measuring a coin’s quality, a process known as grading.
For a fee, they will closely examine the coin to determine
The three top grading agencies are-
1- Professional Coin Grading Service-PCGS
2- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation -NGC
3-American Numismatic Association Certification Services-ANACS
though there are others.They all use the same approximate scale, so a coin
graded by one company should be comparable to a
similar coin graded by another.
The scale goes from 1 to 70, with 1 being the lowest
possible grade — and therefore in the worst condition.
The number is preceded by a letter code that gives a
general idea of the coin’s condition, ranging from Poor
(code PO at PCGS and PR at NGC) to Mint State (MS).
Only coins rated 60 or above are considered Mint
State — meaning they appear much as they did when
they were first struck — and a coin graded MS-70 is
considered absolutely flawless.
A lot of numismatic coin collecting these
days revolves around “proof” coins.
|PCGS Certified Proof Silver Eagle|
simply to test the coin press. The proofs
were checked for errors before mass
production of the coin began. To help
make any flaws stand out, the dies
were polished and the coins “frosted”
to highlight fine details. That made
proofs exceptionally detailed and shiny.
Mints often archived their proofs for
later comparison, but otherwise, proofs
were minted in limited numbers and
never intended for general circulation.
Today, mints create a limited number of
proofs specifically for collectors.
Like other coins, proofs receive a letter
code from the grading companies (“PF”
at NCG and “PR” at PCGS). But in almost
all cases, proofs receive a number grade
between 60–70 (with 70 still being the
best). That’s because there’s little reason
for a proof to show any sign of wear —
even older proofs should be nearly
flawless, since they weren’t designed
For this reason, if you’re interested in
proofs, you should buy the highest
grade you can afford.