By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for PCGS ……
There’s no question that grade matters in coin collecting. When it comes to grading, the Sheldon Scale rules, with its 70-point numerical grading basis that denotes the grade of a coin on a scale ranging from 1 (the lowest grade) to 70 (the highest).
Along that grading spectrum, certain thresholds seem to receive special attention. Certainly this is the case with MS70, which describes a coin that is “fully struck and lustrous, free of visual marks,” as the PCGS grading standard notes. Then there’s MS60 – the lowest uncirculated grade, and as the PCGS grading standard remarks, “No wear. May be poorly struck with many heavy marks or hairlines.”
Many collectors who want an uncirculated coin without the high prices frequently associated with MS68, MS69, or certainly MS70 specimens (when they are available, that is) will look lower on the grading scale for lower prices. But they often avoid the MS60 tier because these coins, while without wear, may not necessarily possess the eye appeal they desire. This is where the MS64 grade point comes into play for collectors.
As the PCGS grading standard describes of the MS64 grade, coins in this grade have “Average or better strike with scattered marks or hairlines, though none severe.”
The MS64 grade is sort of in the middle of the uncirculated grading range, and it is frequently the type of grade a “typical” nice uncirculated coin might achieve. As uncirculated coins are often plentiful in this grade, prices tend to be more affordable than for those even just one or two grade points up, in MS65 or MS66. Yet, the eye appeal of a typical MS64 coin is such that it provides decent strike and eye appeal – more so than an MS60 or MS61 coin might offer.
Another reason collectors find the MS64 grade noteworthy? The PCGS Set Registry uses MS64 as the top grade cap for Everyman Mint State Registry Sets, which provide collectors affordable alternatives for building sets that can garner top honors in the PCGS Set Registry Awards!
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For more information from PCGS, click on the image below.