May 2024


May 2024

How Much Does it Cost to Grade a Coin?

By StoneX Bullion

Coin grading is the process of having a coin’s condition assessed by an independent third party. Collectors and investors use coin grading to authenticate their coins, assess quality, and potentially increase their market value. The cost to grade your coins depends on various factors, including the coin-grading company you choose, the value of the coin you’re grading, and the desired turnaround time.

In this guide, we explore what you need to know about coin grading, including how coins are graded, when you should and shouldn't get a coin graded, and how much coin grading costs. When talking about the costs of coin grading, we’ll focus on the two most trusted coin-grading organizations, the PCGS and NGC.

Key takeaways:

  • The most commonly used method of coin grading is the Sheldon Scale, which rates coins between 1 and 70. A higher grade means a higher quality coin.
  • Coin-grading companies don't assign value to coins, they simply assess their condition and quality and the market decides the value.
  • The cost of coin grading includes annual membership and a submission fee which varies depending on your coin’s value and desired turnaround time.
  • There are some cases when it may not be worth having your coin graded, for example if it's a low-value coin or a damaged coin.

What is coin grading?

Coin grading is the process of evaluating a coin's condition or value and assigning it a grade based on a standardized scale. Coins are graded by an independent third party based on various criteria, including luster, color, strike, attractiveness, mint location, surface masks, and wear and tear. This provides a standardized method for assessing a coin’s quality rather than relying on subjective interpretation. For example, coin collectors and investors can simply mention a coin's grade instead of describing its condition in detail.

It's important to note that coin grading services don't appraise or assign value to coins. They simply provide a numerical grade and then the market decides how much the coin is worth.

How are coins graded?

The most widely used scale for grading coins is the Sheldon Scale, an internationally-recognized scale which offers a ‘grade’ between 1 and 70 depending on the coin's quality. The higher the grade, the higher the coin’s quality.

Here’s how the grading process works using the Sheldon Scale:







Heavily worn; only basal detail remains.




Coin is identifiable, design is flat and visible in outline, and rim is essentially indistinguishable from coin fields.



About Good

Design details are flat and appear in outline. Portions of the rim are lost to wear.


4, 6


Design details are flat and visible in outline. Some portions of the design may be faint.


8, 10

Very Good

Heavy wear flattens design elements, although major features are clearly outlined.


12, 15


Moderate wear on many elements with heavy wear on high points. Major design elements remain visible.


20, 25, 30, 35

Very Fine

Major details of the coin are clear although wear is evident; the high points show moderate wear.


40, 45

Extremely Fine

Design features are well-defined, although light wear is evident throughout.


50, 53, 55, 58

About Uncirculated

Traces of light wear are evident on the high points of the coin’s design.


60 - 70

Mint State (Uncirculated)

A coin that shows no wear or evidence of circulation.


While collectors may pay more for coins with higher grades, a coin’s grade isn’t directly linked to its value. For example, a newly-minted gold bullion coin like the 1 oz Britannia Charles III Gold Coin would receive an MS-70 grade while a historic collectible coin with more wear and tear might have a lower grade even if it’s actually worth much more.

Keep reading: What are the Best Gold Coins to Buy and Why? From Kruggerands to Maple Leafs

Why should you get a coin graded?

There are several reasons why you might want to have your coins graded, and also some reasons why you shouldn't grade your coins. Benefits of grading coins include:

  • Authentication: Professional grading services can verify the authenticity of your coin.
  • Evaluation: You'll receive an unbiased assessment of your coin's condition using standardized criteria.
  • Protection: Graded coins are encapsulated in tamper-proof cases which protect them from environmental damage, handling, and other wear and tear.
  • Marketability: Graded coins can be more easily bought and sold as they provide potential buyers with a guarantee of a coin's quality and authenticity, making transactions easier.

Should I get my coin graded?

Essentially, whether or not you should get your coins graded will depend on what your coin is currently worth and how much it might be worth if it was graded. It's recommended to only get coins graded if you think the added value will surpass the costs of grading the coin.

For example, let's say you have a 1988 American Silver Eagle in what appears to be mint state condition. This coin might sell for around $44 ungraded at the current silver spot price. Here's what that coin might be worth if graded highly:

  • MS-69: $65
  • MS-70: $2,350.

As you can see, you’d get quite a significant return on your grading submission investment if your coin grades as an MS-70. This might make it worth getting the coin graded as the value increase is significant. That said, there’s no guarantee that your coin will be graded that highly, and most bullion coins like this one would typically grade around MS-69 unless they're exceptionally flawless.

When shouldn’t I get a coin graded?

In some cases, we advise against getting a coin graded. For example:

  • Low-value coin: If the coin is of a low-value then the cost of grading could exceed the coin's worth.
  • Damaged coins: Because coin grading largely assesses a coin based on its appearance and condition, damaged coins are unlikely to receive a high grade, even if they’re high-value numismatic coins.

Does grading a coin make it more valuable?

There’s a big misconception that having your coin graded will automatically make it more valuable. This is largely untrue. In most cases, coin grading just makes coins easier to sell by providing proof of quality and authenticity. On very rare occasions, a coin may receive an especially high grade and become worth much more than it was before grading. That said, this happens rarely.

