The best way to legitimize the most valuable coins in your collection is to have them certified by a grading service. The process is simple but collectors should understand the basics of grading so that expectations do not exceed the reality of a coin’s condition. Collectors should also have enough knowledge to be able to determine which coins in their collection are appropriate to send in for grading. If needed, contact a trusted numismatic professional for advice.
A grade refers to terminology created by numismatists to indicate the appearance of a coin. There are generally five main components which determine a coin’s grade: strike, luster, coloration, eye appeal, and surface preservation. A higher grade will generally result in a higher estimated value for a coin. For a greater explanation of the grading process, please look for our future article on the subject.
There are other reasons to grade a coin apart from assigning value. After the grading process is completed coins are put into specially designed plastic holders that preserve them (often referred to a slabs). The holders also have information about the coin printed on them. The grade, denomination, mint mark, date, and grading service grading service are provided in this information. Besides preservation, grading provides assurance between buyers and sellers as to the legitimate state, and therefore value, of the coin. Disputes occasionally arise regarding the grade of a certified coin. However, disputes will frequently arise regarding the grade of a noncertified coin.
The steps to get a coin certified are simple. It should be again noted that educated collectors familiar with grading will have less disappointment when it comes to someone else examining and placing a judgment on their coins. Individuals unfamiliar with the process should have an understanding that professional certification is a cynical business and necessarily seeks out all imperfections in a given specimen. The most trusted and widely used certification agencies are Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), and American Numismatic Association Certification Service (ANACS). Information on how to get a coin certified is readily available on each services’ web site. It should be noted that D&J Coins does not have any financial incentive in recommending these services. Following are some examples of coins certified by each service along with links to each organizations’ web site.