How much does it cost to have a coin graded? Please post your experiences.
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14 posts in this topic

There have been many posts lately in which a dollar value or range has been suggested for determining which coins should be graded. Some say a coin should be worth at least $100 in order to make it worth the cost. Others say $150 to $250. I would like to hear from people who have actual experience submitting coins - individually and in groups, with detailed descriptions of all costs involved.

Please list all costs associated with your submission(s). For example, a post may read something like this:

I submitted three coins to (x) company under (x) tier. The cost of grading was (x) per coin, and I also paid (x) for a variety attribution for one of them. Shipping and insurance amounted to (x). I paid (x) for packing materials, and ( if you consider fuel an expense) I traveled (x) miles each way to the post office. Any other expenses that apply to your submission should also be included. If you want to include the value of your coin before submitting, and any value difference after, please do so.

Hopefully, if several people will give examples, we can determine a fairly accurate number or range to pass on to new members. I do realize that, even if we can arrive at an actual average cost per coin, it will still not answer the question of whether a coin should or should not be submitted, since there are other factors that figure into the equation, but  it should at least provide a starting point.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

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The key is to try to determine the market value of the ungraded coin, vs. the market value, if graded. And then weigh that estimated difference in value against the cost of grading and postage. The benefit of any added liquidity of a graded coin should also be considered.

Some coins of values less than $100 are still worth getting graded. On the other hand, other coins worth $1000 or more - such as some generic gold coins - coins aren’t necessarily worth getting graded. 

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You should have a coin graded if the value of the coin after grading is greater than the value of the coin raw + the cost of grading. 

I've had rolls of $20 coins graded because the coins sell raw for $1-$2 and the grading fee was only $5. 

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An expense in getting coins certified that is frequently overlooked by collectors is the time lost while the coin is out-of-inventory.  So if a coin takes 60 days to get certified, it could have been bought-and-sold several times over during that period.  Dealers are much more keenly aware of this hidden expense, though.

Of course, a collector who doesn't plan to sell the coin anyway loses nothing while the coin is away - the hidden expense applies only when the plan is to sell the coin(s) and reinvest profits in new inventory.

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don't forget, that coin value and how many coins not only affects the purchase price, but things like shipping and insurance (not to mention, whether you're submitting internationally or not)

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One example for NGC:

Submitted 5 coins, no special labels, did not request scratch resistant slabs.

Modern Tier

Shipping and Insurnace to NGC: $20

Grading was $16 per ($80 total)

Return Mint Packaging:  $5

Handling Fee:  $8

Return Shipping:  $23

Total for 5 coins:  $136 or $27.20 per coin

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Sorry I cannot be of any help, I have submitted twice in the last year but as I am a collector (and those two submissions were not for resale of the coins) those costs are sunk and I did/do not care about tracking the costs.  Overall there is no single number that can be defined as the correct breakeven point as too many variables are involved.  Roger often throws out his $250 number as the baseline value for submitting, but Rodger is not a collector or dealer so that number is only relevant to him and not to anyone else.  As has been noted the only number that matters is has the value been enhanced enough to recoup the costs of the grading process if selling is the end goal.  For collectors who may have other goals besides an eventual sale the value enhancement may well be a secondary concern and thus not the most important concern.  While I don't make a habit of this I too have submitted coins with sub $50 values because selling the coin was not the primary goal.

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4 hours ago, Morpheus1967 said:

Total for 5 coins:  $136 or $27.20 per coin

That seems to be in the ballpark for moderns.

My last submission, in September:

Submitted 12 coins, no special labels, scratch resistant slabs, conservation, variety plus, images, etc.

World Modern Tier

Membership Fees $0 (I have a Premium membership which costs $149 but comes with a $150 NGC credit, so it's basically a wash as long as you use it, I think the base membership is $25, no credit)

Packaging, Shipping and Insurance to NGC: $26.90 (Priority Mail 3-DAY)

Grading was $17 per ($204 total)

Return Mint Packaging:  $0

Handling Fee:  $10

Return Shipping:  $30

Total for 12 coins:  $270.90 or $22.58 per coin

I could have saved some on shipping to NGC if I used a slower service. On average I submit around 14 coins and the cost has been between $20 -$23 per coin. There was no coin that would have a value over $90 (raw) on this submission, four of the coins were for my personal collection the remaining eight I sold. Each of the sold coins were profitable with grading and selling fees (when applicable) calculated into my final cost.

While I think it is a good idea to err on the side of caution when recommending whether or not to submit, I do think it is a good lesson for people who have put some time in, learning what they can about their coins and go into it with eyes wide open. Regardless if it may be monetarily worth it, high risk or they disagree with others evaluations. You got to learn some how.

 
Edited by Fenntucky Mike
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Whether a coin should be submitted depends on more than cost, as mentioned above. As a collector I have coins graded so that my collection is uniform and protected. This often means that I don't buy raw coins (such as modern type) as the economics work far better and there is relatively little wait time when the coin is already graded. The raw coins that I do buy and have graded tend to be foreign coins that are virtually impossible to find graded, in which case I'm sure the economics are poor, but I end up with an attractive and secure set. Of course liquidity is a major factor for anyone as sooner or later you or someone will almost certainly want to liquidate your collection. In this world of fakes and altered coins, I would guess that the dollar/grading threshold is pretty low for coins that are often misrepresented, such as a low-end 16D Merc. 

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One of my recent submissions:

12 coins submitted to NGC under Economy insured for $2500.

Postage & insurance Priority to NGC $3.70 per coin

Grading and photo $30 per coin ($22 + $8)

Return shipping and Insurance 3.75 per coin

Cost per coin: $37.45

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