So you’ve come into possession of a coin. It’s not your typical quarter though – it’s different, one-of-a-kind. Its shin reflects years of history and the long journey it went through before ending up in your collection.
But can you pay your gas bill with it? Or get yourself a bag of chips at the store? Well, forget about that.
That’s of course unless you get it sold and exchange it for cash. But how much should you charge for it? A single blemish on a coin can reduce its value significantly, but similarly, a misplaced letter or a slight variation in minting can skyrocket the price. A coin may have some damages or wear that you might not even notice.
To find out what condition your coin is in and how much it’s worth, it’s best to consult a professional coin grading service.
Wait, what does coin grading mean?
In 1985, seven coin dealers set up PCGS – Professional Coin Grading Service. Their aim – to standardize the coin grading system and provide a template to follow in order to ensure accuracy of the process.
The system PCGS came up with consists of three main components. The first one is a numerical grade given to coins based on the amount of wear. The scale has 70 points, from Mint State (70-60), Almost Uncirculated (59-50), Extra Fine (49-40), Very Fine (39-30), Fine (29-12), Very Good (11-7) and Good (6-4). The last three grades – AG, FR and PO are allocated to coins that are recognizable, but the details and rim have worn off almost completely.
The second component of the PCGS system are designations. This criteria grades the most desirable features and attributes of a given coin. For example, a silver coin would be graded based on its shin and a rating of a piece with a particularly sought-after design would be based on how well it is preserved. While the first criteria is more of a purely technical one, the latter tells about the rarity of the coin, which can largely influence a price.
The last part of the coin grading system by PCGS is the ‘no grade category’ given to coins that are, in some way, deformed, and cannot be graded. This includes, for example, pieces with different or unusual coloring, damage or serious flaws.
While it was PCGS that came up with the grading system, they are far from the only company that offers the coin grading service that works in the US. Be sure to check out other services apart from PCGS as their offer might be more suitable for your individual needs.
Here are some of the most trustworthy coin grading companies:
Professional Coin Grading Service
Yes, PCGS has already made numerous appearances in this article, we know! However, we do need to emphasize the fact that the service has made the top of the 2007 Professional Numismatic Guild ranking of coin dealers, getting the rank of ‘Superior’. That makes it the most reliable coin grading service in the USA.
But let’s get down to the most important thing: how much does it cost to get a coin graded! PCGS offers a plethora of different options – you can get the details here. You should expect to pay between around $20 – $65 for pieces worth between $300 and $20.000, to $150 – $300 for rare pieces valued between $20.000 and $100.000.
Numismatic Guaranty Corporation
Another service, which scored ‘Superior’ in the PNG ranking, NGC is a privately held coin grader set up in 1987 in New Jersey. Since 2004, it actually was PNG’s official coin grading service, which says a lot about its trustworthiness.
Similarly to PCGS, NGC’s pricing depends on coin’s value, processing speed and any additional services their customer might need. The price brackets are, however, lower, especially at the highest tiers, with a 24 hour turnaround costing between $150 and $250 for coins valued either up to $100.000 or without an upper limit. For coins worth up to $10.000, the NGC charges between $17 and $60, depending on coin’s value and the processing speed. The details can be found here.
Independent Coin Graders
Set up in 1998 with a goal to be as unbiased as possible when grading coins, ICG is yet another trusted service. While focusing on reliability, ICG cuts down on the paperwork, which makes their service particularly accessible and very reasonably priced. At the same time, they tend to work with coins valued below $10.000, which makes them a more suitable service for more casual collectors.
Independent Coin Graders’ services start at $12 for coins worth up to $500 and end at $90 for pieces worth up to $10.000. Get the details here.
Founded in 1972 by the American Numismatic Association, ANACS is the oldest coin grading service in the US and the one that actually pioneered the third-party grading discipline.
ANACS prices start at $12 per coin valued up to $500 and end at $100 per coin valued up to $25.000. It’s therefore a service with similar prices as ICG, but with a bigger upper price limit. That makes is more suitable for more advanced collectors looking to sell valuable pieces.
Okay, but is coin grading actually worth it? Why should one go through all the effort and PAY for it?
Grading can help you make the most out of your coin. It’s a stamp of approval from legitimate companies based on a trusted system. Coin grading compares your piece to others of identical currency, year and edition determining its place not only among the same pieces, but also the entire coin industry, giving you a comprehensive image of the rarity and damage of the coin you own.
But what are the direct benefits of coin grading during the sales process at a dealership? How does coin grading influence the price?
Coin grading will give you a leverage during negotiations making it possible for you to strike a more favorable deal. Having a numeric grade next to your coin will also allow you to avoid scams, as you will be more or less aware of how much it is worth. Getting your coins graded is all about giving you more control over the price of your pieces. It’s a choice for more conscious coin owners who want to make the most out of what they have. A maximum of $300 investment into getting your coin graded can result in several hundred or (tens of) thousand more in your pocket after finalizing a sale. According to us, it can make all the difference for you and your coin collection.
You can find more information on https://spot4coins.com/.