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Graded Coins Buying Guide

Tags:  coins | us coins | coin sets | bullion | rare coins Write a guide!

When you’re looking for coins from certain years to round out your collection or that rare find you’ve just got to have, you’ll find a wide variety of coins, including U.S. coins to world coins and bullion, at your fingertips on eBay. You'll also find coin publications and supplies that are useful in familiarizing yourself with coin categories, as well as finding the items you need to manage your coin collection.

Learn the Basics of Graded Coins

Learn the Basics of Graded Coins

Coin grading is the process of determining the grade or physical condition of a coin, which is the key factor in its value. When buying and selling coins, it’s important to have basic knowledge of grading and its terms, since a small difference in grade can mean a big difference in price. Consider purchasing grading publications from top grading services that you can reference to better understand grading.

High-quality grading services such as Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) use a thorough process that involves numerous steps and specialized expertise along the way. Each step is performed with the goal of accurately and safely grading your coins, after which they’re typically sealed in protective holders, marked with codes delineating their grade, and entered into the service’s database for later identification.

Not surprisingly, proper coin grading requires expert numismatists that can accurately compare your coins against published references. The best coin graders have had experience in the commercial sector, many having been professional coin dealers. It’s also common for ethical grading services to prohibit their graders from actively buying and selling coins so that there’s no conflict in their ability to appropriately grade your items.

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Understand Coin Grading Symbols

Understand Coin Grading Symbols

Years ago, grading by descriptive adjectives such as "poor quality" or "mint condition” was used by American numismatists, but today, most graders prefer the numerical system.

Each grading service has its own philosophy about the fundamental purpose of grading, such as whether it’s simply a descriptive tool to communicate the amount of damage sustained after striking, or a ranking system to determine value. They agree, however, on these descriptive adjectives and numeric grades for proof coins, business strikes, and many world coins:

  • MS 60-70: Uncirculated.

  • AU 50, 53, 55, 58: About/Almost Uncirculated.

  • XF 40, 45: Extremely Fine.

  • VF 20, 25, 30, 35: Very Fine.

  • F 12, 15: Fine.

  • VG 8, 10: Very Good.

  • G 4, 6: Good.

  • AG 3: About/Almost Good.

  • FR 2: Fair.

  • PR 1: Poor.

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Collect Graded Coins

Collect Graded Coins

When you collect coins, be sure to have them graded to ensure their condition, authenticity, and identification. Then be sure to protect your coins by encapsulating them in hard plastic holders for safe, long-term storage, free from tampering.

Ensure condition

Grading your rare coins means you can verify their condition to help determine value for prospective buyers in the future. To ensure only coins of quality condition are registered, some top graders such as the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) will not encapsulate coins with problems such as artificial toning, excessive cleaning, environmental damage, major scratches, or flaws in the planchet (the blank piece of metal on which a coin design is stamped).

Assure authenticity

When you buy graded coins on eBay that use our approved grading services, you can be sure of the authenticity and condition when evaluating an item before bidding. You can also use these grading services to get a thorough evaluation of a recently purchased coin. What’s more, as an eBay user, you receive a 10% discount from Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and can submit your coins for grading directly to them.

Identify your coins

You can use the unique certification numbers provided by grading services to reliably identify your coins, whether they stay in your collection or enter the market.

Sell your graded coins

When selling coins on eBay, you can boost bidder confidence by having coins graded before listing them. You can promote the fact that an independent expert has graded your coins, which lets bidders know that your item has been examined by a highly qualified, experienced professional who has pledged to provide an unbiased opinion. Using the eBay-approved Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) also enables you to display a PCGS icon that potential buyers can click on to get details of the coin’s grade and type directly from this service’s databases.

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Find Graded Coins on eBay

Find Graded Coins on eBay

Once you know what type of Graded Coins you want, go to the Coins portal and start searching for items on eBay.

  • Categories: The Categories list on the left side of each page will help you narrow down your listings by item type. You'll find links for Coins: U.S., Coins: World, Bullion, and more. As you dig deeper into the site you'll also be able to narrow down your choice.

  • Keyword search: Search eBay listing titles for specific words. For example, if you want to find graded morgan dollars, type "PCGS morgan dollar" or “NGC morgan dollar” (without quotation marks) into the Search box. Click "Search title and description" to expand your results. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.

If you can't find exactly what you want, try shopping eBay Stores, tell the eBay Community what you want by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a match becomes available.

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Buy Graded Coins With Confidence

Buy Graded Coins With Confidence

Before making your purchase, make sure you know exactly what you're buying, research your seller, and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know your purchase

Carefully read the details in item listings.

  • Figure delivery costs into your final price. If you spend a lot of money, make sure the seller will insure the item when it ships.

  • If you want more information, ask by clicking the "Ask seller a question" link under the seller's profile.

  • Always make sure to complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy It Now, or Best Offer). Transactions conducted outside of eBay are not covered by eBay protection programs.

  • Never pay for your eBay item using instant cash wire transfer services through Western Union or MoneyGram. These payment methods are unsafe when paying someone you do not know.

Know your seller

Research your seller so you feel positive and secure about every transaction.

  • What is the seller's Feedback rating? How many transactions have they completed? What percentage of positive responses do they have?

  • What do buyers say in their Feedback? Did the seller receive praise?

  • Most top eBay sellers operate like retail stores and have return policies. Do they offer a money-back guarantee? What are the terms and conditions?

Buyer protection

In the unlikely event that you don't receive your item or it is not as described, eBay Buyer Protection will cover your purchase price plus original shipping. Learn more.

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