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Should I Get Coins Graded? Pros and Cons to Coin Grading

Person holding a graded gold coin

Every coin collector eventually faces a dilemma: Is it worth getting coins graded? Or should you just leave them ungraded/BU?

The answer, of course, is highly dependent on the specific coin(s) you’re considering getting graded — as well as your plans for the coins. This guide will go over the pros and cons of coin grading to help you decide if it’s worth it to get coins graded.

Is It Worth It to Get My Coins Graded?

Not all coins are worth getting graded. There are upfront grading costs to consider (see below), and in some cases the cost of grading can outweigh the value of getting the coin graded!

To determine if it’s worth getting coins graded, here are a handful of things to consider:

  1. How much does the coin grading cost?
  2. Do you plan to keep or sell the coin?
  3. Is the coin likely to receive a high grade? Do you have the expertise to be able to tell?
  4. Would you use PCGS, NGC, or another coin grader?

These questions should be answered first before determining whether or not to grade your coins. The rest of this article will help you answer these questions in your own circumstances.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Coin Graded?

Coin grading can cost as little as ~$30 and as much as $300+ per coin. The factors that determine pricing include:

  • The coin grading company used (NGC and PCGS are the main two)
  • The category of the coin
  • The total expected value of the coin
  • The number of coins graded at once, as orders may have a flat rate processing fee + shipping fee

Many coins are graded for a flat cost, like $60 (plus handling & shipping fees). Others are graded for a flat cost plus a percentage of fair market value (like $100 + 1% of fair market value). Again, the specifics depend on the category, value, and type of coin you’re submitting for grading.

For full details, you can check out the PCGS pricing guide and the NGC pricing guide.

Does Coin Grading Increase the Value of the Coin?

It can, but there is no guarantee that getting a coin graded will increase its value.

One upfront benefit is that the coin will be examined for authenticity. This signals to collectors that a coin expert has already examined the coin and determined that it is legitimate. Given the prevalence of fake coins and counterfeits, this alone can potentially increase the value of the coin.

The next value-add is through the coin grade itself. And this, of course, varies depending on what the coin ends up being graded as. The difference can be huge.

For example, let’s look at a 1814 Large Date Capped Bust Dime. At a grade of MS25, the coin would be valued at around $450. At a better grade of MS60, the same coin could be worth as much as $3,000.

The catch is that it’s very difficult to determine what a coin will be graded as. To the untrained eye, it’s impossible to tell how a coin might fair.

With that said, it’s worth taking a look at the PCGS Price Guide and finding the specific coin(s) you’re considering grading. This can give you an idea of what the coin might be worth at certain grades, and help you tell if it might be worth getting a coin graded.

Should I Get My Coins Graded? Pros and Cons

To help you decide, here’s a brief list of the pros and cons of coin grading.

Advantages of Coin Grading

  • Grading confirms the authenticity of the coin
  • Grading can increase the value of a coin, though this is not guaranteed
  • You could get lucky and score a very high grade
  • Coins are handled professionally and placed in protective holders that can help preserve the coin

Disadvantages of Coin Grading

  • Grading can be costly, with prices ranging from $30+ to $300+ per coin
  • There’s no guarantee that you’ll get a good grade, or that the coin’s value will increase with the grading
  • Most grading companies charge handling fees and shipping fees, further increasing costs

Only you can decide whether or not it’s worthwhile to get coins graded. If you have a large collection, you might consider testing things out with a few choice coins to see how it goes.

If you’re looking to buy or sell coins (graded or ungraded), we hope you’ll trust Bellevue Rare Coins. BRC is the Seattle area’s premier destination for all things rare coins and bullion. With more than four decades of serving our community, we have the trusted expertise to make your next coin deal a pleasure.

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    Bellevue, WA 98004
    Hours: Mon-Fri 10 am - 6 pm
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    Phone: 425-454-1283
  • Lynnwood


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    Lynnwood, WA 98037
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  • Issaquah


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    Issaquah, WA 98027
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    Phone: 425-392-0450
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    Tacoma, WA 98402
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    Phone: 253-328-4014