal and luster brightness. Coins in these state usually command a premium.
|Proof (PRF) and Prooflike (P/L)|
Proofs are struck for collectors on specially selected planchets with highly polished dies, using slower, high-pressure presses. These coins are normally given more than one blow during coining process to bring up greater detail in the design. Proofs generally displays a mirrorlike finish with frosted details. However, not all proofs are frosted; others include matte and brilliant proofs.
Prooflike describes the degree of reflectiveness and cameo contrast on well-struck circulation coins. They may appear to be a proof at first glance, but has a lesser degree of eye appeal than proofs.
HAVE FUN GRADING YOUR COINS !!