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    Certified Silver Coins

    Certified Silver Coins from JM Bullion

    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.

    What are Certified Silver Coins?

    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.

    What is the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation?

    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.

    NGC Coin Grading Process

    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:

    • Receiving Coins: The NGC’s receiving department accepts coins from authorized dealers and collectors alike, and opens new shipments every morning. These coins are verified by number according to the packaging invoices, and then a detailed comparison process takes place to ensure the date marks, denominations, and mint marks match up to the actual coins.
    • Grading Coins: The NGC uses a collaborative team effort to grade each of the coins it receives. Coins that include various designations are examined by NGC numismatists who specialize in those various attributions and designations. Each is compared individual against published references, and appropriate descriptions and numbers are added to the record as necessary. From there, at least two numismatists grade every coin, and when necessary supplemental information is added to provide the most thorough description of the coin’s condition.
    • Encapsulation Process: After coins are graded by the NGC, all certified coins are taken to the encapsulation department where labels are printed to identify the condition and designation of each coin, and the product is encapsulated in a transparent plastic shell to protect the condition of the coin for decades to come.

    What is the Professional Coin Grading Service?

    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.

    Common Certified Coins

    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:

    • American Silver Eagles: The official silver bullion coin of the United States, the American Silver Eagle bullion coin has been available to investors since 1986 and is regularly available in various certified conditions. The proof coin, also available since 1986, and the burnished coin (2006) in the Silver Eagle series are also with certifications. The burnished coins earn the same Mint State labels the bullion Silver Eagles receive during grading.
    • Historic US Circulation Coins: Silver dollars, in particular, and other former circulation US coins are regularly submitted by collectors and authorized dealers for certification. US circulation silver coins featured .900 silver content from as early as 1794 until 1964. Already valuable among collectors, certification verifies the condition of these coveted coins and adds additional collectible value to products such as Morgan Silver Dollars and Peace Silver Dollars.
    • British Silver Britannias: The official silver bullion coin of Great Britain, the Silver Britannia is available to investors only as a bullion coin. Introduced in 1997, the coins originally had .958 silver content. As of 2013, the coins feature .999 pure silver content.
    • British Queen’s Beast: The Queen’s Beast Series is a unique collection. Limited to a total of 10 designs issued from 2016 to 2021, the silver coins are available in bullion and proof versions. Both the NGC and PCGS have seen an influx of these coins for certification since their debut.
    • Canadian Silver Maple Leafs: Canada’s official silver bullion coin is notable as the first-ever .9999 pure silver coin. Offered annually by the Royal Canadian Mint since 1988, the Silver Maple Leaf is a popular investment option and is regularly submitted to both grading houses for certification.
    • Chinese Silver Pandas: Another popular silver bullion coin in the global marketplace, the Silver Panda has also experienced an increase in available certified coins in recent years. As the popularity of the Chinese Silver Panda grows, so too does the number of available coins from the series with certifications. Similar to the British Silver Britannias, Silver Pandas are rarely offered as a proof coin, with the Chinese Mint instead focusing on bullion production.
    • Mexican Silver Libertads: The Mexican Silver Libertad coin is notable as the first-ever silver bullion coin for investors. Introduced in 1982, the Silver Libertad beat the Silver Panda, Silver Eagle, and countless others to market as an option for buyers. The Silver Libertad is available in eight different weights as a bullion coin, seven different weights as a proof coin, and one weight in a proof-like offering. This makes the Silver Libertad one of the most diverse programs available, with the added benefit of low mintage figures.

    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.

    Evolution of Coin Certification

    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:

    • Good: to qualify, these coins had to maintain most of the details of the design intact.
    • Fine: to qualify, these coins had to exhibit clear detail and some of its luster on the surfaces.
    • Uncirculated: to qualify, these coins should never have been in general circulation and still exhibit their full mint state condition.

    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:

    • MS: Stands for Mint State, and identifies a coin struck in the same format as circulation issues and applies to grades 60 through 70.
    • PF/PR: Stands for Proof, and identifies coins struck in a special format to attract the eye of collectors.
    • SP: A Specimen coin is one that has a hybrid strike type between Mint State and Proof.

    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:

    • Mint State/Proof (PF/PR) 70: These coins are considered perfect specimens with no post-production imperfections when viewed under 5x magnification, and include their full, original mint luster.
    • Mint State/Proof (PF/PR) 69: These are considered near-perfect coins with nearly imperceptible imperfections. Though they maintain full, original mint luster, there is a maximum of two minor imperfections on the coin such as minuscule hairlines.
    • DCAM/UCAM: Deep Cameo or Ultra-cameo is a term reserved only for proof Certified Silver Coins. These terms refer to a proof specimen that has a strong, frosted finish on the design set with a contrasting deeply-mirrored, clear background field. This effect gives the impression that the design is floating above the surface area of the coin.
    • FS/ER: Short for First Strike or Early Release, these designations are used for coins that arrive at the PCGS or NGC depository or approved third-party depository within the first 30 days of the release date set by the production mint for a given coin. These coins ship with special First Strike or Early Release Labels courtesy of the PCGS/NGC.

    Buying Certified Coins from JM Bullion

    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.