A circulated coin graded AU-58 will show the barest trace of wear that may be seen on one or more of the high points of the design. No major detracting contact marks will be present and the coin will have attractive eye appeal and nearly full luster, often with the appearance of a higher grade.
The exact descriptions of circulated grades vary widely from one coin issue to another, so the preceding commentary is only very general. It is essential to refer to the specific descriptions for a particular coin type when grading coins. The correct adjectival term for the "A" in AU is About, not Almost.
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.
Perfecting Your Coin Grading Skills
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 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, copyright 2005 Whitman Publishing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Beyond the Grade
AU-58 is very close to a Mint State coin. You will notice a majority of the mint luster is still present in the protected area of the coins. On copper and silver coins, it still may retain some of its original mint color.
For coins to be considered Mint State there must be no evidence of friction or wear on the coin. This is what usually pushes a coin out of the Mint State uncirculated grades and into the About Uncirculated category. A coin can have a large number of contact marks or bag marks and no evidence of wear. This can make for an ugly but uncirculated Mint State coin.
A knowledgeable coin collector will look for good-looking AU-58 coins that are more attractive and have better eye appeal than low-end Mint State (MS-60 to MS-62) coins. This will give you the ability to add a good-looking coin to your collection at a fraction of the price of a Mint State coin.
Also Known As
Very Choice About Uncirculated-58, About Uncirculated 58, Very Choice About Uncirculated-58, Gem About Uncirculated 58
In Proper Usage
AU stands for About Uncirculated. it does not stand for Almost Uncirculated.
You must look carefully at a coin graded AU-58 to spot the wear on the coin.