If you’re a coin collector, dedicated numismatist, coin dealer, coin enthusiast, or if you just happen to have discovered some old gold coins in the attic that had been saved by a family member, you might be interested in learning what your coins are worth on the market. Here are some points to help you understand and assess the approximate value of your coin collection.
One of the first things any coin collector needs to know is “what is the grade of the coin?” One of the nuances of rare coin buying or selling is determining the grade of each coin – this ensures that sellers and buyers have a common point of reference to understand the characteristics, or grade, of a coin and agree on a fair market price.
The Coin grading scale: from 1 to 70
Rare coins are graded on a 70-point scale, originally developed in the 1940s, where “1” represents a badly damaged, heavily oxidized coin, and “70” represents a perfect coin in mint condition.
Coins are assessed on five main categories of characteristics to determine their quality and value:
• Strike: This component measures how strongly or weakly the coin’s design is stamped or struck onto it. Strike is not usually the most important factor in determining a coin’s value, although there are some series of coins where the difference in strike can be the difference between a $15 coin and a $7,500 coin.
• Surface Condition: Anyone with interest in buying rare coins is going to pay close attention to the surface of the gold coin – this is a highly important factor, as unblemished coins tend to command a much higher price. Collectors want to see original, unmarked coins, especially on the obverse, or front of the coin.
• Luster: This is another highly important element of grading a coin. Luster is a measure of the coin’s original texture – the best and most valuable coins will have a high amount of original luster intact and very few (or no) marks or scratches. Basically what collectors are looking for is a coin that has a high amount of original luster with little to no breaks. Textures might appear “satiny, frosty, mirror-like, semi-prooflike, or prooflike.”
• Wear: This is how the grades of most coins are determined. It refers to the amount of detail that has been worn off of the relief as well as how many blemishes appear in the field. The degree of wear dictates where the coin falls within the grading scale mentioned above.
• Eye appeal: This is a combination of the four elements listed above. Experienced coin buyers and graders know how to rate a coin’s eye appeal based on the complete picture of the coin – strike, surface preservation, luster, and coloration.
For more information on coin condition grading, please visit: Dillon Gage Coin Condition