IBNS Grading Guide - Definition of Terms
UNCIRCULATED (UNC): A perfectly preserved note, never mishandled by the issuing
authority, a bank teller, the public or a collector. Paper is clean and firm,
without discoloration. Corners are sharp and square, without any evidence of
rounding. (Rounded corners are often telltale sign of a cleaned or “doctored”
note.) An uncirculated note will have its original natural sheen.
NOTE: Some note issues are most often
available with slight evidence of counting folds (creases). Also,
French-printed notes usually have a sight ripple in the paper. Many collectors
and dealers often refer to such a note as AU-UNC.
ABOUT UNCIRCULATED (aUNC or AU): A virtually perfect note, with some minor handling. May show
evidence of bank counting folds at a corner or one light fold through the
center, but not both. An AU note cannot be creased, a crease being a hard fold
which has usually “broken” the surface of a note. Paper is clean and bright
with original sheen. Corners are not rounded.
NOTE: Europeans will refer to an About
Uncirculated or AU note as “EF-UNC” or as just “EF”. The extremely fine note
described below will often be referred to as “GVF” or “Good Very Fine”.
EXTREMELY FINE (EF or XF): A very attractive note, with light handling. May have a maximum of
three light folds or one strong crease. Paper is clean and bright with original
sheen. Corners may show only the slightest evidence of rounding. There may also
be the slightest sign of wear where a fold meets the edge.
VERY FINE (VF): An attractive note, but with more evidence of handling and wear.
May have a number of folds both vertically and horizontally. Paper may have
minimal dirt, or possible color smudging. Paper itself is still relatively
crisp and not floppy. There are no tears into the border area, although the
edges do show slight wear. Corners also show wear but not full rounding.
FINE (F): A
note which shows considerable circulation with many folds, creases and
wrinkling. Paper is not excessively dirty, but may have some softness. Edges
may show much handling with minor tears in the border area. Tears may not
extend into the design. There will be no center hole because of folding. Colors
are clear but not bright. A staple hole or two would not be considered unusual
wear in a Fine note. Overall appearance is still on the desirable side.
VERY GOOD (VG): A well used note, abused but still intact. Corners may have much
wear and rounding, tiny nicks, tears may extend into the design, some
discoloration may be present, staining may have occurred, and a small hole may
be seen at center from excessive folding. Staple and pinholes are usually
present, and the note itself is quite limp but NO pieces of the note can be
missing. A note in VG condition may still have an overall not unattractive
GOOD (G): A
well worn and heavily used note. Normal damage from prolonged circulation will
include strong multiple folds and creases, stains, pinholes, and/or staple
holes, dirt, discoloration, edge tears, center hole, rounded corners and an
overall unattractive appearance. No large pieces of the note may be missing.
Graffiti is commonly seen on notes in Good condition.
totally limp, dirty and very well used note. Larger pieces may be half torn off
or missing, beside the defects mentioned under the Good category. Tears will be
larger, obscured portions of the note will be bigger.
POOR (PR): A
“rag” with severe damage because of wear, staining, pieces missing, graffiti,
larger holes. May have tape holding pieces of the note together. Trimming
may have taken place to remove rough edges. A Poor note is desirable only as a
”filler” or when such note is the only one known of that particular issue.