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Trying to determine a coin’s value?
Before you can determine the value of a coin, you first need to know the “grade” of your coin.
In fact, coin grade is simply one of a number of factors that must be determined in order to find the true value of your coin.
Professional Coin Grading Services
Determining the grade of a coin is very serious business!
There are professional coin agencies and experts who do coin grading for a living… full-time… for pay.
These 3 are the most widely respected and trusted:
- Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS)
…”The Standard For The Rare Coin Industry”
- American Numismatic Association Certification Service (ANACS)
…”America’s Oldest Grading Service”
- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC)
…”The World’s Largest and Most Respected Third-Party Coin Grading Service”
Check out this PCGS coin grading video to see exactly how your coins get graded!
How The Pro’s Grade Coins
To give you an idea, check out this 19-part article that just describes the intricate process of determine the grade of a coin.
You see, there is a somewhat complicated formula that coin experts use to accurately determine “grade”.
The biggest thing to remember when trying to find the value of coins, is that a qualified coin expert must visually examine your coin, in order to determine its true value.
Basic Coin Grades Explained
Coin grades are determined by the levels of “wear” that a coin has. These levels of wear are what make it possible for coin collectors to determine a coin’s ultimate value.
A coin with less wear generally has a higher value than the same coin with less wear.
Since you can find detailed information about coin wear in various coin books and online, I will simply summarize the basic coin grades (or levels of “wear”) here:
General coin grades and their abbreviations:
- FDC (Fleur-de-Coin) – Absolutely flawless, there is no sign of wear, no scratches or fingerprints
- Unc (Uncirculated) – In new condition, as issued by the U.S. Mint, but not perfect
- EF or XF (Extremely Fine) – There are slight surface marks or wear that is visible upon close examination
- VF (Very Fine) – There is some wear on the raised surfaces, but the main features are still sharp and have good detail
- F (Fine) – There is considerable wear on the raised surfaces, but the main features are still sharp and have good detail
- fr (Fair) – Very worn, but the main features are still distinguishable
- poor (Poor or Worn) – Some features and lettering are worn away
Remember, coin grading is not a science. It is not precise. For that reason, it is wise to get the opinion of more than one coin professional in order to determine the exact grade of your coin.
I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).