How Much Does it Cost to Get a Coin Graded
You might be pondering How Much Does It Cost to Get a Coin Graded. The answer is that it varies depending on what you want to be graded, how many coins you are submitting, and the service provider.
You need to understand how grading works and what it means for your collection to answer this question. In this article, we’ll discuss what you should know about grading coins so that you can make a wise choice on whether or not to sell your collection.
Table of Contents
All You Need To Know About Coin Grading
What is Coin Grading?
The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, or NGS, in Sarasota, FL, and the Professional Coin Grading Service, or PCGS, in Newport Beach, CA, are the two most well-known coin grading firms. The Sheldon scale, which is a 70-point scale, is used by these organizations to grade coins. The third-party grades the coin’s condition in a 1 to 70 range.
The grades along the Sheldon scale include:
- Poor (P) 01, 02
- About Good (AG) 03
- Good (G) 04, 06
- Very Good (VG) 08, 10
- Fine (F) 12, 15
- Very Fine (VF) 20, 30, 35
- Extra Fine (EF) 40, 45
- About Uncirculated (AU) 50 – 60
- Mint State (MS) 60 – 70
Third-party agencies take a coin’s color, strike, luster, beauty, and surface preservation into account when assessing it. They assign the coin a grade by taking these factors into account.
A PO-01 grade coin is distinguishable but severely worn. A coin with an MS-70 grade, on the other hand, is almost perfect, showing no signs of wear. The majority of coins fall somewhere between these two grading levels.
The coin is then subjected to a sonication process, in which it is repeatedly struck with sounds that the grader precisely measures. Sounds are applied to the coin one at a time for precise measurements, ensuring its quality.
The History of Coin Grading
Coin grading, as it was then, was more subjective and contentious than it is now. Terms for describing a coin’s condition were very wide in the 1800s and early 1900s, with no industry standards being established, resulting in significant disparities between how various dealers would describe the same coin’s condition.
These disparities made coin collecting difficult in and of themselves. While many collectors and dealers recognized the importance of a uniform grading scale, it wasn’t until Dr. William H. Sheldon created a 70-point scale for evaluating coins in 1949 that some order was restored to the hobby.
Another significant upgrade to coin grading occurred in 1977 when Abe Kosoff produced the Official ANA Grading Standards for United States Coins, which wanted to formalize Sheldon’s non-numerical grades. This document would not only describe each potential grade but would also include photographs of each example.
In the 1970s, third-party grading companies began to emerge as a response to the ANA Certification Service, also known as ANACS 1972. Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS) and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) were established in 1987 and 1986.
The first to encapsulate graded coins would be the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), which would attach them to a plastic holder with a slip indicating information about the coin and its grade. Everything changed after that. Today, collectors may purchase numerous cores, labels, and designations for added variety in their collection.
The development of third-party grading businesses like PCGS and NGC has brought several useful improvements to the field of coin collecting. Collectors used to have to trust the information given by the vendor, which was difficult because they had little means of verifying if it was true or not.
Customers can now rest confident that their coins are not only genuine but also that they have been graded as accurately as possible. This also helps to prevent counterfeit money since customers may be sure that third-party certified coins are the real thing.
Finally, encapsulation of coins that have been certified adds an additional layer of protection to coins that might otherwise be damaged, lowering the overall state.
The Importance of Coin Grading
Grades are not synonymous with valuing a coin. Instead, the grading firm will provide a number to the coin based on its state and then leave it to the market to ascertain its worth.
However, when you invest in a coin graded by PCGS or NGC, you can be confident that it has been evaluated and certified by an unbiased and trained expert.
If you want to trade the coin, the grading serves as evidence of its preservation. A standardized grading eliminates any uncertainty in the transaction, allowing the potential buyer to assess the coin more objectively.
A coin with grading and certification is less susceptible to market price fluctuations than bullion coins. Market changes will have a minor impact on the value of an intrinsically rare and graded coin in mint condition that has a high demand.
In short, grading can be necessary to:
- Ensure that the coin is of good quality and that potential buyers are convinced of its legitimacy.
- Safeguard the coin against further wear and environmental contaminants
- Keep the coin for further wear and environmental damage.
- Help assess the coin’s market value
- Allow for easy valuation and identification
It’s also worth noting that grading a coin does not automatically boost its value. Still, if you have a coin with an MS 69 or 70 grade, you’ll be able to sell it for the greatest possible price more quickly.