Also see: What are the Top Silver Coins for Investment?

Where can I get my coins graded?

The two most trusted organizations providing professional grading services are the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC). There are few differences between the two organizations and both have a strong reputation of high standards and reliability.

Choosing between the PCGS and NGC generally depends on your personal preferences and cost factors involved. Below, we look at the process of grading a coin with each of these organizations, including costs involved.

How much does it cost to grade a coin with PCGS?

To have a coin graded by PCGS, you must first become a member of the Collectors Club. The annual membership tiers are:

  • Silver Level: The most basic membership costs $69 and includes no grading vouchers.
  • Gold Level: The standard tier costs $149 and includes 4 grading vouchers.
  • Platinum Level: The premium membership costs $249 and includes 8 grading vouchers.

Once you’ve become a member, you can submit a coin for PCGS grading. This is also structured into tiers:

  • Economy Grading: This is available for coins valued $300 or less. It costs $22 and has a turnaround time of around 70 business days.
  • Regular Grading: This is available for coins valued $2,500 and under. It costs $38 and has a turnaround time of around 50 business days.
  • Express Grading: This is for coins valued $10,000 or less. It costs $65 and has a turnaround time of around 15 business days.

Summary: Grading a coin with PCGS

The lowest you can expect to pay for grading a coin with PCGS is around $91, including silver membership and economy grading. This doesn’t include return shipping, and your coin must be worth less than $300.

Continue reading: Why Do Silver Coins Tarnish and How to Clean Them

How much does it cost to grade a coin with NGC?

Like the PCGS, you must first become a member. While there is a free membership tier, this doesn’t actually allow you to submit coins for grading. To grade coins with NGC, you must join one of the paid membership tiers:

  • Associate Member: This costs $25 and includes 10% off select add-on services and items at the CCG store.
  • Premium Member: This costs $149 and includes the same benefits of Associate membership with the addition of a $150 credit.
  • Elite Member: This costs $299 per year and includes the same benefits of Premium membership as well as bulk submission rates and 10% off NGC Grading, NCS Conservation, and PMG Grading.

When it comes to coin submissions, a $10 handling fee applies per coin when submitting to the NGC for grading. On top of that, various grading tiers are offered depending on the coin's type and value. Some of the tiers include:

  • Economy: Includes all non-gold coins from all dates, or gold tokens and medals struck before 1990. This service is available for coins valued $300 and under and costs $23 with a turnaround time of 20-60 business days.
  • Gold: Available for all gold coins worth $3,000 or less. This service costs $35 and has a turnaround time of 5-10 business days.
  • Standard: For all coins valued under $3,000. This tier costs $40 and has a turnaround time of 10-32 business days.
  • Modern: Includes all coins struck from 1965 to present, except patterns or die trials. This is eligible for coins valued $3,000 or less and costs $19 with a turnaround time of 10-25 business days.
  • Express: This tier is available for all coins valued $10,000 or under. It costs $80 and has a turnaround time of 3 business days.

Summary: Grading a coin with NGC

The very least you can expect to pay for grading a coin with NGC is around $58 not including shipping. This is only if you select the economy options and are grading a coin valued less than $300.

How to get a coin graded

If you’re interested in submitting coins for grading, here’s how the process generally works:

  • Join a membership: Most coin grading services, such as the PCGS and NGC, require you to become a member before you can submit coins. This usually requires paying an annual membership fee.
  • Complete paperwork: Next, you’ll submit some paperwork to the coin grading company that includes personal contact information as well as details about the coin you want graded. These forms might be submitted digitally or by mail.
  • Prepare coin for postage: The grading company you choose will generally provide recommendations on how to best pack and ship your coin. Follow their instructions to protect your coin during transit.
  • Make a payment: You have to pay for coin submissions in addition to your membership fee. This will vary depending on the value of the coin you want graded and the turnaround time you’re looking for.
  • Ship your coin: Your chosen coin grading company might have a preferred shipping partner, for example, PCGS uses UPS while NGC prefers FedEx. Be sure to add tracking with your shipping.
  • Wait for grading: Now you sit back and wait while your coin is graded. Once grading is complete, the provider will encapsulate your coin in a professional holder with a label containing its grade and send it back to you.

See more: When is the Best Time to Buy and Sell Gold

Summary: How much does it cost to grade a coin?

Ultimately, the costs involved with grading a coin depend on various factors, including the coin-grading service you choose, the value of the coin you’re grading, and the desired turnaround time. Not all coins are worth grading, and sometimes the costs involved can surpass the added value it provides. That said, coin grading can be a worthwhile investment if your coin receives a high grade and increases in market value.

If you’re interested in coin collecting, or want to diversify your investment portfolio with tangible assets, you’re in the right place. StoneX Bullion™️ is Europe’s leading precious metals dealer and a trusted source of investment-grade gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion bars and coins. All of our items come from the world’s most prestigious mints and shipped to you safely and securely. Whether you’re interested in gold coins, silver bars, or wearable bullion, you’ll find it here at StoneX Bullion - browse our collection now.