PCGS Currency - Our Grading Standards Untitled Page
Our Grading Standards


PCGS Currency will utilize a numerical 70-point system to determine the overall grade or condition of a note. The 70-point system is familiar to both coin and currency collectors and dealers as the system used by PCGS and other major coin grading services. The major levels of preservation used in the coin grading system are retained here, with 60 through 70 reserved for New or uncirculated notes, 50 through 58 for AU, and on down the line.
Holders with green colored security tape seals will be given to all genuine notes. They will be assigned a numerical grade commensurate within the framework detailed on the following pages.
To distinguish notes that bear all the hallmarks of complete originality and outstanding paper quality for the grade, we will affix a “PPQ” (Premium Paper Quality) designation to the grade (e.g.: “Gem New 65PPQ”). 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. “PPQ” notes should also have above average paper for the grade that is free of defects such as tears, pinholes, or other problems. This is not done to penalize those notes that are not fully original, as many are very collectible and highly valuable. Instead, this system is designed to reward those notes, both circulated and New, that possess premium paper quality and complete originality. 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” designation. 
Unlike coins, we will authenticate and grade currency that has damage or other problems, or that has been restored. Sometimes whatever work was done to a note will be detracting and make it less valuable. Other times the notes will be conserved in such a way to make the note presentable and collectible. Many notes are so rare that even a heavily restored example might remain one of the best available. Notes that have major faults such as tears, splits, holes, missing pieces or have been subject to major restoration, such as repaired tears or splits, redrawing of the design, bleaching of the paper, or even reconstruction of missing pieces, will be assigned a “problem note” designation. Such problems will be noted on the grading label. In these cases we will assign an “Apparent” grade followed by a brief and concise description of the problems or repairs. The “Apparent” grade will equate to what the note would have graded without the mentioned problems. For example, “Apparent VF30, bleached and starched” might be a description of a problem note, as might “Apparent XF45, upper-right corner restored”. No net grade will be given. 
Notes that fall below the Good 4 grade will be given an “Apparent” grade only if there is restoration work done, as it is assumed that notes below this grade will have visible problems that are inherent to the grade.