Silver Coin Grading

An important part of determining the value of any silver coin–particularly a rare or unusual one–comes from silver coin grading. Some of the factors used to determine the value of a silver coin include, the quality leaving the mint, the weight, the content of silver, the original seal, and the certificate.

The quality of the silver coin when it leaves the mint determines a lot of the coins value. In fact, it’s possible that even proof coins can have very tiny imperfections that result during the striking process at the mint. So, when a coin struck at the mint an imperfection will be left even from a tiny hair or hint of dust between the coin and the die.

Indeed, the same goes for the weight of the coin, and along with weight is how much silver a coin contains. Meaning, what percentage of silver it has. Most silver coins will be around 99.99 percent silver. Certainly, with the silver content, the weight specifications should also be known, such as grams or ounces. The weight and purity of silver in each coin largely determine the value, or grade of the coin.

Oils, bacteria populations, and just plain dirt sit on your hands. So, if the coin is in its original seal or bubble, that seal saves the coin from all the oil, bacteria and dirt from hands. Definitely, the less exposure to air and accidental touching the higher value the coin will remain.

As an additional note, proof silver coins are struck in a special way with extra attention to the striking process and sealing process. These silver coins, primarily meant for collectors, could be an investors dream because of the special care taken during minting and sealing: it keeps the coin far more valuable.

Among other factors, a certificate of authenticity proves the value of the coin in question. If a certificate comes with the coin describing the qualities and specifications of the coin keep it with the coin. Certificates verify a coins value.

Another important point to consider about certified silver coins is the idea of protecting both the buyer and the seller. Certificates provided protection, an agreed grading, and value for the silver coin for all parties involved.

As rule of thumb, all—indeed all, rare silver coins should be independently certified for grade and authenticity by a leading independent grading service.

So when you first receive a coin fresh from the mint do a careful examination of both sides of the coin to ensure there are no imperfections. This should be done while the coin is in its protective holder or bubble and should–under no circumstances, ever be removed and handled because of the oil, bacteria populations, and dirt we talked about earlier: the coin could be devalued from your hand.

Check for hairline cracks created just by handling a silver proof coin. Handling the coin remains why many silver coins are downgraded to Proof-63 and Proof-64 instead of Proof-69 or Proof-70. Anything that touches the surface of the coin can leave hairlines. Sorry for the repetition, but touching the coin devalues the coin.

In addition to never handling the coin, silver coins should never be cleaned. Even cleaning a silver coin can adversely affect its grading. In rare cases, coins should be cleaned, but even then, cleaning silver coins should be left to a professional.

As chemicals clean the silver, the chemicals can sometimes remove a layer of silver leaving a bright surface underneath. Or, a second method of cleaning uses mechanical cleaners where abrasives are used and will commonly scratch the surface of the coin. Either chemical or abrasive cleaning can reduce the grading and therefore the value of the coin.

Simply put, it’s almost certainly wiser to avoid any cleaning whatsoever as cleaning may decrease the grading of the silver coin. Silver coin grading is very important to ensure you can demonstrate the true value of your coin collection and well worth the small amount it costs to obtain certification. Get it graded.