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A Guide to an Honest and Accurate Coin Appraisal

If you have a unique coin you think is worth something, the only way to really know is by getting it appraised. Getting a coin appraised can be intimidating to the novice collector, but ONR encourages everyone to follow these five helpful steps when searching for an honest and accurate coin appraiser. 

1. Never clean your coins. If you want to get the most accurate appraisal value, you should never (ever, ever, ever!) clean your coins. Unlike other assets, cleaning your coin immediately diminishes the value of it. If there is one tip ONR stresses the most, this is the one!


2. Do your homework. If you were thinking of selling your 1976 Volkswagen Beetle, you’d probably consult a credible auto-industry source, like Edmund’s, before putting it up for sale. A coin collector should be no different. If you are a novice collector, start with the Guide Book of United States Coins, known in the numismatic industry as the ‘Red Book’. This will give you a general idea about rarity and value.


3. Separate into piles. Should you have a larger collection it’s going to take a while for the appraiser to give you an accurate figure. Knowing upfront that a bent coin, one with a hole and those that have been cleaned, will lower your appraisal value will save everyone time. And, while you should still get all coins appraised, separate piles make an appraisal a much smoother (and more accurate) process.


4. Get Your Coins Authenticated. The truth is, there are simply too many counterfeit coins out there. Most coin dealers can spot a fake a mile away, but even the most highly-regarded numismatist can be fooled by the modern advancements in coin forgery. Having a coin authenticated, graded and slabbed by a third-party coin grading company will increase your odds at a better appraisal value. Dealers who buy and sell coins are leery about coins that haven’t been authenticated by a major firm because these firms are backed by decades of coin grading credibility. If you want an accurate appraisal, get your coin authenticated.


5. Choose a Reputable Coin Dealer. When looking for a dealer and appraiser you should gear towards those working with other respected coin organizations. At ONR, we are proud to be accredited by the American Numismatic Association and the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. It’s organizations like these that create the criteria for coin appraising. Only do business with a trusted coin dealer.


6.      Let’s Make a Deal! There are two values your appraiser will give you: Replacement value and bid value. Replacement is the actual cost you’d need to pay if you lost it, the bid value is what someone is willing to give you for it (which is usually 20% if the replacement value). If you think you want to sell your coin or collection, it’s best to visit an appraiser who also buys coins. Unless you prefer to deal with two separate entity’s, it’s easier to work with a one-stop-shop. Always call ahead to see if you’re appraiser buy coins and then you can decide on making a deal.

ONR is Pittsburgh’s premier source for rare coins and precious metals. We offer appraisals at our Pittsburgh Strip District location or we can complete a private consultation in your home or office. We are accredited by various numismatic organizations and provide a quality service to the novice and expert collector. Visit us for all your coin collecting needs. Call us today – (844) 667-2646.