If I Had A Nickel…What is a Certified Coin Exchange?

The next time you get a handful of pennies back from the gas station, you might want to take a second look at them before putting them in a change drawer. You may not realize this, but some coins can make you rich. 

For example, look at the 1794 “Flowing Hair Silver Dollar”, which sold for $10,000,000 in 2013. Imagine if you accidentally used that coin to pay for a Snickers? 

The best way to have your coins evaluated is to take them to a certified coin exchange. Here, experts will look over your coins to make sure that you aren’t throwing money away. They’ll also make you an offer on any valuable pieces you may have. 

With a nationwide coin shortage, there’s never been a better time to have your collection evaluated. Read on as we discuss what a certified coin exchange is, how it works, the process of coin grading, and some of the most valuable coins you may have in your possession. 

What Is a Certified Coin Exchange? 

The certified coin exchange, or CCE, is an online trading exchange for certified U.S. rare coins. It is the primary exchange used in dealer-to-dealer transactions in the United States. The Board of Governors sets the rules for trading and helps to resolve disputes. 

The system also allows coin dealers to have access to accurate pricing models. It’s been in place since 1990. Since they’ve been the primary exchange for dealers for three decades, they’re able to trace coins and values. 

How Does This Impact The Seller? 

For the seller, going to a dealer that is a part of the certified coin exchange means that you’re dealing with experts. These experts can refer to the exchange and their personal knowledge to give you the best price for your numismatic coins. 

One mistake that many sellers make is assuming that the less knowledge a dealer has, the more money they’ll get, which isn’t true. If a dealer can verify that a coin is valuable, they can offer you more money. If they aren’t sure of the value, dealers will often dramatically low-ball their offer to offset their risk. 

As a member of the certified coin exchange, dealers can also put any coins they purchase on the exchange as well, meaning that they increase their chance of making a profit. When you sell coins to a dealer that isn’t in the CCE, they have to consider the idea that they may have a hard time finding a buyer. This will cause them to offer less than member dealers. 

In short, sellers will make more money when selling to a dealer on the exchange. 

How Does CCE Work? 

Membership to the CCE costs dealers money depending on which plan they choose. Basic membership allows them to view numismatic coin prices and get information on numismatic coins. More advanced membership plans let them sell and buy off of the marketplace. 

Members that buy coins from the public can place them on the market for a firm price. They can also buy rare coins from other dealers on the market to sell to the general public. Since these coins come from the marketplace, the buyer can have confidence in the authenticity of the coin. 

To join the CCE, dealers must show a level of expertise in the industry. They must have a certain amount of experience, be a full-time numismatic firm, and be an established business. The exchange verifies all information to ensure that they only work with the best coin dealers in the world. 

This is also good news for customers. When you deal with someone that’s a member of the CCE, you know that you’re dealing with a professional and reputable business. 

How Are Coins Valued? 

Now that you know what the CCE is and why it’s so important in the world of coin dealers, the next question is how coin grading works. How are coins valued on the market and in general? Understanding this process will help give you an idea as to what dealers are looking for when buying coins. 

What Impacts The Value of a Coin? 

Three things help determine the numismatic value of a coin. The first is the date and mintmark of the coin. This doesn’t mean that older coins are necessarily more valuable, although this is often the case. 

The mint mark is the letter, symbol, or inscription that shows where coins were created. The date is the stamp that shows what year they entered circulation. Sometimes these marks have errors, which can cause a coin to rise in value.

The second factor is the mintage/population of the coin. This number represents the number of coins produced or the number of coins that have an error, such as a double stamp. 

The last factor is the condition/finish of the coin. If a coin has a flaw, even a tiny one, it can impact its value. There is a grading scale that numismatists use to help determine value.

Rarity vs. Condition 

A question that people often ask us about numismatic coins is which factor is more important, rarity or condition? The answer isn’t cut and dry one way or another. 

Like everything, the rarer a coin is, the more valuable it is. The Flowing Hair Silver Dollar mentioned earlier is so valuable in part because of its rarity. If collectors have a hard time finding a coin, they’re more likely to pay more to add it to their collection. 

Condition is also an important factor. A rare coin that’s in poor condition can, in many cases, be more valuable than one in good condition. 

Of course, the best coins are both rare and in excellent condition. These two traits, when combined, can fetch collectors thousands (or in rare cases) millions of dollars.   

What is the Grading Scale? 

The grading of coins relies on the Sheldon scale, which ranks a coin from 1 to 70. 70 is a perfect coin and is extremely rare. A score of 1 means that the coin has lost all distinguishable features and is, in essence, a blank sheet. 

