Whether you’re an investor or collector interested in the purchase of silver coins, there is more to the value of a product than simply the mint that produces it or design on its surfaces. Silver coins have inherent value due to the metal, but also value that arises from the condition of the coin itself. When that condition is certified, the value of your purchase can increase even more with time. Learn more about Certified Silver Coins available from JM Bullion.
Certification from the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) or the Professional Coin Grading Service, the world’s preeminent authorities on coin certification, adds inherent value to the silver coins you are considering purchasing. For those who are new to the precious metals industry, Certified Silver Coins often come with terms that are unfamiliar. In the following paragraphs you’ll find all the information you need to decipher the terminology and value of coins that have received certification before you make the choice to buy silver.
The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, or NGC for short, was founded in 1987 as a third-party coin grading service that is independent of any private or sovereign mint. Currently, the NGC employs 30 full-time coin certifiers who are prohibited by contract from buying or selling coins commercially to ensure they remain impartial graders of coins. The NGC holds the distinction of being the world’s largest third-party coin grading company, having certified more than 33 million coins in total. The American Numismatic Association and Professional Numismatists Guild both use the NGC as their official grading service.
When you see NGC Certified Silver Coins listed in the JM Bullion catalog, you are viewing and considering for purchase coins that have gone through an extensive and highly regarded grading process. There is a general three-step process included in the NGC grading process, and are broken down into the following categories:
The Professional Coin Grading Service was formed by a small group of the nation’s leading coin experts in 1985 following the realization that the rare coin industry needed to address problems in the verification of coins in order for the hobby of coin collecting and investing to truly reach new heights. Prior to the formation of the PCGS, market participants were forced to assess the value of rare coins using divergent definitions of what precisely qualified as valuable.
The PCGS use of the Sheldon Scale in assigning grades to PCGS Certified American Silver Eagles and other coins helps investors and collectors rest assured that the coins they are purchase meet the standards and grading requirements of a coin of that particular grade. The PCGS stands behind its certifications, offering the following guarantee on its website:
“The PCGS Guarantee of Grade and Authenticity is fundamental to our concept of third-party grading. The cash-back policy ensures the accuracy of the grade assigned to any PCGS coin as long as it remains in its tamper-evident holder. As the owner of a PCGS-graded coin, the customer will have the benefit of PCGS’s Guarantee of Grading Accuracy and Authenticity and each PCGS Authorized Dealer will accept the grades assigned to the coins by PCGS.”
In order to ensure that the coins PCGS Certified Silver Coins you receive when buying silver arrive in their promised condition, the PCGS encapsulates all coins it certifies inside of protective plastic slabs that not only protect the coin from damage, but preserve it for decades to come.
There is no restriction on coins that can be certified by the NGC or PCGS. Both bullion and proof coins are eligible for certification, and regardless of the type of coin the products go through the same certification process. The only difference in the certification of bullion and proof coins is labeling, as discussed in the sections above. Below are examples of coins that are regularly certified by the NGC and PCGS:
These coins do not represent a comprehensive list of those products in the JM Bullion catalog with certification. Instead, this list is a representation of coins released annually which are offered both in their original condition from the mint of origin and as certified coins submitted for the grading process by mints or authorized dealers.
Before the NGC and PCGS formed a formal certification process, it was generally agreed upon that physical condition, or grade, of the coin was important to the value. However, there was not a universal system for grading or even a universal standard that could be applied. Prior to the 1980s, rare coin collectors had only three broad categories to place coins within based upon their condition. These included:
The problem that was created by this system of definitions is that collectors and dealers eventually realized that some Fine coins, for example, were finer than others. In 1948, renowned numismatist Dr. William Sheldon had developed a scale for assigning grades between 1 and 70 to coins. In theory, his Sheldon Scale posited that a grade 70 coin was worth 70 times the value of a grade 1.
In refining the Sheldon Scale and applying it to modern NGC and PCGS Certified Silver Coins, the two certification houses found that many buyers were often taken advantage of because of the difficulty in telling the difference between coins of the same category. For example, a Mint State 65 coin has a market value (in most cases) that is greater than the same coin with a Mint State 64 coin, but the differences are nearly undetectable by an untrained eye.
Today, the NGC and PCGS use the 1 to 70 Sheldon Scale to certify the condition of all coins it grades. Each grade starts with a strike type, which includes the following options:
Each of the different certification levels indicates a different level of wear and tear, or conversely perfection, to the coin’s surface, design features, and markings. The most common Certified Silver Coins you’ll find in the JM Bullion catalog include many of the following designations for both bullion and proof options:
Purchasing certified coins may feel overwhelming. If you have any questions when buying silver in this category, please feel free to reach out to JM Bullion. Our customer service team can help answer your questions over the phone at 800-276-6508, online using our live chat service, and via our email address.