What are the Advantages of Buying PCGS Graded Coins?

As a coin collector or an investor of coins, you no doubt have asked yourself the question of why you should buy professionally graded coins. These coins are also known as slabbed or certified vs. an uncertified coin which is known as “raw”. The term “slabbed” came about because certified coins are in a plastic slab.

A topic such as this is quite controversial as each side of the coin has its staunch proponents. In this article though, we will concentrate on the advantages of graded coins, specifically PCGS graded coins. As you may know, there are several other grading services out there but PCGS has been ranked the most consistent in grading and ability.

PCGS, a subsidiary of Collectors Universe, started grading coins for the public in 1986 and since then PCGS has graded millions and millions of coins. So why buy PCGS coins? Let’s answer that question now.

The first reason, and this applies to all slabbed coins, is that a slabbed graded coin is now protected from further damage. Imagine taking out your best coin, a 1942-S Walking Liberty in what you believe to be MS-67 condition. In this condition, PCGS gives an estimated value of $25,000.00. It is an absolutely beautiful coin. To prepare for this moment, you put on your white coin gloves so as to not pass body oils to the coin. As you pick it up to examine it the telephone rings, or your two year old snuck up behind you and nearly trips you. The coin goes flying out of your hands and is rolling across your floor right towards the floor heat vent. You make a mad dash and dive to save the coin, but it is too late. The coin rolls over the lip of the heat vent and slips between the cracks into your house heating duct. You lift the vent out of place and reach in for your coin. Fortunately it did not go around the bend and begin the spiral down to the furnace. It may as well have. Your once $25,000 coin now has several scrapes, scuffs, and a ding smack dab above “In God We Trust” due to the screw it landed on in the vent. This same coin in MS-65 condition is worth $700. Even worse, in MS-64 it is worth $110. While the coin still has its original mint luster, the physical damage is there. Do you think this is an extreme example? Maybe, but I guarantee you that many a coin has been accidentally dropped by dealers and collectors reducing its grade by a couple notches and its value by countless thousands of dollars. Personally, and sadly, it has happened to me. I once dropped what I thought would be a MS-66 Red 1909 VDB Lincoln cent. Upon close examination after I dropped it, I noticed a few scrapes and scuffs not previously their. Yes, they were minor and barely visible, but I had it graded anyway, and it came back as MS-65. While my example was not with a $25,000 coin, it happens. I now clear a special area for handling GEM coins so this never happens again. A certified coin comes in a hard plastic container that not only protects it from silly mistakes but also it is sealed to further protect it from the elements. Yes, the natural elements (air pollution) can damage coins over long periods of time. Most grading companies will encase the graded coin in an air-tight container to ensure preservation.

The second reason to buy a PCGS slabbed coin is that any coin graded a specific grade will retain that grade. A MS-65 coin will always be a MS-65 coin, unless of course you submit it for re-grading. With PCGS coins though, you can be fairly certain in the consistency of graded coins. With other grading services, inconsistencies bring uncertainty into an assigned grade.

The third reason to buy PCGS graded coins is that when it comes time to sell, PCGS graded coins will command a premium over other slabbed coins. As an example, I checked recent sales of the very common 1921 P Morgan dollar in MS65 condition. Those certified from PCGS were commanding prices upwards of 50% over similarly graded coin from other grading services. While this is an extreme case, it simply points out the faith by collectors in PCGS coins. Naturally, it will cost you more to buy PCGS coins than other certified coins.

The fourth reason to purchase PCGS certified coins is a coin graded by PCGS gives it instant credibility. Grading services first came about so that coins could be bought and sold without the buyer having to see it first. This was in the age before digital cameras and the internet. While there was a grading system in place in the early 80’s, grading was very arbitrary. A coin graded F-12 by one person would grade G-4 by another. By introducing an outside, disinterested party into the equation, both sides of a transaction could agree that the grade was correct. The idea was to create a system whereby dealers could trade/buy/sell coins without seeing them first. The idea was a hit. Today PCGS graded coins offer instant credibility. Whether you are buying or selling though, always buy the coin and not the grade. I have regrettably bought a few truly ugly high grade PCGS coins. While they were in decent shape, some had very unattractive toning and had I seen the coin first, I would not have bought it. Even though a coin carries a certain grade, you still need to ask details about certified coins and look at them first.

