Last time we shared some information about collectible coin types and mint marks. When consigning your coins, the following information will help you understand how the values are assigned.
Grades are a way to communicate the condition of a coin. It answers the question, “What type of wear did the coin accumulate?” There are so many variables to account for when grading a coin that it is recommended that you not do it. To get an accurate grade one should seek an unbiased, expert opinion. It takes years of experience to be able to grade a coin correctly. It can get quite complicated, so complicated that even experienced coin collector may miss something or not be sure. What may seem like a very small, insignificant detail can literally be a difference of $100s or $1000s of dollars in value. In some cases it is appropriate to send higher grade coins to a third party grading service like PCGS or NGC. This is a paid service so it’s important that you have some certainty on the grade before it can be sent.
There are 11 grades on the 70 point numerical Scale. These grades are for uncirculated coins. In other words, the coins have not been put into circulation . MS-60, MS-61, MS-62, MS-63, MS 64, MS-65, MS-66, MS-67, MS-68, MS-69, and MS-70. However, most coins are circulated and there are sevearal grades for them as follows: AU-50, XF-40, VF-20, F12, VG-8, G4.
In recent months the purity of a coin has a significant influence on it’s value. The gold and silver markets have been skyrocketing, as a result, the melt value has surpassed the numismatic values on many collectible coins. It’s very important to note that the same type of coin, with the same design and different year can be worth a different amount. Consider the c1964 Kennedy Half and the c1971 Kennedy Half. The c1964 Kennedy has 90% silver purity while the c1971 Kennedy half has copper-nickel clad copper.
As mentioned in Part I, “Collectible coins are quite interesting and daunting at the same time.” Frankly, this short series has not even scratched the surface. The value of odd denominations, rarity and authentication were not mentioned but need consideration. You will need much more study and experience to be considered an expert but hopefully the information helps you make an informed decision. It takes time, determination and a network of reputable experts to earn the best return for your collection.