Most coins fall somewhere between these two grades. Higher grades bring more money, which is why you should bring your coins in for an evaluation quickly. You don’t want to accidentally scratch or wash your coins and lose out on money because of a tiny flaw. 

Dr. William Sheldon developed the scale in 1949. Scores in the 60-70 range are for uncirculated coins that show almost no or zero imperfections. Thirteen grades represent the 1-70 scale that numismatists use: 

  • Poor 
  • Fair
  • Almost Good 
  • Good
  • Very Good 
  • Fine 
  • Very Fine
  • Extra Fine
  • Almost Uncirculated
  • Uncirculated 
  • Brilliant Uncirculated 
  • Gem Uncirculated 
  • Perfect Uncirculated

While this system is still in use, there have been some changes. In the mid-1980s, it became apparent that there needed to be a way to universally judge coins using the Sheldon score. Individual collectors and buyers were rating the same coin as different scores, causing wide fluctuations in prices and insecurity in the market. 

Thus, grading services were born, with two standing out: The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and the Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS). There’s a third service as well, the American Numismatic Association Certification Service (ANACS). There are some issues with ANACS that we will discuss below. 

Coin Grading Services 

It’s important to know about the three coin grading services so that you know who judges the value of coins. Knowing about these services gives buyers more confidence in the grading services and helps sellers and buyers alike make informed decisions. 

Let’s look at these services now and what makes them qualified. 

Professional Coin Grading Services

PCGS is one of the most respected, if not the most respected, coin grading agencies in the world. This organization has some of the world’s best experts working with them to provide accurate and professional evaluations. It started in 1985 to help bring consistency to grading standards in the industry. 

They have a history of accurate and consistent evaluations that the industry trusts when determining the worth of coins. They offer four tools that set them apart from other grading services that help both buyers and sellers get the most out of their collection. 

The PCGS Photograde online tool allows both buyers and sellers to get an approximate grade of any coin. They can upload a picture into the system of the coin and quickly find common issues. 

The PCGS price guide is one of the largest lists of coin values and allows buyers to research the value of a piece. Sellers don’t have to wait for days or weeks to hear back from a buyer anymore. 

Their certification service comes with a money-back guarantee, which protects buyers and gives them more confidence when grading coins. 

They also have a new system, the PCGS NFC Anti-Counterfeiting Technology, that protects buyers and sellers from counterfeit coins. Every coin (or other types of currency) that they grade now has embedded NFC technology in their coin holder. This is a quick and easy way to protect the industry from fakes. 

When you see a coin graded by PCGS, whether you’re a buyer or seller, you can rest assured that you’re making a good decision. Their tools help protect both buyers and sellers by ensuring both parties that the coin is a legitimate piece and accurately valued. 

Numismatic Guaranty Corporation

NGC has graded coins from every continent and era you can imagine. Founded in 1987, NGC has become the largest coin grading service in the world and is trusted by professionals across the numismatic industry. 

NGC has more than 30 graders that work with them full-time and also use some of the best outside consultants in the world. These graders do not buy and sell coins commercially, a step is taken to ensure impartiality. There are also strict procedures and systems in place to make sure that personal bias doesn’t impact their grading. 

They’ve also invested over a million dollars into creating the world’s most advanced protective holder for coins. These are the holders that the Smithsonian Institute and other museums worldwide use to protect their collections. They’ll preserve your coins so that you can pass them on to future generations. 

Experience matters when grading coins. With over 47 million coins graded over the years, no one can boast about their experience more than NGC. They’ve graded coins from almost every country past and present, ranging from the Roman Empire to the United States. 

The service also offers the NGC Guarantee, which is an industry-leading promise to not over grade a coin. It also promises that the coin isn’t fake. 

American Numismatic Association Certification Service

The ANACS has been around since 1972 and grades coins without requiring a membership. You can send your coins to them or buy coins graded by them, but you should be aware that there is an issue with this service. 

The ANACS isn’t recognized at large by the industry or verified. This means that if they grade a coin, it might or might not be accurate. For a buyer, this means that they could overpay for a coin. For a seller, this means that they may not be able to sell the coin because they’ve overpriced it. It could also harm the reputation of a seller. 

Our recommendation is to only deal with coins valued by the PCGS or NGC. This will guarantee that you’re getting a quality piece that’s verified and valued correctly. 

Valuable Coins That You May Have Right Now

While your chances of finding some coins, like the 1943 Bronze Lincoln or an old Roman coin, are small, there are some coins that you may come across that are still valuable enough to put a decent amount of money in your pocket. Let’s look at some of these coins that you may have in your possession. 

1969-S Doubled Die Obverse

It’s estimated that there were around 1,000 of these coins made before the San Francisco Mint discovered the error that caused this coin’s unique features. 

