Coin Grading – Professional or Self Graded?
What good is a silver coin if you are not going to have it graded, right? Of course, you want to know how much your coin is worth. Either for selling purposes in the future or simply for showing off the worth of your collection to friends and fellow numismatists. The best and surest way to get an accurate grade of your silver coin is to have it appraised by a professional. There are organizations that do this kind of thing like the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) or the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) or ANACS which is created by the American Numismatic Association. However, not all collectors, especially the small-time ones, have the means to get professional advice. Or most of the time, you only need a simple appraisal for your small collection that you think you don’t really need to go to a professional to do it for you.
Photo: Self-grading with a good magnifying glass.
In times like those mentioned above, you can either ask a fellow collector who has been in the business longer than you have, or you can learn a few things about silver coins so you can do it on your own. The latter should not be very difficult if you are really a fan of the hobby. You would surely be very interested in the things you are collecting. Isn’t that right? Anyway, starting with the basics is always the best way to go. The basic grading of coins starts from “Perfect Uncirculated” down to “Fair Poor” quality. Perfect uncirculated are those coins that have never been used at all. They were kept and stored soon after they were minted; hence, they are called to be in “mint state”. There are also coins that have been in circulation for a short time before a collector found and kept them but they still look new. These are graded as “About Circulated”.
Uncirculated coins are further graded according to their make, treatment, and storage. They may not have been circulated but they can still have imperfections such as heavy scratches or marks caused by mishandling during the minting process or while storing it. Coins that have been in circulation for quite some time are graded as Extremely Fine, Very Fine, Fine, Very Good, Good, About Good, and Fair Poor. However, you should note that these are very subjective descriptions. Their meanings or interpretations may vary from one collector to another. Hence the need for professional appraisals for more accurate grading, especially, if one is going to sell his collection.