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Learn Grading: British Gold Sovereigns

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NGC - British Gold Sovereigns have been struck for more than 200 years and are extremely popular with collectors. Most collectors seek examples in Uncirculated grade range, which starts at MS 60. This article explores the subtle differences between these grades.

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NGC uses a numeric grade to succinctly describe a problem-free coin's condition. NGC's Coin Grading Scale is based on the internationally accepted Sheldon Scale, which runs from 1 to 70.

The numeric grade is typically preceded by an abbreviation that indicates the way the coin was struck and, for circulation issues, its approximate condition. The numeric grade is sometimes followed by a designation called a "strike character" that sheds further light on the coin's condition. Examples of NGC grades include NGC MS 62 and NGC PF 68 Ultra Cameo.

First struck in 1817, the famous British Gold Sovereign once circulated throughout the British Empire. Today, they no longer circulate, but they continue to be issued and are extremely popular with collectors around the world. These coins, however, can be quite challenging to grade because they have been struck at numerous mints across the British Empire for more than 200 years. Here we examine the grades typically seen for British Gold Sovereigns.

MS 67

An MS 67 gold sovereign must have strong luster and strike but, considering the manner in which they were often stored, some bag marks and very light abrasions are still acceptable.

Luster: Must be very strong and unimpaired. The coin should be flashy.
Contact Marks: Minor abrasions in the prime focal areas might be seen along with contact marks in less visible areas.
Strike: Must be complete and full.
Eye Appeal: Must be very good.

MS 66

At the MS 66 level, the luster and strike must still be strong. More abrasions are acceptable, however, even in the prime focal areas. An MS 66 must still have strong eye appeal, but it can have negative issues, such as luster grazes or bag marks.

Luster: Must be strong and unimpaired.
Contact Marks: Minor to moderate abrasions in the prime focal areas might be seen, along with some contact marks in the fields.
Strike: Must be strong but some minor weakness is permissible.
Eye Appeal: Must be good.

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