What is Coin Grading?

Questions about buying MS 70 coins? Email Tim Oakes.

2012-W 1 oz Gold Buffalo PR-70 PCGS First Strike (Black Diamond)While perusing APMEX.com, you might have come across a graded coin. These graded coins are priced at a premium compared to a similar product that is not graded, as is the case with this MS-69 2012 1 oz Gold American Eagle when compared to a 2012 1 oz Gold American Eagle. Why is the graded coin being sold at a premium? And how is it different? First, you should understand what grading means. Coin grading is the process of determining the condition of a coin by taking into account several criteria such as the strike, surface preservation, luster, coloration and eye appeal. There are two prevalent coin grading services: PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service) and NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation). The grading range used by both services ranges from 1 to 70, with 70 being “As struck, with full strike.” A grade of 70 is considered “perfect.”

A coin that is graded MS-70 by PCGS or MS-70 by the NGC has no imperfections.  NGC is the official grading service of the American Numismatic Association and, according to its website, has graded more than 20 million coins since 1987. When you buy a graded coin from APMEX, the coin will be shipped to you in a tamper-evident plastic case called a slab. Once the coin is removed from the slab for any reason and resubmitted, there is no guarantee that the coin will receive the same grade that was previously assigned.

While grading in some cases can have a positive effect on the value of the coin, it is not necessary to have a portfolio comprised entirely of graded coins. Buying a graded coin does involve costs, and sometimes you want a coin just because it appeals to your eye. To buy a Perfect-70 coin from APMEX, go here.

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