A coin graded MS-66 has above average quality of surface and mint luster, with no more than three or four minor or noticeable contact marks. A few light hairlines may show under magnification, or there may be one or two light scuff marks showing. Eye appeal is above average and very pleasing for the date and mint. If copper, the coin displays original or lightly toned color (which must be designated).
Notes: The ANA has not established equivalent official adjectives for the listings within the MS-60 to MS-70 range. Commercially, MS-70 coins are often called Perfect Uncirculated, MS-65 coins Gem Uncirculated, and MS-63 coins Choice Uncirculated. In the past, these and other adjective have been used to designate various grades of condition.
While the preceding guidelines will undoubtedly prove useful to the reader, it is strongly advised that viewing actual coins in the marketplace will enable you to better determine grading practices affecting the series which interest you most. For example, the collector of Morgan silver dollars would do well to examine Morgans graded by a variety of services and sellers in order to determine in general what is considered to be MS-63, MS-64, MS-65, and higher grades.
Coins minted prior to 1836 often show minor weaknesses or friction spots even though they may never have been used in circulation. Such coins are often graded as Mint State rather than About Uncirculated, when they have superior eye appeal, luster, strike, or appearance.
Reproduced with permission from The Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards for United States Coins, 6th edition, © 2005 Whitman Publishing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.