Grading / Condition of Banknotes
Everyone has their own interpretation
of what a certain grade means. When buying from dealers, make sure
they follow strict international and Society standards.
A perfectly preserved note (100% new), never mishandled by any
parties. Paper is clean and firm, without discoloration. All corners
are sharp and perfectly square, without any evidence of rounding. A UNC note will have it's original, natural sheen and crisp.
Uncirculated (AU) A virtually perfect note, with evidence
minor handling. Condition may show very slight
bank counting folds at a corner or one light fold through the
center, but not both. An AU note cannot be creased - a crease being a
hard fold which have "broken" the surface of the note. Paper
is clean and bright with original sheen. Corners are not rounded.
(EF) A very attractive note, with light handling. 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. An EF note may also have 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.
A VF note may have several folds both vertically and horizontally.
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.
A note which shows considerable circulation, with many folds,
creases and wrinkling. Paper is not excessively dirty but may have
some softness. 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 because of 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
Very Good (VG)
A well used note, abused but still intact. Corners may have much
wear and rounding, tiny nicks, tears may extend into the design,
some discoloration may be present, staining may have occurred, and a
small hole may sometimes be seen at the center from excessive folding.
Staple and pinholes are usually present, and the note itself is
quite limp but no pieces of the note is missing. A note in VG
condition may still have an overall attractive appearance.
A well worn and heavily used note. Normal damage from prolonged
circulation will include strong multiple folds and creases, stains,
pinholes, and/or staple holes, dirt, discoloration, edge tears,
center hole, rounded corners and an overall unattractive appearance.
No large pieces of the note is missing. Graffiti is commonly
seen on Good notes.
A totally limp, dirty and very well-used note. Larger pieces may
be half torn off or missing besides defects mentioned under the
Good category. Tears will be larger and obscured portions of the note
will be bigger.
A "rag" with severe damage because of wear, staining, pieces
missing, graffiti and large holes. May have tape holding pieces of the
note together. Trimming may have taken place to move rough edges. A
Poor note is desirable only as a "filler" or when such a note is the
only one known of a particular issue.