The great number of QSAs on the market and the century since they were first issues means that the modern medal collector can face an array of problems with QSAs. Some of these are described below.
When dealers describe a QSA in a catalogue, they will use standard and short-hand terms to refer to the condition of a medal.
There are a standard set of definitions for the condition of a medal. While the definitions are well established, the interpretation of them continues to be subjective to a small degree. The classifications, in order of quality from highest to lowest, are:
Mint or FDC: In perfect state. FDC is an abbreviation for the French Fleur de coin
EF: Extremely fine
VF: Very fine
The prefix 'N' is often seen but only with EF and VF. This means 'near'. NEF would be the classification just below EF quality. 'G' is another prefix used with EF and VF. It means 'generally'. The word 'good' (or its abbreviation 'gd') can also be seen before EF and VF. This is the opposite of 'near'. The spectrum of quality of an EF medal is therefore:
This is where is becomes very subjective.
Once the condition of the medal has been described, any other flaws will also be noted. These could include: