If you are like most, chances are good you have a few old coins stashed away somewhere. Or maybe you recently won a bid on an online auction site and would love to know their value as they may be worth more than you realize. Keep reading to learn how to appraise your coins.
Your first step is to make a list of the coins you have. You can do this in a spreadsheet format, where you have headers describing the coin face value, year (or "mint mark"), condition, images and markings, currency and other specifics of each coin. Once you do this, you will then want to start researching a reputable coin expert.
Find a coin expert to help you. Start by doing your research to see what others say about their appraisal experiences. Find out how long the expert has been in business and whether their specialization includes your coin types. Also, if there is a local numismatic (coin) show coming to your city, this can be a good place to find experts to talk to about your rare coins. You can also ask what grading system they use (for example, the Sheldon Scale is an industry standard for both the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation and the Professional Coin Grading Service).
One thing to keep in mind when you have a rare coin is that you may want to refrain from cleaning them. Of course this depends on the coin, but some should actually remain dirty and using cleaning products or solvents on your coins can cause the value they do have to sharply plummet. You should also make sure they are stored so they do not touch (you can buy special coin sleeves for this purpose). This will prevent value decreases from additional scratches or marks. In fact, if you can avoid touching your coins with your bare fingers (buy using gloves to handle them) this is ideal.
There are many ways to appraise coins, but in order to get started you may want to add new ones to your collection. A great way to get new coins is through an online auction. And when you are ready to view coins and make a bid, visit U.S. Auction Online. Or you can register to view winning bids to get an idea of the value of the coins (or other items) that you already possess.