What Are Certified Coins and Why Do They Matter

What Are Certified Coins, and Why Do They Matter?


Written by John Rothans

May 19, 2021

Certified coins can be a portfolio’s secret weapon for wealth protection. Learn the ins and outs of certified coins and why certified coins deserve to earn a place in your portfolio.

What Is a Certified Coin?

Unlike a typical bullion coin, a certified coin undergoes an extensive evaluation process by an independent coin grading service such as Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). Coins certified by PCGS have a unique label that lets you quickly verify a coin’s authenticity and quality. The higher the grade, the more perfect—and often pricier—the coin. But grade isn’t the only factor that can influence a certified coin’s price.

Certified gold and silver coins are judged on the Sheldon Grading Scale, developed in 1948. The scale ranges from 1 to 70, with 1 being the lowest grade and 70 being the highest.

“Coin grading and authentication emerged as [solutions] to rampant counterfeiting and coin doctoring in the…coin industry,” PCGS explains.

Not all coins are eligible for the grading process, though. According to coin-grading consultant Don Ketterling, many coins are returned ungraded by grading services because of various issues. For instance, the coins may be:

  • Counterfeit
  • Improperly cleaned
  • Physically or environmentally damaged
  • Contaminated

The Benefits of Certified Coins

Compared with bullion coins, certified coins can provide precious metals owners a way to minimize risk and maximize reward over a long period.

While the price of an ungraded bullion coin is determined primarily by the market price of the metal and the coin’s weight, the price of a certified coin is also connected to availability and condition.

As such, certified coins usually aren’t subject to the same level of price volatility as ungraded bullion coins. When economic conditions begin to fluctuate, you might see the price of a certified coin move less than that of an ungraded bullion coin.

What Should You Look for When Buying a Certified Coin?

When you’re looking to buy a certified coin, take a look at the coin’s LAPPS (label, availability, preservation, price, and score).

  • Label: The label gives you an overview of the coin, including the name of the grading service that certified the coin, the legal-tender denomination (such as $50), the year of issue, and the unique serial number and barcode.
  • Availability: You’ll want to know both the mintage and population of the certified coin. Mintage refers to the number of coins produced by a mint, while population refers to the number of coins certified by a grading service. Only a fraction of a coin’s total mintage will ever grade a perfect 70, making it even harder to find high-grade coins for years with significantly lower mintages.
  • Preservation: Is the coin sealed in a plastic case? If not, make sure you verify the coin’s authenticity. Certified coins are sonically sealed in protective plastic cases.
  • Price: How much does the coin cost? The price will help you determine which coins to buy and how many of them to buy.
  • Score: What grade did the coin grading service apply to the coin? Coins graded 69 and 70 represent the top grades available and are close to museum-grade quality. Nearly all modern certified gold coins sold by U.S. Money Reserve are graded a perfect PR-70 or near-perfect PR-69 by PCGS.

Shop certified gold and certified silver coins today! Buy certified gold and silver coins online or over the phone. Call U.S. Money Reserve now with any questions you may have about certified coins. Account Executives are available to take your call today.


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