How I price a certified coin at my counter?

header-PriceACertifiedCoin-JSmithIn this article I will briefly run down for you how I price a coin that would come in to my store if it were certified by PCGS or NGC. Most coin dealers believe that PCGS is the number one grading service followed closely by NGC. Two other grading services can be acceptable to most dealers also those being ANACS and ICG. All other grading services are what I would term “Wild Wild West,” meaning their grading standards can be loose.

Let’s run a quick hypothetical buy or pawn which may come in your store. For this example I will use an 1882 Carson City Certified Morgan in an NGC Certified Holder graded MS65. I am assuming the coin is relatively attractive and does not have any ugly yellow toning or distracting marks. The first thing I do is go to the PCGS Price Guide at On that site you will see a menu that shows coins of all types.

In bold letters I will see “Dollars.”

I scroll down and click on “Morgan Dollar 1878-1921.”

Scrolling down on the next page I will locate the tab for 1882 CC Morgan Dollars and to the left I will see the PCGS number of 7134.

I click on this hyperlinked number and it will bring up a new page showing all sorts of data on this coin including mintage figures, census figures for the different grades and prices.

Prices are what we are interested in. I can click on the arrows further down the page and eventually bring up a column of all the MS65 Graded Auction results. The results are separated for PCGS and NGC graded coins.

I can see that the last auction result for this coin in NGC MS65 was for $360 and you will see that it says “3/18 SB $360.” What this means is that the most recent auction data was from a Stacks-Bowers Auction on March of 2018.

You can actually click on this auction listing and see the coin that was auctioned at Stacks-Bowers. Stacks is one of the largest coin auction companies in the nation. Typically on these pages you will see data from Heritage Auctions, eBay, Stacks-Bowers, Great Collections, Kagins, Goldbergs, and David Lawrence which are all major coin auction marketplaces.

Next I realize that these marketplaces charge fees typically of 15% so I take that result of $360 and multiply it by .85 (100% minus the 15% charged for the fee) to get what I think that coin is worth if I had to buy it. That result is a “Safe Number,” of $306.

That is about what I would be comfortable paying for this coin over the counter and where I might start with the customer.

Loaning on it will be a different story. If I had a longer hold period in my state I might err on the lower side with this coin in case the market changed. Since the 1882 CC Morgan is a relatively stable and in-demand coin and I am fortunate to know the coin market better than most though I would likely stick to my $306 offer or maybe even go a little higher if the coin looks really good for an MS65. If the coin were graded by PCGS then you can see on the price guide page the last result for a PCGS graded MS65 1882 CC Morgan was $408 in March of 2018. In that case I would be comfortable paying $346.80 and possibly more again if the coin really looks good. If the coin were graded by ANACS or ICG it may trade for 10-40% less than a coin graded by NGC or PCGS so that is also something to be aware of. If it were graded by any other grading service I would try to buy it for an ungraded “Raw,” price typical of those on eBay.

Hopefully this gives you some insight into how I quickly price a coin that comes in to my shop? Keep in mind the coin market is very fluid and can change day to day so my method is not always foolproof and some of these values can change wildly. The marketplaces can and do increase their fees. There are also other factors that can affect a coin’s price like Natural Rainbow Toning, Certified Acceptance Corporation “Green Bean,” stickers and plus and star grading. These are subjects though for a whole other article so stay tuned for more. If you have any questions regarding coins and bullion reach out to me at [email protected]