Coin Grading Costs
Both PCGS and NGC charge a fee for grading coins. You must initially become a member of one of these firms in order to submit a coin for appraisal. Depending on how many coins you wish to send for grading, you may join either organization with various memberships.
Currently, PCGS offers three membership tiers:
- Platinum ($249 per year)
- Gold ($149 per year)
- Silver membership ($69 per year)
PCGS memberships provide a direct submission, member-only show access, and special grading discounts. The Platinum membership, on the other hand, comes with eight free coin gradings, whereas the Gold membership includes four.
The NGC memberships include:
- Elite ($299 per year)
- Premium ($149 per year)
- Associate ($25 per year)
- Free ($ per year)
NGC’s Associate membership is required for direct submission privileges, but all memberships include access to NGC online resources. With NGC, you may receive a $150 grading credit if you join as an Elite member or a $250 grading credit if you join as a Gold member. Bulk submission rates are also available to Elite members.
Aside from membership fees, you must also pay a fee for each coin you submit for grading. The PCGS and NGC charge grading fees according to the sort of coin and its maximum value.
PCGS, for example, charges $17 to grade a modern coin with a mint date of 1965 and a maximum value of $300. Error coins with a maximum worth of $10,000 cost $65 each to grade.
If you want to grade a coin with a maximum face value of $2,500, you must pay PCGS a grading fee of $35. Platinum members, on the other hand, may submit up to eight of these coins for free. You may also join for additional services, such as the TrueViewTM Imaging Service, for another $5 per coin. PCGS will provide you with a high-resolution photo of your coin using this service.
Grading a coin entails shipping and insurance expenses, which can range from $22 to $200 per coin depending on the number of coins you send and their total declared value.
Not All Coins Are Worth Grading
The most usually asked question is, “should I have my coin evaluated?” There is a lengthy answer to that. The answer is that it relies on the value of your coin now versus what it would be worth after grading. The general advice is to only acquire coins graded if you believe the cost of grading is less than how much greater value a higher grade will give.
For example, you may have a 1921 $1 Morgan silver dollar in an apparently perfect mint state. That coin is most certainly worth at least $30 ungraded (suppose silver is at $20 an ounce). The following is what that coin will be worth if graded by NGC or PCGS: MS60-$35, MS61-$35, MS62-$35, MS63-$45, MS64-$55, MS65-$140, MS66-$575, MS67-$10,000.
In this illustration, you may only earn a return on your (at least) $20 grading fee if the coin grades as a 65 or higher. There’s no assurance that it will grade as high as that. If you have the best and obtain a 66 or 67, you’ll receive a fantastic return on your investment.
How Much Does Grading With NGC or PCGS Cost?
You must first join the NGC or PCGS membership club in order to send a coin to them. Annual memberships start at $39 or $69 per year and rise from there depending on the service level you want. You also pay a fee for each coin when you submit it to an agency like NGC or PCGS. The higher the value of the coin is, the more it costs to have it evaluated.
Although this may seem absurd, it is true: grading a typical coin valued at $150 will set you back $20. Grading a rare coin valued at $50,000 costs around $125. It is usually more expensive to have expensive coins evaluated than simple coins. That is why you will see the majority of coins worth more than $5,000 in grading holders and why you won’t find many low-value graded coins.
When calculating if grading costs are worthwhile, you must consider the cost of shipping and insurance to get the coin to the grading service and then back. The grading process, which might take up to one week each way, will almost certainly have the coin in their hands for at least a few weeks. So while grading may be beneficial on occasion, you must consider whether the time and expense are worthwhile.
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How to Submit a Coin for Grading
The procedure of sending a coin between grading firms is comparable. The following are the typical stages in grading a coin:
- Choosing a grading agency
- Register for a membership of your choice
- Fill out the contact information and insurance value on the form to finish the process.
- Paying for the grading
- Sending the coin to a grading firm
There are at least two weeks between grading your coins and their return to you in a plastic, airtight dispenser with a graded certificate.
Investing in grading coins can be a wise decision if you have rare or valuable collector’s items. But, the cost of grading may not always be worthwhile for circulated coins that are abundant and inexpensive. Before you decide whether this service makes financial sense for you, as well as how much weight your decisions carry when making purchasing decisions for future generations to come, you’ll need to evaluate the expenses against the potential benefits.