The condition of bank notes is of the utmost importance, especially for advanced collections. The Polymer Collection contains bank notes in the best possible state of production and/or preservation. Ideally, such bank notes illustrate the finest examples of fresh notes that came straight off the printing press.
The condition of bank notes is determined through close inspection according to strict international standards, such as those prescribed by the International Bank Note Society. A number of professional grading companies, such as PMG or PCGS, offer independent grading services. PMG is the market leader in world bank note grading, with over 2 million notes graded. The company uses the Sheldon grading scale, with the highest grade being “PMG 70 EPQ ★”, a rare designation awarded to only a handful of top-condition notes, all very desirable and sought after by collectors. The Polymer Collection contains the world's largest number of different notes in this highest possible grade.
Rare bank notes are sometimes not available in “perfect” uncirculated condition. In such cases, the best possible condition must suffice. As an example, some printers’ test notes were subjected to various mechanical or chemical tests and only “damaged” (tested) notes have survived.