This coin features doubling in the words “Liberty” and “In God We Trust” on this coin. These double dies occur when the hub imprints an extra image onto the stamp, which causes misalignment. Depending on the condition of the coin, they can sell for anywhere from $25,000 to $75,000. 

While the chances of finding one of these coins are low, there’s still a chance that you may have one without realizing it. If you do, make sure you have it properly appraised so that you know it’s true value. 

2004 Wisconsin State Quarter With an Extra Leaf

When the state quarters began circulating, collectors everywhere bought books so that they could get a coin bearing each state. These beautiful quarters feature parts of their respective states stamped onto each coin, making each one unique.

If you’re one of the people who collected these quarters, check out your Wisconsin quarter. Thousands of them feature an extra leaf on one of the corn husks featured on the quarter. 

Depending on the quality of the coin, you could trade your quarter for over a thousand dollars in cash. That’s not a bad trade, in our opinion. In the Tucson, Arizona area, people have found around 5,000 of these coins. The next time you take a trip to Tucson, make sure you pay in cash and ask for quarters back. If you’re lucky, a quarter could pay for your vacation!

2005 “In God We Rust” Kansas Quarter 

Well, that’s awkward. Another state quarter on the list is the 2005 Kansas quarter, which left the ‘T’ off of ‘Trust’ to create an awkward coin for the Sunflower State. 

The error resulted because of a build-up of grease in the coin die. This filled the T, making the quarter stand out to many collectors. These mistakes occur pretty often, but this one is memorable because of its placement. 

These coins aren’t worth thousands, but they can fetch you anywhere from $70-$120, depending on the collector and the condition of the coin. 

The 1992 Close AM Penny

Anytime there are minor glitches on a coin, collectors start to take notice. The 1992 penny might be one of the most famous of these glitches in the eyes of numismatists. There was an error in which the space between the A and the M in ‘America’ was closer than normal. This caused the bottoms of the letters to touch. 

These are uncommon, but they are worth it to look for. The 1992 P (Philadelphia) penny has sold for over $24,000. There are only five of these known to exist. The 1992 D (Denver) has 15 copies, and recently sold for over $20,000. 

1982 No Mint Mark Roosevelt Dime 

Every coin printed in the United States comes with a mint mark that shows where the coin came from. For example, a P under the date means that the minting process took place in Philadelphia, whereas S stands for San Francisco. 

In 1982, a dime was minted that didn’t have the mint mark from Philadelphia. This was the first time that this had ever occurred, making it an instant classic in the collecting world. People aren’t sure how many there are, but there are a good many. Around 10,000 of them were given out at an amusement park in Ohio, and others are out there as well. 

Even though there are a lot of them out there, you can still expect to get anywhere from $200-$400 for them. That’s a nice exchange rate on a 10-cent dime!

Where To Take Your Coins For An Evaluation

If you think that you have some valuable coins and want to get them evaluated, Crown Gold Exchange should be the first place you visit. We take pride in serving the greater Inland Empire and have a strong reputation in the community because of our honesty and transparency. 

Here’s why you should visit us today:


In 2010, we started our business with the goal of treating our customers with the respect and honesty they deserve. Since then, we’ve grown throughout the Inland Empire and are now the area’s most trusted gold, silver, jewelry, and coin exchange. 

We’re constantly training our staff to make sure that they have the knowledge to serve the community. With thousands of transactions under their belt, our staff is always prepared to serve you. 

Fast Payments

We’ve worked hard to make the process of having your coins evaluating and selling them as easy as possible. From the moment you enter, our expert staff is ready to take care of you. 

All you have to do is place your coins on our table and we’ll start the evaluation process. Our experienced staff will use their knowledge and the certified coin exchange to determine the value of your coins and make you an offer. 

At no point will we pressure you to sell your coins. We evaluate and offer you a fair market price. If you accept it, you can walk out with a check that day. It’s easy, fast, and professional. 


Everything that we do happens right in front of you. If you have any questions while we’re evaluating your coins, we’ll take the time to answer them for you. Our customers rave about our transparency and willingness to keep them informed throughout the process. 

We want every customer to understand what goes into our evaluation process so that you never feel as if you’re not in control of the situation. 

Crown Gold Exchange is Your Go-To Certified Coin Exchange Dealer

Do you want to have your coins evaluated by professional and dedicated staff? Do you want to see if your coin collection can net you some serious money? Bring your collection to Crown Gold Exchange!

Remember, we aren’t only a certified coin exchange: we also deal in gold, silver, jewelry, diamonds, and more! We’re fully equipped and ready for large evaluations, whether it’s a basket full of coins or an entire estate worth of gold, coins, and jewelry. Come visit us at one of our many locations today!

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