A circulated coin graded VG-8 is well worn. Major design elements are visible, but with faintness in areas. Head of Liberty, wreath, and other major features are visible in outline form without center detail. LIBERTY is mostly worn away.
History of Grading United States Coins
In the 1970s coin grading was a very subjective process. What one coin dealer would call "very good" another coin dealer might call "extremely good".
This caused confusion among coin collectors and coin dealers since the terminology was not consistent. Other coin dealers adopted the Sheldon Scale for grading United States coins that was based on a numeric scale from 1 to 70. Where 1 was the lowest grade and 70 was the highest grade ("the perfect coin").
The American Numismatic Association got involved in an effort to standardize grading terminology and descriptions. The organization formed a committee of coin dealers and professional numismatists and test them to formulate a grading system. This committee met with various collectors and dealers across the United States to get their input.
The result was a book titled Official ANA Grading Standards of United States Coins that was first published in 1977. Coins were illustrated with pen and ink drawings and the information was very similar to another text titled PhotoGrade, Official Photographic Grading Guide for United States Coins.
Although the book was comprehensive in nature it would take several more edition over the coming years before true agreement on grading terms and descriptions would be obtained.
The exact descriptions of circulated grades vary widely from one coin issue to another, so the preceding commentary is only of a very general nature.
It is essential to refer to the specific descriptions for a particular coin type when grading coins.
While numbers from 1 through 59 are continuous, it has been found practical to designate specific intermediate numbers to define grades, resulting in steps. Hence, this text uses the following descriptions and their numerical equivalents, as approved by the ANA Board of Governors.
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.
Reproduced with permission from The Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards for United States Coins, 6th edition, © 2005 Whitman Publishing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Also Known As
This Wheat penny is graded VG-8 because there is faintness in the lines at the top of the wheat stalks.
Next higher grade: VG-10
Next lower grade: G-6