Currency Grading Standards (PDF form)
Gem Uncirculated (GEMCU)
An almost perfect note. Better than average margins for the series or type. Two of the four margins (on each side) should be relatively even. The embossing needs to be noticable. The paper quality is original and crisp. No aging, fading or pinholes.
Choice CU (CHCU)
A nice new note. Centering may be a little off. May show some aging or light counting smudges or wrinkles. Most embossing will still be present. May show some very, very slight aging. Corners must be square. No bends or folds.
Crisp Uncirculated (CU)
No trace of circulation. Can have centering problems, pin holes, counting smudges, wrinkles, close margins, or a corner tip fold that does not go into the design area.
Almost Uncirculated (AU)
These notes will be much the same as a new note, except for a single centerfold, horizontal fold, or a single corner fold into the design area. An otherwise CU note may fall into this category because of a single fold, a couple of bends, slightly rounded corners, or mishandling.
Extra Fine (XF)
Lightly circulated, will have several (3) folds, but still retains much crispness. Note will be clean and fresh looking with minimal fading. No stains or dirty spots..
Average circulated note with several folds, and will have lost some of its crispness and color. Still an attractive note. May be slightly soiled and have pin holes. No margin edge tears. Creases will not break into the paper disrupting the printed design.
A well circulated note.. Little crispness, rounded corners, wrinkles, multiple folds and a rough edge or two. The design will have a surface disruptions from excessive creasing. .
Very Good (VG)
Note will be fairly well soiled and may be significantly worn. Note could have several pinholes or other distractions. The note may be lightly stained or soiled, the edges will be rough, and there may be a tear in the paper. Colors will be somewhat faded. May have a center wear hole where folds meet, well rounded corners, minor edge splits, but should have no pieces missing.
A heavily circulated note.A generally unattractive note with wear holes, edge splits and tears with small pieces missing. May have dark stains and graffeti from prolonged circulation. Generally a "space filler”.
A note which has been severely abused, ripped and torn and then taped together. These notes have large pieces missing or hanging loose.
Portage, Indiana 46368-0683