Grading Coins in the UK

There has always been a little debate surrounding how you should grade a coin and we are often confused with the US grading system. Today I will explain to the best of my knowledge and research how to grade a coin in the UK.

Becoming a coin grader will take experience, and the following information is just a guideline. Here in the UK the standards for grading are higher than those of the US.

When trying to determine the value of a coin, we will first need to figure out it’s grade. This is also handy for when you are listing coins on auction sites, or classified sites. It is always advised if you are not a professional to state that it is in your opinion and to include scanned or very high resolution pictures of the coins.

In the UK we use 4 main grading tiers, FINE (F) , VERY FINE (VF), EXTREMELY FINE (EF) and UNCIRCULATED (U) you will however see other grading terms for the more poor coins like GOOD, FAIR or POOR. Often or not these coins hold no real collectible value unless in certain circumstances where the coin is very very rare. You may also see other terms like BRILLIANT UNCIRCULATED (BU) ALMOST UNCIRCULATED (AU) or FLEUR DE COIN (FDC)


The coin will show quite a lot of wear, however most of the features will still be clearly readable.



Very little circulation, most of the wear will be to the higher points. Very little wear, and everything clearly readable and visible.



Only little wear will be present, probably to only the more raised points of the coin and can only be seen up closely. All detail can be seen.



An uncirculated coin will show no wear or signs of use other than perhaps a few small pits from storage. All of the detail will show.

1861 uncirculated penny




This is more or less the same as uncirculated but will still display the orignal lustre, which means color and shine.

Brilliant uncirculated


I’m one of the founders of this blog. A 32 yr old from Lincolnshire & proud father of 3 beautiful children. My first metal detector was a garret ace 150 but I am currently using the Garrett ace 400i. My best find was a roman coin. Feel free to ask me any questions.

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vincent - July 22, 2017

Thank you most helpful keep up the good work, vincent

Tina Whiley - May 4, 2018

I have George lll spade guinea 1787 fab condition to me. I am not a specialist. Will any one grade it for me for reasonable fee. May have more also some excellent sovereigns and half sovereigns what ever else my dad and mother left. How can I get best value to get the spade graded first want to sell for my sons wedding buy rings . Originally going to melt coins make bands from coil gold. Jeweller is interested in coin and will buy .

    Steve - May 11, 2018

    Hi Tina,
    I think you will need an expert to evaluate them, and that may be harder to find. If there’s any expert seeing this post, please comment in the comments and I’ll connect you with Tina.

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