Just as with American coins that we use for currency, foreign coins have their stated value as well as an intrinsic value. Sometimes the value is due to the materials used to make the coin. At other times it has to do with how rare the foreign coin is. Identify a foreign coin and determine its value with these simple steps.
Try to identify your coin based on visual information. Determine if the coin is modern in design or old or ancient. Try to identify from the writing what country the coin is from. Many times modern governments stamp coins with their country name and a national monument or hero. Pay attention to the currency value of the coin, as this is important in categorizing it.
Go to the Internet, a library, or bookstore to find literature on your coin and the country that produces it. The Internet will likely be the most comprehensive but bookstores carry useful publications in their coin collecting section as well. Use Internet search engines by typing in the country name and the word "coin". Search the websites provided until you find one with photos and descriptions of each of your coins.
Verify your coin is a match with the information you have found on the Internet or from a book or magazine on coin collecting. If you're not sure, look for coin forums on the Internet and post pictures of your coin, including front and back. Make sure the photos are clear and close enough to see detail. Allow time for readers to examine your photos and to respond. Use the responses to further refine your search for relevant coin information.
Categorize the condition of your coin. Once you have clearly identified the coin and its country of origin, you must now determine whether your coin fits in the accepted categories of coin condition as provided by national and international coin collecting standards.
Hire a professional coin grader to examine your coin. You can pay a fee plus shipping costs to have a professional grade your coin. Find one of the major graders on the Internet and set up an order either by email or phone. Pay the fee for examination and send your coin to them. The coin will be returned to you in a sealed container with a readable grading and the name of the grading company as certification.
Grade your coin's condition on your own using the coin status definitions provided by professional grader websites. Make sure your coin matches a status definition as closely as possible. Do not overrate the quality of your coin.
Compare your coin and its status category with the same coins in various markets. Find comparable peer prices in coin dealer collections, pawn shops and on auctions sites such as eBay. Make sure your coin matches as closely as possible those for sale to get an accurate valuation. Keep in mind this process is still a guess, and a professional grader will provide much more certain information.