Numismatics: If You Have ‘Em, Certify ‘Em

If you own numismatic (collector’s) coins and they have not yet been grade-certified and authenticated by a grading service, you probably ought to have them certified.

Why certify? Because it makes them much easier to sell. Of course, if the coin is worth less than $30 (for example), it’s not worth certifying because it costs $30 to certify, plus shipping. You just have to look at your coins and ask whether certification will pay for itself. Bear in mind that raw (uncertified) coins will be somewhat harder to sell, and the dealer who buys them will probably argue about their grade.

By publishing this information I am not recommending that you buy or hold numismatic coins, nor am I recommending either of these grading services. However, if you have numismatic coins worth more than $400 and intend to hold them, you will probably gain by certifying them. “Gain” means you will probably realize a higher price and find selling much easier. I have no financial interest in any of these recommendations.


Professional Coin Grading Service was the first certification service and is still the most widely accepted, if only by a small margin. In some (but not all) grades the PCGS coins will bring a marginally higher price than NGC certified coins, but that changes over time. In the higher grades dealers usually prefer PCGS coins, in my limited experience. Visit their website for a list of services and associated costs.


Numismatic Guaranty Corporation is the other well known grading service. You can submit coins to them one of four ways:

  1. Go through a member dealer (list on the web site),
  2. Join their collector’s club for $99,
  3. Submit through e-Bay (go to coins > High end authenticated coins > NGC), or
  4. Submit through (I don’t know how and frankly, I don’t have enough patience left to go there and find out).

NGC’s certification charges vary according to value and quantity. You’ll find their charges by clicking on “Services & Submissions” at the top of their home page.


PCI or Photo Coin Institute offers very cheap certification. I do not recommend your using PCI under any circumstances.