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Coin Grading

Coins are graded based on their condition. The problem is that the standard coin rating system used by most can be misleading. For example a coin referred to as being in 'Good' condition, is in fact a coin of low quality, often badly worn and scratched. A coin referred to as being 'Fine' is actually of average condition. With some places using more than 16 different rating definitions, it is easy to see why people end up with a coin unlike the one they wanted. Instead of following this standardised rating chart, we use our own system to simplify the process of choosing your coin.

What happens when the quality of a coin falls between two different grade ratings? That coin will go into the lower of the graded groups, so it will be in better condition than it is listed to be. This ensures the coin you receive will be as described or better.

You can find our quality definition guide on the bottom of every page that has coins listed for sale.

Below is a definition of the different coin grades.

£2 and 50p coins are rated as:


Circulated - This is a coin that has been in circulation and so may show signs or wear, but with all of the detail on the coin being nice and clear. These coins will never have major damage or wear. All coins are carefully checked before being rated so that only the best of the lot are sold by British Coins.

Uncirculated - A coin that shows no wear, other than bag marks or minor mass production scratches, and looks as it did when it left the mint with all its finer details intact and with full lustre present.

BUNC - A coin that is in pristine condition as it has come straight from the Royal Mint, untouched, this coin will have no marks at all.

Pound coins are rated as:

Average - All of the 'major' detail can be clearly read, but it is a coin that's suffered considerable wear over the whole of both surfaces and its high spots are worn.
Average + - The design, features, date and lettering are clear but the coin shows considerable wear to all its surfaces, high spots show more detail than an 'Average' coin.

Good - A coin where all the fine detail is present, but not the 'minute' detail and signs of wear and tear to its surface and higher points make it obvious that it has been in circulation.

Great - A coin with much of its mint lustre. Sharp detailing with its high spots suffering from slight wear on close inspection and only minimal light scratches or marks to the surface.

Great + - A coin with sharp detailing, minimal wear to the highest points and most of it's original lustre with light scratches on the surface. Alternatively, a coin with minimal scratches to the surface but with less of its original lustre (brightness).

High - All fine and minute detail is clear, this coin is close to being in uncirculated condition with almost, if not all of its original bright lustre still present.

Uncirculated - A coin that shows no wear, other than bag marks or minor mass production scratches, and looks as it did when it left the mint with all its finer details intact and with full lustre present.

Understanding the Scarcity Rating


When the Royal Mint releases a new coin, the volume they produce varies depending on demand. Over time, coins drop out of circulation due to damage, coins being dropped and lost or they are added to a collection. 

Those coins that have a low production volume are much harder to get hold of due to the large number of collectors.


The Royal Mint ran a survey which showed that 57% of the households they asked, has at least one person that collects coins. Considering there are approximately 25 million homes in the UK, it is easy to see why some coins are so hard to find.


Each coin that we list has been given a Scarcity Rating which is based on two things. Firstly, we look at how many were produced to get an initial idea of their availability. Then we assess whether the coin is easy to get hold of. With some coins, just because there were a lot produced, it doesn't necessarily mean they are easy to get hold of, some coins are more popular than others depending on their theme.


Please refer to the information below to see how the Scarcity Rating works. Every coin has its own Scarcity Rating which can be found on each coin's description page.

Scarcity 1 - A coin that has been released for general circulation and can often be found in amongst your pocket change / A coin commonly found for sale.


Scarcity 2 - A coin that has been released for general circulation. There is a chance that this coin could show up in your change / A coin that is available to buy from a coin retailer.


Scarcity 3 - A coin that was released with a low mintage. You are unlikely to find this coin in your change but it is still available to buy from a coin retailer.


Scarcity 4 - A coin that has either been released into general circulation with a low number produced or is only available to buy new as a Brilliant Uncirculated coin or circulated from a coin seller.


Scarcity 5 - A coin that may have been released for general circulation, you would be extremely lucky to find this coin within your change. This is either due to a very low amount having been produced, or this being a popular coin with collectors and most have been snapped up.

Scarcity 6 - A coin that may have been released for general circulation but at an extremely low volume. A great example is the Kew Gardens 50p. There were only 210,000 of these coins produced and they currently sell for anywhere from £80 for one in worn condition, up to £140.

Scarcity 7 - An example of a Scarcity 7 coin would be a mule coin or a mis-strike. Very unlikely to find in your change and only a few may be available to buy.


Scarcity 8 - There aren't many coins at this level. This is for those coins that you will not find in your change and are very hard or impossible to find one for sale.

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