Bright

Bottom

Circa or approximate date

Cancel

Cut cancelled either by a sharp instrument or hammer cancel

Circulated

Clean

Centered

Center Fold Separation

Choice

Circle Date Stamp

Counterfeit

Circular Hammer Cancel

Cut-out-cancel where some portion has been removed

Criswell Number or designation

Crisp Uncirculated

Double Circle Date Stamp

Edge Chip(s)

Erosion Hole

Edge Restoration

Edge Tear(s)

Fine

Hexagonal Date Stamp

Hole-out-cancelled

Hammer Cut Cancelled

Hand Stamp

Haxby Number

Ink cancelled

Internally Restored

Internal Tear

Ink Erosion

Killer

Left end

Lower left end

Lower right end

Light

Obverse

Octagonal Date Stamp

Otherwise

(Ink) Pen Cancelled

Punched by the printer; often showing small radial stress micro-tears

Punch Cancelled

Poor

Price on Request

Proprietary Proof by ABNC, 20th Century, original plates

Post Production

Proof

Reinforced

Remainder

Repair

Reverse

Right end

Special Proof by ABNC, 20th Century, original plates

Surviving Example Not Confirmed

Small Fold Separation(s)

Slight

Stamp

Stampless

Stain

Uniform

Upper left

Upper right

Upper left end

Upper right end

Uncirculated

Unlisted

Very Fine

Whitman numbering system, abbreviated to reduced space

With

Extremely Fine

Revised 08-03-15

 

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Grading & Abbreviation Definitions

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The grading definitions presented below are periodically reviewed and compared with those used by the leading Third Party Grading firms for compliance.  The paper characteristics used by some firms are not included here, per se, but are considered when establishing the verbal description of each note.


Gem CU (Gem Crisp Uncirculated)

A note that exhibits original crispness and color, no creases, folds, wear, discoloration, mishandling or counting marks and is well centered with uniform margins.

 

Ch CU (Choice Crisp Uncirculated)

It must be reasonably well centered with good margins, little or no discoloration and only the slightest indication of counting smudges and/or wrinkling (waviness).  There can be no creases, folds, wear, or mishandling marks.

 

CU  (Crisp Uncirculated)

A completely uncirculated note that may be located off center with a close or no margin, show counting smudges, wrinkles, or corner folds that do not extend into the design of the note.

 

Unc (Uncirculated)

This note must not have seen circulation.  The design may be located off center with close margins, show increased evidence of counting smudges, have numerous wrinkles (but no folds through the design) from mishandling, a pin hole and/or corner folds that touch the major design of the note.

 

AU (About or Almost Uncirculated)

This is the first grade that allows some amount of circulation.  The note will still be crisp and have the feel of a "new" note but it may have a couple of folds through the design and/or several corner folds in addition to the mishandling marks, counting smudges and wrinkles noted above for an uncirculated (Unc) note.

 

XF (Extra or Extremely Fine)

A note that has seen a reasonable amount of circulation while retaining a good portion of it's original crispness and color.  It may have four or five folds through the design as well as corner folds, pin holes, counting smudges and wrinkles (both from circulation and the printing process) and a small amount of soiling.

 

VF (Very Fine)

This note will have seen a significant amount of circulation but still retains some amount of the original paper crispness.  It may have numerous folds through the design as well as a moderate amount of soiling, minor stains, smudging, pin holes and wrinkling.  The edges may be a bit rough but with no significant splits that extend into the design.

 

F (Fine)

A well circulated note with little or no crispness remaining.  It may show a considerable amount of soiling and/or aging along with a multitude of folds, pin holes, wrinkles and the occasional ink erosion or stain.  The edges may be quite rough or irregular with small tears.

 

VG (Very Good)

A note that will exhibit a considerable amount of circulation and wear.  It may be quite soiled and/or stained with holes larger than pin holes, ink erosion, and edge chipping, significant separations or pieces missing.

 

G (Good)

The majority of the note will be there (corners or small portions of the note may be missing) with no crispness remaining in the paper and showing considerable soiling or staining.  Edge tears are quite common as are holes of increased size from use or erosion.

 

P (Poor)

A note that may have a good portion missing, be badly discolored or stained, major ink erosion or exhibit one or more significant tears.

 

Not all specimens necessarily comply completely with the discrete grades described above.  To better describe a note in this category, a grade may be designated with a "+" to indicate that it is really better than the basic grade presented, but is not good enough to qualify for the next full grade higher.  An example of this would be a VF+ grade indicating that it is nicer than a VF but lacks the qualities of a full XF note.  Similarly, a note may bear a split grade such as VF/XF indicating again that the note is better than a VF but falls short of a full XF.  In some instances, a VF/XF designation may also indicate a VF obverse and an XF reverse or visa versa.  A note may also conform to the standards of a given grade but possess a defect not allowed by that grade.  Under this circumstance, the technical grade may be presented with an added qualifying description of the defect.

 

The past few years has seen an increased use of the terms "Gem" and "Choice".  We too have adopted the use of these terms to better describe the visual appearance of some of the notes offered.  In our use, both terms are used to better describe the relative centering of the design within the margins of the note.  A "Gem" designation requires the note to be well centered--that is, the margins must be fairly uniform in appearance, not necessarily perfect, but certainly quite close.  The term "Choice" is used to describe a note where the design is shifted slightly toward one or two of the sides producing an "off-center" appearance, but still maintaining reasonably sized full margins; the presence of one or two very small margins, but with the adjoining frame line(s) still qualifies for the Choice designation.  The absence of one or more margins or a trim that penetrates the design of the note would not allow this term to be applied.

 

Finally, many of the notes presented on this site were hand cut at the time of issue and therefore do not exhibit the precision of the cuts found in today's Federal issues.  These notes were produced by cutting one or more notes at a time from sheets of notes using a knife, razor or scissors thereby producing the irregular margins often seen, and in many instances notes exhibiting no margins at all.  Continental, Colonial, Obsolete, Confederate and Fractional notes more often than not display cuts that extend into the design of the note with no attention paid to how the note might look when it went into circulation.  The description of each note presented on this site offers our observation of how these cutting techniques may have affected the appearance of the note.  Proof notes require special attention with respect to the practice of punch cancelling at the signature locations.  Punch cancelling will often result in tiny spider separations radiating from the cancel hole as the result of the tool penetrating the India paper---these micro tears will not be specifically mentioned unless they exceed the lengths typically seen at these locations.

The grading of all collectible materials is, at best, subjective. The currency grading definitions presented below conform to those of the industry and represent a composite derived from several authorities in the field. The notes offered on this Site utilize these standards while striving to remain on the conservative side of each grade presented.

 

 Grading Definitions

To Abbreviation Definitions

The use of abbreviations in the descriptions of items is a common practice.  To assist, the following table defines the contractions we use to describe the materials offered. There will be omissions and errors, so please let us know about them.

brt

btm

ca

cncl

C/C

circ

cln

ctrd

CFS

Ch

CDS

cft

CHC

COC

Cr

CU-

DCDS

E/C

E/H

E/R

E/T

F

HDS

HOC

HC/C

H/S

Hx-

I/C

I/R

I/T

I/E

K

LE

LLE

LRE

lt

obv

ODS

o/w

Pen/C

Proof Punch Cancels

P/C

P

POR

P-Proof

P/P

prf

reinf

rem

rep

rev

RE

S-Proof

SENC

SFS

slt

stmp

stmpls

stn

unif

UL

UR

ULE

URE

Unc

Unl

VF

W-

w/

XF

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