In order to be a well-informed coin collector or a successful coin dealer, you need to know how to accurately price your coins. Pricing coins--specifically, grading them correctly--takes a great deal of practice, but for any serious numismatist, this is a must-have skill. Because the market value of silver and gold fluctuates so frequently, it is a good idea to reprice your coins every couple of years if you are a collector, or every couple of months (and perhaps more often) if you are a dealer.
Identify the coins you want to price. Determine the country of origin, the denomination, and the year minted for every coin. This information will be written on the faces of most coins.
Look for mint marks on your coins. Mint marks are small letters that designate where the coin was minted. Not all coins have these marks, but they can have a huge effect on the price of the coin.
Buy a coin price guide at a coin shop or a book store. Coin price guides generally focus on country of origin, so make sure you buy the right guide. Also make sure the guide explains the proper way to grade your coins.
Grade your coins. Grading is a complicated process in which the specific features you are looking for change from coin to coin, so make sure you fully understand the type of coins you are pricing. Coin grades run from fair (you can identify what type of coin you're looking at, but that's about it) to uncirculated (perfect condition).
Look up the price of your coins in your price guide. Coins are listed by type, year, mint mark (if present) and grade. Familiarize yourself with your specific price guide to facilitate this process.
You can learn a lot about coin grades by visiting coin shops and examining their inventory. If the dealer is not busy, you can also ask him or her questions about pricing coins.
- "Blackbook Price Guide to United States Coins"; Marc Hudgeons, Tom Hudgeons Jr., and Tom Hudgeons Sr.; 2006
- American Coin: Grading Coins
- coin image by Indigo Fish from Fotolia.com