With the introduction of the State Quarter program several years ago, coin collecting has seen a surge in the number of collectors. Thousands and thousand of new collectors have entered the hobby and with that there will be a higher demand for certain coins. While most of us began our hobby for the pure enjoyment of collecting, we still like to know that our investment is somewhat safe. I believe, and this is my opinion only, that with more and more collectors entering the hobby, certain high-end certified coins will continue to rise in value due to demand. As those collectors who started on State Quarters mature in their collecting endeavors, they will no doubt begin to collect older coins such as Walking Liberty halves and Morgan Dollars. Most likely this will be coins that have been certified. This will no doubt raise the value of certified coins. But this is only my guess.

Coin Collecting can be a wonderful hobby and as you refine your collecting interests, PCGS graded coins can make a wonderful addition to your collection.

As always,

Happy Collecting!

Rare Coins May Be Hiding In Your Pocket

When talking about coin collecting, rare coins are some of the first things to spring to mind. After all, coin collecting is often considered to be an investment and rare coins are the most valuable coins out there. They are highly sought after and coveted and, because they are in so much demand, they tend to be worth a great deal. However, because they are worth a great deal, they tend to be much more in demand, which increases their value. So if you want to look into rare coins, remember that you have some heavy competition.

One of the best places to find rare coins is, of course, in your pockets. No, you are not going to find any coins that are worth thousands. But you can find an occasional needle in the haystack that will be worth much more than you might expect. This is because there are a lot of coins in circulation and some rare coins just float along and get lost in the shuffle because nobody bothered to see what was in their hands. However, as a coin collector, you should take a look at the change that passes into your hands so that you can be sure to catch the occasionally unusual coin that comes your way. Of course, it is difficult to keep your eyes out all the time for that coin that slips through the cracks for years on end, but the rewards are well worth the effort of checking your change routinely.

In order to ensure that you find the rare coins that pass your way, you need to be well informed. Which means that you need to do your research so that you know what to look for. You could have fistfuls of rare coins in your hands, but they are only worth something if you notice that they are rare. So you should keep on top of coin collecting and have the research handy when you look through your change for rare coins. Plus, by doing the research now, you can avoid kicking yourself later for overlooking a rare coin that was right in the palm of your hand.

Though your own pockets may hold a good supply of rare coins, a more reliable place to hunt for rare coins in at your local coin dealer or online. The coin dealer is often superior in this instance, as you will be able to look at the coins directly, rather than relying on photography and description to figure out if the rare coin you desire is the one you are attempting to buy. However, there are reputable coin dealers on the Internet and they have excellent selections of rare coins. But do your research before you buy so that you know the person you are dealing with can be trusted.

Rare coins are not only good investments, they can be fun too. After all, having something unusual that everyone else wants is rather enjoyable on its own. Not only does it provide you with a sense of satisfaction for having found something others overlooked, it gives you the chance to take some pride in your own process of discovery. And, with coin collecting, the fun is not only in having a good collection, it is in building it. So get to building an excellent collection by including some rare coins.

Rare Coins: the Gift That Keeps On Giving

Who would have thought that the gift of a coin would end up being the best gift I’ve ever received?

I have many fond memories of my grandmother, but one such memory will stay with me for the rest of my life. When I was 10 years old, my grandmother gave me a silver dollar for Christmas.

To this day, I still have that coin. And from that little memento, I gained a lot. I gained the passion to collect coins, leading me to becoming a professional numismatist (coin expert).

Collecting coins has taught me the value of holding on to those special tokens that most people take for granted. And that Carson City, Nev. minted silver dollar ended up gaining a significant value.

