Getting a Valuable Coin Appraised

July 26, 2018 3 min read

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 retail market value.

3. Consolidate your coins into one place. Should you have a larger collection, it may take a while for the appraiser to give you an accurate figure. This is especially true if you have a collection that is strewn about or stored in many different places. To improve efficiency, get all of your coins together into one place. If you are having the collection appraised at your home or office, choose a quiet location with adequate space and good lighting for the coins to be reviewed. Doing so will ensure the appraisal process is as smooth and accurate as possible. 

4. Get Your Best Coins Certified. 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 certain 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 best coins authenticated. ONR is an authorized submission center for the leading coin grading services PCGS and NGC. Our experts can assist you in choosing the coins most suited for certification and send those for authentication and grading on your behalf. Many common coins of lower value do not benefit from certification, and ONR can help identify these as well. Once your coins are certified, ONR will be able to render the most accurate appraisal possible. 

5. Choose a Reputable Coin Dealer. When looking for a dealer and appraiser you should chose one affiliated with other respected coin organizations. At ONR, we are proud to be Life Members of the American Numismatic Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists, as well as authorized dealers for Professional Coin Grading Service, Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, and Paper Money Guarantee Corporation, among others. Only do business with a trusted coin dealer like ONR. 


6. Let’s Make a Deal! There are two values an appraiser can give you: the retail fair market value and what a dealer would be willing to pay. The retail value is analogous to the replacement cost and represents what a collector can reasonably expect to pay when purchasing a similar item. This sort of appraisal is most suited for estate planning and insurance purposes and can be issued as a formal written report. If you think you want to sell your coin or collection, the appraisal can also indicate what they or another dealer might be willing to pay for the items. Unless you prefer to deal with two separate entities, it’s easier to work with one firm. ONR is always buying and will pay competitive prices for every coin, banknote, and precious metals product in your collection.

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. Visit us for all your coin collecting needs. Call us today – (844) 667-2646.