Understanding Grades for Lincoln Wheat Cents
About Good-3 (AG3 or AG-3)
Obverse: For the most part, Lincoln's portrait is flat and only an outline remains. The legend and date are readable but are almost worn flat and are merging into the rim.
Reverse: The entire design is flat. The wheat ears are mostly flat with maybe some remnants of the grains of wheat still faintly recognizable.
Tip: Click on the photos at the left to view a larger and more detailed image.
Good-4 (G4 or G-4)
Obverse: The portrait of Lincoln is well-worn and some details are starting to show through on his coat and the upper part of his hair. The legend and date are visible and are separated from the rim of the coin.
Reverse: The overall design is flat and some details in the grains of wheat are barely visible.
Very Good-8 (VG8 or VG-8)
Obverse: The outline of Lincoln's hair is visible and some details are starting to show through. The cheek and jaw are separate but flat. Some details of the ear are visible. The legend and date are clear and bold.
Reverse: The wheat stalks are showing some detail and about half of the lines at the top of the wheat stalks are visible. The letters are bold and distinct.
Fine-12 (F12 or F-12)
Obverse: The overall design is clear and bold. Some details in the hair are starting to show through. The cheek and jaw are smooth and the ear and the bowtie are visible.
Reverse: Most detail in the stalks of wheat are visible. The lines at the top of the wheat stalks are worn but most are clearly separated.
Very Fine-20 (VF20 or VF-20)
Obverse: Lincoln's head shows considerable wear but almost all details are present on his hair and face. The ear and the bowtie are worn but they are defined and distinct.
Reverse: The wheat stalks are worn but the lines are clearly defined with no weak spots. The grains of wheat are distinct but flat.
Extra Fine-40 (EF40, XF40 EF-40 or XF-40)
Obverse: There is abrasion on the hair above the ear, the cheek and the jaw evidenced by some very slight flatness. Some traces of mint luster may still be seen.
Reverse: The high points on the wheat stalks (the grains of wheat) show some very slight wear but all details are distinct and well defined.
About Uncirculated-55 (AU55 or AU-55)
Obverse: Only a slight trace of wear exists on the highest points of Lincoln's portrait (the cheek and jaw) but they are not flat.
Reverse: A slight trace of wear exists on the top of the wheat stalks but the detail is full and not flat.
Mint State-63 (MS63 or MS-63)
Obverse: No signs of wear are evident on Lincoln's cheek and jaw. There are noticeable detracting contact marks in the fields of the coin and on Lincoln's face.
Reverse: The tops of the wheat stalks and the area of "ONE CENT" have noticeable distracting marks.
Mint State-65 (MS65 or MS-65)
Summary: A high quality of mint luster completely covers the surfaces of the coin and is undisturbed. Contact marks and bag marks are few and small. The coin is well struck and a few hairlines may be seen under a magnifying glass. Overall the coin is brilliant and has an above average eye appeal.
Obverse: A small blemish or a few non-distracting marks may be present on Lincoln's face or on the fields of the coin.
Reverse: A small blemish or a few non-distracting marks may be present in the fields or on the "ONE CENT" words.