HomeSilver BullionSilver CoinsCertified Silver Coins
If you’re looking to expand your portfolio to include precious metals, certified silver coins offer a comfortable entry point for anyone who’s new to this type of investment. Rely on Silver.com to help you navigate your options as you consider purchasing certified silver coins.
Silver coins receive the “certified” label after they’ve gone through the grading process. This involves having trained experts verify the authenticity of the coins and establish their value. Many investors prefer to deal in silver coins that are certified because they carry an explicit guarantee of quality through the certification process. Certification typically comes from a third-party appraisal organization that issues a grade and then seals the coin in a protective holder.
Giving a coin a specific grade involves a thorough review of the coin’s condition by an expert who has extensive training and experience in evaluating silver coins. The coin’s grade reflects a combination of factors including the coin’s rarity, ability to be liquidated, the physical quality, and interest in the coin. Because the grade rests on the combination of these factors, certified silver coins may have a value that exceeds the worth of the actual silver in the coin.
In the late 1940s, Dr. William Sheldon developed a grading scale that ranges from one to 70, with one being the lowest grade a coin can receive. Prior to this innovation, dealers had only three grade levels from which to choose, leaving little room to make fine distinctions between coins of varying quality. In addition to Sheldon’s numeric grade, coins receive a descriptive prefix that further clarifies the coin’s condition. Experts who evaluate coins may use one of several rarity scales to help them determine the coin’s overall grade.
Only the most pristine coins receive a rating of MS-70. Coins achieve the prestigious MS label because they are in “Mint State.” This means they’ve never been put into circulation. Low grades of one to five indicate the coin has experienced so much handling and wear that even the major features of the coin are missing or barely visible. Most coins fall somewhere between these two extreme grades. Coins with lower grades may have some details visible but still show tremendous wear, while certified silver coins with higher grades look “about uncirculated.”
There are two leading entities that grade coins: Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC). PCGS is the brainchild of a group of coin dealers who got together in 1985 to discuss setting standards for evaluating a coin’s value. By 1986, PCGS had formed, billing itself as a reputable third party appraisal organization. The evaluations PCGS conducts are backed by a money-back guarantee and dealers in the PCGS network agree to a sight unseen trading policy.
NGC began its work as a third-party appraiser in 1987. This organization has two or more experts, known as numismatists, evaluate every coin. Both NGC and PCGS place coins in special containers called slabs to preserve the coin, and by extension, the integrity of the grade.
Professional coin graders begin by looking on the coin for the date and designation of the coin’s type. To evaluate wear, numismatists inspect rims (at the edges), the sharpness of lettering on the coin, the degree of flatness on high points, the absence of marks, the clarity of all details, and overall visual appeal. Occasionally, graders determine that they can’t grade a coin. This occurs with coins have problems such as filed edges, deterioration from harsh cleaning, and the presence of applied substances.
One of the primary appeals of certified silver coins is the inherent cool factor of owning something rare or very old. These coins come from countries all over the world and represent many different eras of world history. In addition, certified silver coins carry the assurance of quality and value through the certification and grading process. Investors can feel confident about the condition and rarity of the coins they’re purchasing if they’ve been certified.
If you’re ready to browse a collection of certified silver coins, let Silver.com show you the diversity and range of options that are available. Whether you’re a beginning collector or a long-time fan of these coins, you’re sure to find something that catches your attention.