MS-70 – Official A.N.A. Definition of Grade MS-70

1994 Jefferson Nickel Graded MS-70
1994-P Jefferson Nickel Graded MS-70. Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries,


A coin graded MS-70 is the perfect coin. Has very attractive sharp strike and original luster of the highest quality for the date and mint. No contact marks are visible under magnification. There are no noticeable hairlines, scuff marks, or defects. Eye appeal is attractive and outstanding. If copper, the coin is bright, with full original color and luster.

Quality Characteristics

Contact Marks: None show under magnification.

Hairlines: None show under magnification. • Luster: Very attractive. Fully original. • Eye Appeal: Outstanding.

Grading Interpretation

The ANA has not established equivalent official adjectives for the listings within the MS-60 to MS-70 range. Commercially, MS-70 coins are often called Perfect Uncirculated, MS-65 coins Gem Uncirculated, and MS-63 coins Choice Uncirculated. In the past, these and other adjective have been used to designate various grades of condition.

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 in order to determine in general what is considered to be MS-63, MS-64, MS-65, and higher grades.

Coins minted prior to 1836 often show minor weaknesses or friction spots even though they may never have been used in circulation. Such coins are often graded as Mint State rather than About Uncirculated, when they have superior eye appeal, luster, strike, or appearance.

Reproduced with permission from The Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards for United States Coins, 6th edition, © 2005 Whitman Publishing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Beyond the Grade

Most people who are not coin collectors nor numismatists would look at a bright shiny coin and considerate it absolute perfection. However, coin grading is more than just "how shiny a coin is." All the characteristics of a coin must be considered when grading Mint State coins.

The first characteristic that a professional coin grader will consider is to see if the coin has any evidence of wear on it from being in circulation. This is done by looking at the high points of the coin's design to see if there is any metal that has been removed by friction. 

Next the coin will be rotated and tilted under a light to evaluate the coin's luster. If the luster is unbroken and continuous across the entire surface of the coin, it is eligible for Mint State grading.

The coin is then carefully inspected to see if there are any contact marks that occurred during the manufacturing process. To qualify for MS-70 there must be no contact marks visible even under magnification.

Finally, the the quality of the strike and over all eye appeal are evaluated. If the coin is fully struck and there are no other distracting characteristics on the coin, it will then earn the MS-70 grade.

Also Known As

Mint State 70, MS70, Perfect Uncirculated

Example Usage

A coin graded MS-70 is usually a condition rarity.

Next lower grade: MS-69