Today, people collect coins for numerous reasons. Some accumulate coins as family heirlooms, some simply because they love owning miniature pieces of art sculpted by famous artists. But whatever the reason, they see the gift that coins can bring.

Besides the fact that rare-coin collecting is a fun hobby, here is a list of some other reasons you should start a collection of your own:

* Protect your assets. Hard assets offer you safety and

security in the event of a world currency crisis or stock market crash.

* Maximize your investment in metals. We can’t go back in history and create more historic coins. Only a finite number of rare coins are available.

* Inflation. Gold and silver investments follow a long-term cycle. When undervalued, they gain tremendous upside potential when the value of paper money declines.

* Liquidity. Rare coins gain liquidity as millions of dollars are traded for them weekly on the Internet and through other networks.

* No tax consequences until liquidation. Rare coins that have increased in value are not taxed until you sell them. And if you trade coins for coins of equal or greater value, you won’t be taxed.

* You’ll own a piece of history. You’ll learn about American values and history simply by collecting coins.

Rare And Beautiful World Coins

Ideas for Collecting Coins from Around the World

Collecting world coins is a fun hobby that gives you the feeling of travelling the globe vicariously through your coins. A collection of world coins offers a unique insight into the culture and history of other countries, and encourages you to learn at least a few words of a variety of different languages. World coins can also be an interesting step into the world of coin collecting, because it is a relatively inexpensive pastime. Many of the coins are still in circulation, making them easy to find and light on the pocketbook to buy. Oftentimes, children start their coin collections with world coins for this reason.

Ideas for Collections of World Coins

While some people may enjoy collecting world coins haphazardly, simply enjoying whatever coins they happen to come across, others prefer more of a challenge. While it may be impossible to collect every coin from around the world, you can create a lovely coin collection that is challenging and fun to complete by selecting a particular theme to pursue.

The most obvious theme for a collection of world coins is a concentration on a specific country. If that idea seems a little bit stale, you can also broaden your collection by concentrating on a region or aspect of a country. For example, you could start a world coins collection from South American countries, nations where English is a national language, or from island nations.

Another interesting possibility is to combine two interests by concentrating on a favorite thing or hobby outside of coin collecting. For example, a coffee lover might collect world coins from countries that produce coffee beans, or an auto enthusiast might collect coins from countries that produce his or her favorite automobiles.

You don’t have to use countries as a central point of your world coins collection, however; you can also build a collection around a specific motif on the coins themselves. Some people have collections of coins featuring a particular animal, such as an eagle or a panda bear. Others concentrate on flowers, trees, or birds. Someone interested in military history might enjoy a world coins collection featuring famous fighters, for example.

Another idea for starting a collection of world coins is to concentrate your efforts on coins from a particular year. Some people really enjoy collecting world coins that were minted in their birth year, or which commemorate another date that is important to them.

If none of those ideas appeal to you, perhaps you’d like to concentrate on a specific metal used to make the world coins. While precious metals like gold and platinum are obvious choices, some people enjoy putting together collections of world coins minted from common nickel or copper.

If any of these ideas have inspired you to start a collection of world coins, you might want to pause a moment before you start building a collection, and check out the prices and availability of coins matching your desired theme. It won’t be much fun to start a collection of gold bullion coins, only to realize that you can’t afford more than one or two pieces. A few minutes with a world coins catalog will help you decide if your ideal theme for a collection is also feasible with your budget.

Start Your Own Coin Collection

Coin collections can be prized possessions that can be handed down from generation to generation. There are even coin collections today that can fetch a prize up to hundreds and thousands of dollars. Coin collecting, more importantly, can be a very engaging hobby to follow. Anyone can enjoy collecting things as a hobby. So why not collect something that can appreciate in price as time goes by? That is just one thing that a coin collection can reward its collector. Such a collection can increase in value in time.

