Defining Abbreviations & Terms Used in the Catalog and How Grading Works

We try to not use many abbreviations, but when we do, here is what you need to know.

Authentication Abbreviations
ANACSSecondary coins authentication & grading company
CGASecondary currency authentication & grading company
CGCMain comic books authentication & grading company
COACertificate of Authenticity
JSA *Secondary autograph authentication company
LOALetter of Authenticity
NGCCo-main coins authentication & grading company
PCGSCo-main coins & main currency authentication & grading company
PMGSecondary currency authentication & grading company
PSAMain cards & tickets authentication & grading company
PSA/DNA *Main autograph authentication & grading company
SGCSecondary sports card authentication & grading company
*99% of our autographs are authenticated in-house by autograph expert Nate D. Sanders and not PSA/DNA or JSA. All autographs are guaranteed to pass authentication at PSA/DNA or JSA if you decide to submit there. Although there are those vehemently opposed to PSA/DNA & JSA and even Nate D. Sanders has disagreed with them, Nate feels PSA/DNA is still the best autograph authentication company in the business. Nate does feel that his autograph authentication is superior to all the autograph authentication companies but he does not have any desire to professionally authenticate. He has been authenticating autographs for decades before JSA and PSA/DNA existed and even longer than PSA/DNA's and JSA's main authenticators. Nate's experience authenticating autographs began in the 1980's whereas the current autograph authentication companies have graders who began grading sports autographs in the late 1990's and other genres of autographs only after 2000.
Grading in Coins & Currency
70finest
1lowest
Pop Population or census number of a particular coin or currency in the corresponding grade. The higher the grade combined with the lower population, the rarer and more expensive it is. The number occasionally found after the population number is the number of coins & currency graded higher than the specimen you are looking at.
ExamplePCGS 70, Pop 1/0 - the highest graded, only one known in this grade and none graded better
Grading in Autographs, Cards, Comic Books & Tickets
10finest
1lowest
PopPopulation or census number is mostly used for cards & comic books. The higher the grade combined with the lower population, the rarer and more expensive it is.
ExamplePSA 10, Pop 1 of 1 -- the highest graded, only one known in this grade
QualifiersPSA uses “qualifiers” to describe graded cards with some defects. Cards with qualifiers are worth less. Two common qualifier abbreviations are:
MCmiscut
OCoff-center
Autograph Abbreviations
ALSLetter handwritten & signed by the author
DSDocument signed by the subject
LSLetter written by another person & signed by the author
TLSLetter typed & signed by the author
SPSigned photograph
Rare Book Abbreviations
1st/1stFirst edition / first printing. If the book is a not a 1st/1st, it is not the true first edition/ first printing of the book (it is a later edition or a later first edition printing).
FfepFront free endpaper
PpNumber of pages
VolsNumber of volumes
Graded Coins & Currency Commonly-Used Abbreviations & Glossary
AUAbout Uncirculated corresponding to grades AU 50 - 58. Defined as appearing to be uncirculated but upon closer look has slight friction or rub.
CCoins minted in Charlotte, NC
Cameo or CAMThe term applied to coins, usually Proofs and prooflike coins, that have frosted devices and lettering that contrast with the fields. When this is deep the coins are said to be “black and white” cameos. Occasionally frosty coins have “cameo” devices though they obviously do not contrast as dramatically with the fields as the cameo devices of Proofs do. Specifically applied by PCGS to those 1950 and later Proofs that meet cameo standards (CAM).
CCCoins minted in Carson City, NV
DGold coins minted in Dahlonega, GA from 1838 - 1861 and coins in generals from 1906 to present in Denver, CO
DC or DCAMDeep cameo as explained in “Cameo” above
DMPLDeep mirror proof-like
EagleGold coin equaling $10. Thus a double eagle is $20 and a half eagle is $5
EFExtremely fine for grades 40 - 45.
EPQCurrency term, “Exceptional Paper Quality,” a designation used by PMG graders for notes that bear all the hallmarks of originality. These are notes that have not been physically, chemically or materially processed to lend the appearance of a higher grade.
FieldThe portion of the coin where there is no design
FBL“Full Bell Lines” is an indication of the sharpness of strike on the Franklin 50c Liberty Bell. This term is used when the lower set of lines on the Liberty Bell are complete. Only well struck coins will have this designation.
Fr.Friedberg Number refers to Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg’s “Paper Money of the United States,” the authoritative reference for US currency. Every piece of currency bears a Friedberg number.
LD, LL, MD, ML, SD & SLD stands for date, L for large and letters, M is for medium and S is small. Date refers to the size of the digits on the coins.
MSMint State corresponding to the numerical grades MS-60 through MS-70, used to denote a business strike coin that never has been in circulation. A Mint State coin can range from one that is covered with marks (MS-60) to a flawless example (MS-70).
MuleWhere one coin or currency has the front and reverse from two different coins or currency.
OCoins minted in New Orleans, LA
PCoins minted in Philadelphia, PA
PLProoflike which is a term to designate a coin that has mirror-like surfaces, the term especially applicable to Morgan dollars. Those Morgan dollars that meet PCGS prooflike standards are designated PL
PPQCurrency term, “Premium Paper Quality” for notes that bear all the hallmarks of complete originality and outstanding paper quality for the grade. These are notes that bear no visible evidence of restoration and that retain all signs of fully original paper quality, such as paper wave, embossing, and bold ink color and eye appeal, and that also have above average paper for the grade that is free of defects such as tears, pinholes, or other problems. It should be understood that even though a note may be fully original and free of any restoration, it still might not qualify for the “PPQ&rdqu; designation
PRProof which is a coin usually struck from a specially prepared coin die on a specially prepared planchet. Proofs are usually given more than one blow from the dies and are usually struck with presses operating at slower speeds and higher striking pressure. Because of this extra care, Proofs usually exhibit much sharper detail than regular, or business, strikes. PCGS recognizes Proofs (PR) as those struck in 1817 and later. Those coins struck prior to 1817 are recognized as Specimen strikes (SP)
RBCoin red and brown
RDRed coin defined as a term used for a copper coin that still retains 95 percent or more of its original mint bloom or color
ReliefThe height of the devices of a particular coin design, expressed in relation to the fields
SCoins minted in San Francisco, CA
UNCUncirculated
V-NickelCommon name for the Liberty Head five-cent coins struck from 1883 through 1912. (The 1913 was struck clandestinely and is not listed in Mint reports)
VFVery Fine corresponding to grades VF 20 - 35. This has the broadest range of any circulated grade, with nearly full detail on some VF-35 coins and less than half on some VF-20 specimens
WCoins minted in West Point, NY
XFExtremely Fine corresponding to grades XF40 - 45. An XF coin will show light wear on only the highest points and often still shows mint luster.