Step 1: Increase Your Knowledge
Coins' prices vary based on their grade. Coins are graded as follows:
Abbreviation | Name | Description
U, MS | Uncirculated, Mint State | Absolutely no bag marks other problems.
BU | Brilliant Uncirculated | A coin with few bag marks.
AU | About Uncirculated | A coin with slight signs of wear.
EF, XF | Extremely Fine | Shows extremely clear minute detail.
VF | Very Fine | Shows obvious signs of wear.
F | Fine | Half of the design details show.
VG | Very Good | Coin exhibits heavy wear.
G | Good | Design shows almost no inner detail.
AG, FR | About Good, Fair | Some outline gone; rim worn down.
PR | Poor | Many coins not able to be identified.
When grading coins, it is best to use a jeweler's loupe. This will make the coin appear larger, revealing tiny details that you wouldn't have been able to see with your normal vision. About a 10X triplet loupe is a good choice for viewing coins.
When purchasing graded coins be sure to purchase them from reputable grading companies such as NGC and PCGS.