People may not be aware of it, but most may have a start of their own coin collection. It is a wonderful hobby worth taking. Coins should not be that hard to collect since there are plenty to go around with. But that is depending on what kind of coins you wish to collect. Regardless of that, a coin collection can be a breeze to start. You might begin with what is easier to obtain in your area. You can collect your own set of good luck coins. Maybe you can add in to that collection a silver dollar, an old Indian token, or a souvenir token. As you keep on collecting, you might find out sometime later that you already have a coin collection before you.

Coin collecting can be a fascinating hobby because each coin reflects stories from the past through its marks. From royalty, great leaders to power and patriotism, each coin provides a history of the place where it was issued. Famous figures from history are forever depicted in each coin so you have an accurate portrayal of how such famous people look like during their own time.

Deciding on what coins to collect will usually depend on the collector. There are no stated rules on what coins you can collect. But there are different methods that you can use to help you in your coin collecting. One method you can use is by collecting a series or a complete set of the coins in a series such as collecting a series of coins issued at a specific date in time. You can also use the shotgun method where you collect coins that have special interest to you. You might also be able to specialize in collecting coins of unusual shapes such as those found on other countries. This might prove to be a more challenging task but it can also be more rewarding for you as you continue on adding to your collection.

There are many ways available for you to be able to start your own coin collection. There are many places where you maybe able to look for coins to start off your own collection. First off, you can check your own pocket for coins that you might have otherwise discarded. You might have traveled to other countries and they might have a lot of interesting coins worth collecting. You can also check out coin shops in your neighborhood for more valuable coins that you may want to add into your own collection. But be prepared to dish out some cash for some coins that you might want to acquire.

Coin shows also offer you another venue where you may be able to check out a wide selection of coins from dealers from all over. You might also be able to meet up with other coin collectors and build many friendships along the way. You can also ask the help from your friends and family for a coin or two that they might have. Even flea markets provide you with a great place to look for valuable coins at a bargain price. But you might need a good eye to look for such coins.

United States Mint Launches First Coin With Readable Braille at the National Federation of the Blind Headquarters in Baltimore

Mint Seal

BALTIMORE – United States Mint Director Ed Moy, joined by National Federation of the Blind (NFB) President Marc Maurer, launched the Nation’s first coin with readable Braille during a ceremony today at the NFB headquarters in Baltimore.  The coin commemorates the life and work of Louis Braille, who developed the tactile method of reading and writing used by the blind.  The ceremony included a videotaped message from United States Senator Christopher J. Dodd, one of the primary sponsors of the “Louis Braille Bicentennial-Braille Literacy Commemorative Coin Act” (Public Law 109-247).

Old Coins: Discover The Thrill Of Owning A Piece Of History

Among the mainstays of coin collecting, old coins are among the most exciting and sought after members of the coin family. Not only do they tend to be rarer than modern coins, but they are often made from valuable materials that actually worth more now than the actual denomination of the coin itself. Which makes old coins that much more of a thrill.

One reason why old coins become value is the simple fact that old coins were often made from precious metals, such as gold or silver. Thus, old coins can often be worth more melted down than they would if they were spent like regular change. However, the fact that they are still stamped coins makes them even more valuable. And their value is only enhanced even more by the fact that they have been around for a while.

Old coins are made even more valuable when they are also rare. Fortunately, the fact that coins are old tends to make them rarer. This is because the older a coin is, the more likely that people have exchanged it for more modern currency and the more likely that the government has gotten a hold of it and melted it down. In fact, most governments have specific legal requirements to destroy old coins in order to keep the money supply modern, making it more difficult for coin collectors to find old coins.

However, coin collectors don’t just look for old coins because they are valuable. They are also unusual and provide a connection to people who lived long ago. When you have an old coin in your hands, you are holding the same coin that was passed from hand to hand one hundred, one thousand, even two thousand years ago. They are not just metal, they are pieces of history. What you see and feel in your hands is exactly what your forebears saw and felt.

