How Much Does It Cost To Get Coins Graded?

Have you purchased some precious metal coins or inherited them from a family member and are interested in seeing how much they are worth? Well the first step in valuing a gold coin or silver coin is to get the coin graded. Coin grading is the professional process used by coin collectors and brokers to determine what the current condition of a coin. Coins that are in better conditions will typically be worth more money and provide peace of mind for both buyers and sellers.

Coin grading is an essential part of the coin investing and coin collecting process. In this article you will learn what coin grading is as well as how much it costs to get a coin graded.

What Is Coin Grading?

Coin grading is the process used by coin collectors and investors to determine the current quality and condition of a specific coin. The grading process is used by investors and coin collectors to have a better understanding of the overall appearance and quality of a coin. This allows the investor to have a better understanding of the value of the coin.

A coin grading company will use a variety of different techniques and tools to evaluate the quality of your coin. This can range from a visual analysis with a loupe or magnifying glass. Some coin grading strategies will test the authenticity and hardness of different coins using a variety of different testing tools.

Most coin grading companies will use the Sheldon Scale to evaluate and classify the current condition of a coin.

Below are the different grades included in the Sheldon Scale:

  • Mint State (MS) 60 – 70
  • About Uncirculated (AU) 50 – 60
  • Extra Fine Condition (EF) 40, 45
  • Very Fine Condition (VF) 20, 30, 35
  • Fine Condition (F) 12, 15
  • Very Good Condition (VG) 08, 10
  • Good Condition (G) 04, 06
  • About Good (AG) 03
  • Poor Condition (P) 01, 02

After a coin grading company evaluates your coin they will give it one of the grades above and then seal the coin in a protection casing with a full report of their findings. A coin that receives a Mint State or MS-70 grading is the highest quality condition possible whereas a coin that receives a Poor condition or PO-01 is the worst condition.

Coin Grading Criteria

There are multiple different coin grading systems that will vary slightly depending on which company is grading your coin but the overall grading criteria are typically similar. There are six different coin grading criteria that will be reviewed and evaluated during the coin grading process. These are the six different criteria:

  • Strike
  • Preservation
  • Luster
  • Color
  • Attractiveness
  • Eye appeal
  • Also: Country / State / or Location the coin is minted.

Some coin grading companies will use these criteria whereas other companies will add on their own additional criteria to give their client a further review of the current condition of the coin.

Why Is Coin Grading Important?

Coin grading is important because it will give a coin a thorough quality and condition review so that investors understand the current state of the coin. The coin grader will not provide a valuation to the coin but they will grade the current condition and health of the coin. Typically, coins with better condition grades on the Sheldon Scale will be worth more money but assigning a price to a coin is the responsibility of an appraisal service.

If you are looking to sell a gold or silver coin that you have then it is important to get the coin graded beforehand as it will help you understand the potential value of the coin but will also make it easier to sell with a coin grading certificate. When you are looking to buy or sell more expensive coins then it might be required to have the coin graded before you are allow to sell it on certain marketplaces.

How Much Does It Cost To Get Coins Graded?

There are many different places that you can get your coins graded but the two most popular coin grading companies are Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC). PCGS is located in Newport Beach, California whereas NGC is located in Sarasota, Florida. You are able to visit each location in person if you live nearby or you are able to ship your coins into them if you live further away.

In order to get your coin professionally graded by PCGS or NGC there will be a few different costs involved. Each company only provides coin grading services for individuals who have signed up for their membership. Memberships will give you access to coin grading services but also give you access to exclusive promotions, exclusive content, and more.

Below are the membership costs for Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS):

  • Silver Membership ($69 per year)
  • Gold Membership ($149 per year)
  • Platinum Membership ($249 per year)

The different levels of membership for PCGS will provide you with different amounts of coin grading services but will also provide you with different amounts of exclusive content. The more expensive membership, the platinum membership will provide you with a number of complimentary coin grading services upon signing up but you will also receive a variety of exclusive content such as trade shows and investment guides.

Below are the membership costs for Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC):

  • Free Membership ($0 per year)
  • Associate Membership ($25 per year)
  • Premium Membership ($149 per year)
  • Elite Membership ($299 per year)

NGC provides a free membership that provides you with access to their online resource library and free content but does not provide you with coin grading services. In order to have access to coin grading services you must signup for at least the “associate membership” but the more expensive membership packages will provide you with better deals and more exclusive content.

