Determining Coin Values By Their Grade

After learning the basics of coin collecting, you are probably going to become interested in coin collecting values.  A coin set can be a great investment as they can skyrocket in prices if the supply and demand is there.  While there are several ways to determine the value of a set, one method is by looking at the grade of your coins.

The grade of a coin refers to the condition it is in.  The main objective behind grading is to determine whether the coin is in mintstate or if it is circulated.  Mintstate means the coin is new while circulated refers to a used coin.  The ideal coin is perfect mintstate as you will certainly get the top coin collecting values at this state.

There are a few ways that you can grade a coin.  The first is by looking at the quality of the coin die and any striking characteristics.  The strike refers to the process of stamping a design and it can either be strong or weak.  Typically this will depend on how the coin was designed.

The second thing to look at when grading a coin is the condition and characteristics of the planchet.  This will help you determine whether a coin is uncirculated or not.  A mintstate coin will not have any wear whatsoever. 

The last thing to look at is the amount of wear and damage on the overall eye appeal of the coin.  For the best coin collecting values you want there to be little damage at all.  Most collectors agree that a strong coin either has a good eye appeal or not.

When looking at the different coin collecting values you obviously want to have the most perfect mintstate coin as possible.  A perfect coin will have an attractive sharp strike and original luster of the highest quality.  There will be no contact marks and absolutely no visible hairlines, scuff marks or defects. 

As you go down the list little details can degrade the value of the coin.  Things like a few light scattered contact marks or flaws, a couple of small hairlines, or average luster can make a coin drop in value.  A typical mintstate coin is going to be the bottom with an unattractive and dull luster, many contact marks or damage spots, and a heavy concentration of hairlines. 

There are several things you want to look at when determining coin collecting values.  Pay close attention to contact marks, hairlines, luster, and any scuff marks.  If your coin is in perfect mintstate it will have the highest value of any other coin.

Tom Lindstrom is a coin collecting expert. For more great information on coin collecting values be sure to visit

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