When you hold old coins in your hands, you are not just holding some old money. Rather, you are holding links to your forebears. Those coins have moved through history as surely as great architecture. And the old coins you collect may have even made history on their own. Who knows whose hands those old coins may have passed through? They may have been in the palms of kings and presidents, philosophers and physicians, writers and artists, or inventors and tycoons. And with the number of times that change changes hands, there is no telling who might have spent those old coins you are adding to your collection.

While old coins can be good investments, they are much more than that for a coin collector. They are windows to long gone pasts and forgotten times. They are connections to people who have lived all manner of lives and done things both great and small. So when you see old coins, remember that many people have worked to earn that coin and they have all, at some level, appreciated its presence in their lives. So enjoy those old coins that you collect and appreciate them for the fact that they could fill entire books with the stories that they have to tell.

United States Mint Releases 2009 Presidential $1 Coin Uncirculated Set on April 2

Mint Seal

WASHINGTON – Uncirculated versions of the 2009-dated coins in the Presidential $1 Coin Program will be available beginning at noon Eastern Time (ET) on April 2, 2009.   The 2009 Presidential $1 Coin Uncirculated SetTM, priced at $15.95, contains coins bearing dramatic portraits of Presidents William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk and Zachary Taylor on the obverses (heads side).

What is the Difference Between a Coin’s Price and its Value?

Price and Value are Not the Same Thing

There is a big difference between the price of a coin, and the value of a coin. Although you often see these words used interchangeably, it is important that you understand the different concepts represented by each.

The “Price” of a Coin is How Much it Would Cost You to Buy it From a Dealer

This is pretty straightforward. The “price” of a coin is merely the amount that it would sell for on the open market, otherwise known as its “retail price.” Coin prices are set by many different factors, including the type and grade of the coin, its rarity and desirability, and to some extent its availability in the marketplace. The most frequently used price guide to U.S. coins is the Red Book.

The “Value” of a Coin is How Much You Can Sell it for Today

Here’s where it gets a little complicated.

When you want to establish what your coin collection is worth today if you wanted to sell it, you are establishing its value. The amount you can sell your coins for (its “value”) is considerably less than its “price” if you had to replace them. Dealers need to make a profit to stay in business, so when you go to sell your collection, you’re not going to get those nice, high Red Book prices. The Red Book prices are retail amounts.

Consider the Blue Book

There is another book, known as the Blue Book, (formally titled “Handbook of United States Coins”), which is the most widely used guide to wholesale coin values. These are the values a coin dealer will offer to pay you for your collection. They typically run about half of what the coins retail for. Coins which derive most of their value from bullion (such as common-date American Eagles and Double Eagles) will get you more (75% to 85% or so) because most of their value is based on the gold itself, rather than the rarity of the coin.

Appraising Your Collection for Insurance Purposes

The one time when it is correct to use the “Price” metric to determine what your collection is worth, is when you are establishing its value for insurance purposes. In this case, you want to insure the replacement cost of your coins. Since you’d have to pay the Red Book (retail) price to replace them, this is the metric you should use.

Always be Realistic About Prices and Values

There is nothing more satisfying to a collector than to pluck a coin worth $100 in the Red Book out a dealer’s $10 pick bin. And in this case, you’ve probably done very well, because it’s likely the dealer overlooked something here. But the more typical case is finding lots of $20 Red Book priced coins the $10 bin. This is because the dealer is probably overstocked in this material, and would be happy to get his cash back to make more marketable purchases. Be careful that you don’t get carried away thinking you’re getting bargains in cases like this, because the amount you can sell the coin for, its value to you, is about what you paid for it. In other words, don’t deceive yourself into thinking that the value of a given coin is equivalent to the price you paid for it.

2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar Coin Available March 26

Mint Seal

WASHINGTON – The United States Mint will begin accepting orders for the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar at noon Eastern Time (ET) on March 26, 2009.  It is the first coin in the history of United States coinage to feature readable Braille.