The Art Of Collecting Graded Collectible Coins
Seeking out the biggest riches has been a part of the people’s mentality since treasures and riches were being created. Now the hunt is on for rare and collectible coins, all of which have a history of being in circulation or not. Explorers have now expanded their searches to the depths of the oceans digging through ship wrecks to find any kind of treasures that may be hiding. The new treasure for the modern American to search for is coins, and rare coins at that. Rare graded collectible coins in good quality are among the most valuable trinkets in existence.
Grade is basically a grading system for the quality of a coin. This is a 70 point grading system with several sub-divisions; ranging from: 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 20, 40, 50, 58, 60, 63, 65, 68, 69, and 70. Obviously the higher the rating the better the quality of the coin.
What inspectors look for when grading collectible coins is, wear, identifiable mintmark and date, the etching of the word liberty, eye appeal, and luster. These qualities can be examined obviously with the naked eye, but are then put under further scrutiny with magnifying glasses, and microscopes.
A coin that is in perfect condition will receive a rating of MS-70, which states that the coin has perfect original luster, with no wear marks, and the stamp on the coin has been perfectly centered. All of these are checked for using a microscope with an 8X optical zoom lens.
Buckets make the grading process all the more confusing. Buckets are categories that these coins can be put into, the first bucket is for almost uncirculated coins, and then the next category is for circulated coins, followed by the last category, or bucket for uncirculated coins. A coin can be visibly of a lesser quality than that of other coins, but may receive a higher grade, this is simply due to the bucket that the individual coin may be placed into.
Coins that rank in the big dollars are often coins that do not receive a high grade, but are among the rarest around. For example the Liberty Head Nickel may be sold for upwards of a million dollars because of the fact that there are only five known to be in existence. Mules are also known for being priceless relics. Mules are coins that feature a mismatched stamp on one side, for example a nickel may have the back of a dime.
A perfect example of a rare mule is the PCGS MS-66 Red, which is a penny with the correct head of Abraham Lincoln on the front, yet the back side of the coin features the tail side of an everyday dime. These random miss happenings are often due to changes going on at the mint that the specific coin came from. Sometimes during changes due to demand for more of one type of coin, mules are produced and sent to banks by accident, where they reach the public and become an accidental phenomenon.
The newest and perhaps one of the smallest treasures to hunt for are graded collectible coins. This tiny trinket from the past may be worth hefty sums of money due to their rarity and grade. Go out and look for these tiny pieces of stamped copper, silver and nickel; you may be surprised at what you find.
Stephen Huston is an expert author, and also collects graded collectible coins. For more information on coins and working from home, visit Stephen’s blog at Stephen Huston.com