For both NGC and PCGS you can expect to pay a membership fee as well as a per coin fee in order to get your coins graded. These two companies are the most well known and respected in the coin grading industry which will provide more authenticity to your coins.

There are also local coin grading services that might be cheaper or more affordable compared to NGC and PCGS but typically the quality of their work won’t be as high and some investors will actually require you to get your coins graded by NGC or PCGS before you are able to sell them.

The cost of coin grading will vary based on which provider you use as well as what type of coin you have but you can expect to pay a yearly membership fee as well as an upfront fee for each coin you get graded. This upfront fee per coin can range from as cheap as $10 to up to $100 depending on the type of coin you are getting graded.

Different Types of Coin Grading Systems

There are multiple different types of coin grading systems which will impact the quality of the review but also the cost of getting your coins graded. Over the past thousand years, humans have attempted to develop systems of coin grading to prove the authenticity and condition of different coins. Some systems that have been developed are better than others. Below are the most popular types of coin grading systems and how much they typically cost to get your coin graded.

Sheldon Grading System

The most popular coin grading system is the Sheldon Grading System which was invented in 1948 by Dr. William Herbert Sheldon. This coin grading system is most popularly used by the largest coin grading companies in America such as NGC and PCGS. This coin grading scale rates a coin’s condition on a scale of 1 to 70, with 70 being the highest quality of condition.

European Coin Grading System

The coin grading process in Europe varies greatly depending on what country you are operating in. Most European countries use a system of coin grading that is based on the Sheldon Grading System but varies with the different terminology and adjectives used. European coin grading systems will measure the condition of a coin that ranges from “good condition” all the way up to “Mint State”.

American Numismatic Association Scale

In 1978, the American Numismatic Association published the “Official American Numismatic Association Grading System for United States Coins. It is similar to the Sheldon grading scale in the fact that it helps to categorize coins into different conditions that range from “Mint State” to “About Good”. The A.N.A Grading Scale does not contain the lowest grading scales “fair condition” or “poor condition” which makes it less often times used compared to other grading scales such as the Sheldon Coin Grading Scale.

Where Can I Get My Coins Graded?

There are many different places that you can get your coin graded but most professional coin collectors, investors, or brokers will trust their coin grading systems to the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) or Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) as these are the two most established coin grading companies. If you are looking for the highest quality coin grading service then we highly recommend you use either of these services because they are trustworthy and will provide you with the highest quality review of your coin’s conditions.

There are also other places that you can get your coin graded such as local coin grading services or even some pawn shops. These services will typically be less reliable or trustworthy but will also typically be more affordable. If you are working with rare or expensive gold coins or silver coins then we don’t recommend that you trust local coin grading services as it is difficult to understand what kind of quality of service you will receive from them.

How To Submit A Coin For Grading

If you are interested in getting a coin graded then the process is pretty simple. The first thing you must do is pick the company or agency that will perform the coin grading service. This could be an international company or a local coin grading service. If you choose an online coin grading service then you might be required to sign up for a membership package in order to get your coins graded.

Once you have chosen your coin grading agency or service provider then you will complete the submission form in order to give some background knowledge on the coin, your insurance details if applicable, as well as your personal information. After your coin submission form is accepted then your coin grading service will send you the details for shipping your coin to their head quarters.

After you ship your coin to your coin grading agency then you can expect the grading process to take anywhere from 1-3 weeks. After your coin is graded you can expect to receive your coin back in an airtight sealed plastic wrapper along with you complete coin grading report. This report will provide you with all of the details and explanation of your coin’s current condition.

Below is the coin grading process summarized:

  • Select coin grading agency or service provider.
  • Sign up for an exclusive membership with provider if necessary.
  • Fill out the coin submission form with coin details, insurance details, as well as your personal information.
  • Pay for the coin grading service.
  • Send your coin to the grading agency.
  • Expect around two weeks for the grading process to be completed.
  • You will then receive your coin back in an airtight seal along with your grade certification and full report on the condition of your coin.
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Andrew Thompson

Andrew Thompson is the founder of Precious Metals Guy and has been investing in precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, and more for over 20 years. He firmly believes that precious metal can be a great long term investment strategy for every investor or collector. Andrew has been featured or quoted in Investopedia, Business Insider, Forbes

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