Is Perfection Worth It?

Since the advent of third party coin grading, many collectors have focused on finding examples of coins in the highest grade available. Some collectors who have worked to assemble top graded sets in classic series have been rewarded handsomely when their collections are sold at auctions decades after they were originally assembled. But will collectors of top graded modern coins experience the same benefit when it comes time to sell?


Modern series are much different than classic series in that the production quality is typically much higher. Many series are also created specifically for collectors leading to a very high survival rate. As such, it is possible for certain series to be collected entirely in MS 70 coins, signifying the highest grade on the 1 to 70 point scale.

For series which began in the past decade or so, these MS70 coins command a premium above raw of MS69 graded coins, but it is perhaps a reasonable amount since typically a sufficient number of coins have been graded as such to satisfy the market. However, going back a few years further, before coins were immediately graded in mass and production quality was not so high, the perfect graded coins are more scarce.

For example, many American Silver Eagles from the 1990’s are represented by only a handful of MS70 graded examples. Registry set collectors vie for these rare examples and bid them to prices in the thousands of dollars. This compares to prices below one hundred dollars for the same coin graded only one point lower.

Time will tell if these top graded coins retain their value. Prices may be impacted negatively by increased populations for the previously rare coins, or simply a drop in demand. However, it is also possible that as more people collect a certain series, there will be greater demand for the small number of top graded coins, driving prices higher.

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