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Choose Your Coin Certification Service Wisely

It's also wise to shun cold calling, mail-order or Internet coin dealers who distribute price guides but then deliver coins graded by substandard certification services without an FTC recommended 15-day return privilege. The Federal Trade Commission has cautioned that some certification services have looser grading standards than the industry norm and warned that coins sold by dishonest coin dealers too often are graded by such companies as "part of fraudulent sales schemes...intended to mislead consumers." Remember price guide prices are typically for PCGS or NGC graded coins and not for grading services whose similar-sounding initials could be confused with PCGS or NGC. Have your dealer repeat each grading service's letters one by one.

The selling price of a coin also can vary substantially according to the circumstances of its sale. For instance, a coin in the same grade as another similar coin sometimes brings an unusually high price when sold at public auction, where two or more bidders intent on acquiring it can drive up the gavel price well beyond the pre-sale estimates. It could also sell for a low amount at a poorly attended or publicized auction. On the other hand, coins typical for the grade sold in knowledgeable dealer-to-dealer transactions are likely to change hands for more reliable amounts.

But even coins of the same date and grade can trade for higher or lower values between knowledgeable dealers based on a number of eye appeal factors including luster and strike.

Sometimes a buyer will need a particular coin graded by a particular grading service and will pay a premium for that.

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