Professionally Grading Your Coins
There are a wide variety of coin grading services and companies available. This page will help you decide which company to select for your needs, which companies you can trust, and educate the novice collector about coin grading.
What is coin grading?
Coin grading is a term used to describe the physical condition of a coin. Many different companies offer professional coin grading services. This is commonly referred to as getting a coin certified. The grading company encapsulates the coin, verifies the authenticity, and gives it a grade. It is also referred to as buying a “slabbed” or a coin in a “holder”.
Why should I have my coins professionally graded?
Having your coins professionally graded is a great way to have a solid and trusted opinion about the grade of a coin. If a reliable third party guarantees your coin is a specific grade, even the most crooked of coin dealers will have a difficult time arguing (but they will!). The only thing left is to negotiate the price.
Where should I have my coins graded?
There are four trusted grading companies in the US. There are hundreds of other companies, but most of them are under-qualified and will over-grade (say a coin is better than it actually is). See more about this in Coin Scams.
Below are the four trusted grading companies in order of collector popularity and quality.
- PCGS – (Professional Coin Grading Society)
- NGC – (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation)
- ANACS – (American Numismatic Association Certification Service)
- ICG – (Independent Coin Graders)
Aren’t all grading companies the same?
ABSOLUTELY NOT! If the grading company you are about to use is not on this list, you are quite possibly wasting your money. For example, I’ve seen grading company with a yellow tag, and EVERY coin I have ever seen has been MS 70 (flawless). Grading services like this are crooked at best. Inflating the grade makes the coin appear more valuable to the novice collector, encourages over charging, and most importantly, and furthermore, severely damages the reputation, hobby, and business of numismatics.