This is a brief guide, to try and help newer users of ebay, and inexperienced coin collectors, to get a basic understanding of the system used for grading coins, by most uk coin sellers.The main grades of coins you will see are, in order of `excellence`, BU; UNC. EF; VF; F; NF. Some times there will be a `+` after some of these grades, which denotes slightly above the described grade.
These abbreviations mean: BU is bright uncirculated. This is usually for proof commemorative coins, and coins of the last 50 years.The condition is absolutely flawless.
UNC. This meas uncirculated, and is normally the highest grade you will find for most coins, since the introduction of milled coins. These coins should be faultless, with perhaps one or two very minor surface blemishes, called bag marks. These occur when the coins are minted. There should be no wear on these graded coins.EF. This means Extremely Fine. Still a superb coin, one or two minor signs of wear, usually to the higher parts of a coin, like hair, or the nose. There should be no fingerprints on these coins.There will usually be a nice patina on silver coins, a pale purple colour.
VF. This means Very Fine. The coin will have been circulated, but most of the details will be fairly sharp.
F. This means fine. The coin will have considerable waer, but all details will be visible.
NF. This means Nearly Fine, and a coin of this description will have considerable wear.
BEWARE of buying `OVERGRADED` coins. Inexperienced sellers tend to pick a description out of the air. This can lead to you buying an inferior coin at an inflated price. Look carefully at the photographs, and beware of phrases like `Possibly EF`, or `Looks like UNC to me.` If in doubt, make sure the seller will accept returns if you are not happy with the coin. If you receive a coin that is over-graded, or you are not happy, then send it back.
You will soon become familiar with Coin terminology, and will eventually only bid for correctly graded coins.
I HOPE THIS SHORT GUIDE WILL BE OF USE TO MANY OF YOU OUT THERE.