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Collector's Corner: Accessories - Storing - Packaging - Appraisal - Grading

Inspection and Grading

In order to grade your banknote, you must perform a thorough inspection to identify watermarks, security features, and any imperfections. Before handling your notes, make sure your hands are clean and dry. Always use the greatest caution when dealing with your notes.

To begin you will need a strong white light. Hold the note against the light and move it around until you identify the watermark. You should also notice the notes' security features; these may include a security thread, a hologram, or an iridescent stripe. Today there are over thirty kinds of security features; to guarantee the authenticity of your notes, you should familiarize yourself with them.
The site is a good place to start.

Keeping the note against the light, investigate it for any marks that may affect its grade. Such marks are folds or creases which break the surface of the note, tears, and any missing parts. Look closely for pinholes, dirt and handwriting. Always be sure to inspect both the front and back of your note. Do not overlook any mark as even the slightest flaw may result in a drop in the grade.


Grading is the definition of the exact condition of the Banknote. It takes experience and is the most important factor in determining a price.

The highest grade is UNC; it is so obvious that everyone will know and agree about what is UNC.
Other grades as mentioned below may vary from one collector to another, but we are trying to highlight the most common standards.

UNC (uncirculated)

• A perfectly preserved note with crisp clean paper and sharp square corners .
AU (About Uncirculated)

• It is an almost perfect note showing evidence of little handling .
• It may have a small fold from bank counting at one corner or one longer fold running through the center of the banknote.
• Any banknote with evidence of a crease (a strong fold which breaks the surface of the paper) will NOT be considered AU.

XF Or EF (Extremely Fine)

• A very attractive note showing evidence of light handling .
• It may have some light folds or one strong crease .
• Paper is clean and corners are slightly rounded.

VF (Very Fine)

• This banknote is still attractive but may have several folds vertically and horizontally .
• It is not very clean.
• The border area is in tact, showing no tears, but slight wear .
• Corners, although not completely sharp, are not completely rounded either.

F (Fine)

• It is a well circulated note, with much wear .
• This banknote has many folds, creases and wrinkles.
• is probably more soft than firm, and not very clean.
• Edges show considerable amount of wear, but any tear do not extend into the design .
• Although this note may contain staple holes or pinholes, it will not have a center hole due to excessive folding.

VG (Very Good)

• It is a well used note, but no pieces missing.
• Corners are rounded and contain tears that may stretch into the design.
• The paper may have some discoloration and a small hole may be seen at the center due to excessive folding.
• The upshot, a note in this condition is not necessarily unattractive.

G (Good)

• It is a well used and heavily circulated note.
• Note may be dirty and will have multiple folds and creases, pin holes, discoloration, edge tears, center hole, and rounded corners.
• No large pieces of the note are missing.
• As a whole, it is an unattractive note.

P (Poor)

• It is a note with several missing pieces, showing much wear and staining.
• Torn pieces of the note may be held together with tape.
• This is a completely undesirable note; collectors may purchase it only if no other note of its kind is available .

Some collectors may add 'a' or 'g' before a certain grade; 'a' in front of a grade means 'about' or 'almost' that grade 'g' in front of a grade means 'better than' that grade.
Some may add a '+' or a '-' after a certain grade which means that note is either more than or less than that grade.

If you are having difficulty determining the grade of a note, make a scan of high resolution and send it to an expert, a friend, or to us!! We will be more than happy to assist you in grading your notes!

Chart of Grading Terms in Italian, English and French

Italiano English Francais
FDS - Fior di Stampa UNC - Uncirculated NEUF
SUP - Superbo AU - About Uncirculated SPL - Splendide
SPL - Splendido XF or EF - Extremely Fine SUP - Superbe
BB - Bellissimo VF - Very Fine TTB - Très très beau
MB - Molto bello F - Fine TB - Très beau