PMG Designates Exceptional Paper Quality (EPQ)

Posted on 11/23/2006

PMG uses the designation Exceptional Paper Quality (EPQ) for notes that, in the opinion of PMG graders, are original. By original, we mean that a note has not been physically, chemically, or materially processed to lend the appearance of a higher grade. PMG graders examine the embossing, inks, and overall integrity of each note to make the determination whether it will qualify for EPQ. Notes exhibiting normal wear-and-tear for their respective grades are eligible; normal wear may include factors affecting grade such as counting marks and folds. Notes receiving the EPQ designation must furthermore be unrestored. A restored note has had non-original material added to bring its appearance to a known or assumed state.

For currency to grade Gem Uncirculated 65 or higher, it must also receive the EPQ designation. No note meeting PMG’s standards for the Gem Uncirculated grade can have had its appearance altered to achieve this grade, and thus the highest grade assigned by PMG without the EPQ designation is Choice Uncirculated 64.

As of January 2020, the minimum grade for which a note becomes eligible for the EPQ designation is Very Fine 20.

A note receiving the EPQ designation will have the letters ‘EPQ’ appearing to the right of the grade on the PMG label. Prior to mid-November 2006, the words, “Exceptional Paper Quality” appeared on the back of the PMG label to signify this designation. Notes graded prior to this change may be submitted for ReHolder Service to receive this new label format for a $12 fee.

PMG has never graded a note Gem Uncirculated 65 or higher that will not qualify for the EPQ designation. So all notes graded Gem Uncirculated 65 and above, regardless of their date of certification, will automatically qualify for the EPQ designation and may be submitted for the ReHolder Service for the $12 fee.

The EPQ designation was not in regular use before November 2005; notes graded before this date may be re-submitted for grading and encapsulation to see if they qualify for the EPQ designation.

The letters "EPQ," appearing just to the right of the grade, stand for "Exceptional Paper Quality."
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The graders' comment, "Exceptional Paper Quality," is reiterated on back of the PMG label.
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