Coin Buying Guide

There are several important questions to ask before buying or selling a coin, or submitting it for grading. A few simple questions can save you lots of time and money. NGC has prepared answers to the questions that every collector, dealer or investor should ask.

Is the coin genuine?

First and foremost, you need to know if a coin is genuine. All US and world coins certified by NGC are guaranteed to be genuine.

Read the NGC Guarantee >

What is the coin’s grade?

A coin’s grade is a simple yet highly accurate way to convey its condition and appearance. NGC grades problem-free US and world coins on an internationally recognized scale of 1 to 70. Coins certified by NGC are guaranteed not to be overgraded.

Learn more about the NGC Grading Scale >

3 NGC-graded coins in holders

What is the coin worth?

Knowing the accurate fair market value of a coin is essential so that you don’t pay too much for it, sell it for too little or underinsure it. NGC certification makes it easier to determine a coin’s value because collectors, dealers and auction houses around the world trust, understand and use NGC’s grades. NGC also offers a suite of price guides on its websites to help collectors research coin values.

Explore the NGC US Coin Price Guide >

Explore the NGC World Coin Price Guide >

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How long has the grading service been in business?

Across all industries, the number of years a company has been business is a strong indicator of that company’s ability to serve its customers with quality services and professionalism. NGC was established in 1987 and has been dedicated to certifying coins, tokens and medals for over 32 years.

How many coins has the grading service certified?

The number of coins certified by a grading service reflects its experience and legitimacy. NGC has certified more than 58,000,000 coins, tokens and medals—more than any other grading service.

Does the grading service buy or sell coins?

It is an obvious conflict of interest for a grading service or its graders to buy and sell coins commercially. To ensure impartiality, NGC and its full-time graders do not buy and sell coins commercially, and strict procedures are in place to prevent consultants from influencing the grades assigned to their own submissions. NGC does not compete with its customers.

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Who are the graders?

Professional coin grading requires a trained eye, extensive knowledge and access to the best technology and information. NGC employs more than 30 full-time graders who have hundreds of years of combined numismatic experience and expertise. NGC graders have access to specialized equipment, a comprehensive high-resolution image catalog and the latest research.

Learn more about the NGC Grading Team >

Does the grading service have a guarantee?

Guarantees help to protect collectors, dealers and investors. NGC backs each US and world coin that it certifies with the comprehensive NGC Guarantee of authenticity and grade. In the rare event that an NGC-certified US or world coin is later determined to be not genuine or overgraded, NGC provides the coin’s owner with recourse and remuneration.

Read the NGC Guarantee >

Will the coin’s holder protect it?

A coin’s holder should provide long-term protection and prevent against counterfeiting or tampering. NGC’s holder is the result of millions of dollars in research and development and decades of refinement. It is designed to provide superior preservation and display for coins and has numerous security features, such as an ultrasonic seal and an advanced-technology hologram that is virtually impossible to duplicate. The Smithsonian Institution, the Shanghai Mint Museum and other museums around the world use NGC holders to protect some of their most valuable rarities.

See NGC’s holders >

NGC-graded coins in holders

Is the grading service trusted globally?

In today’s market, coins are frequently bought and sold around the world at trade shows and online—sometimes even sight unseen. It is therefore important to use a grading service that operates on an international scale and is trusted globally. NGC has offices in the United States, China, Germany and the United Kingdom as well as 19 Official Submission Centers and thousands of Authorized Dealers. Collectors and dealers around the world trust the accuracy, consistency and impartiality of NGC certification.

View NGC’s affiliates >

Does the grading service support the market?

A good leader participates in and supports the community that supports it. NGC supports numismatic organizations around the world. Since 1995, NGC has been the official grading service of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), the only coin collecting organization chartered by the US Congress. NGC is also the official grading service of the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG), the Macau Numismatic Society (MNS), the National Silver Dollar Roundtable (NSDR) and Roundtable Trading, LLC/Coin Dealers Helping Coin Dealers (CDHCD).

NGC is the largest fundraiser for the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA), which advocates for coin dealers and numismatics at the local, state and federal level.

In addition, NGC offers a wealth of free educational content on its website, including thousands of articles, the NGC Coin Explorer, NGC Census population data and more. These resources help collectors to make smarter purchases.

Read the latest NGC news and research >

Visit the NGC Coin Explorer >

Visit the NGC Census >

If you have any questions about NGC, its services and its benefits, contact NGC.

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