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It’s a simple question that is frequently debated among coin collectors: which coin is the most valuable in the world? The answer depends on who you ask and what measure you use. Even among seasoned numismatists, there is tremendous disagreement as to which coin is the most precious. What makes the question more interesting is that some of the rarest and most valuable pieces either haven’t traded hands in decades—or might never be sold ever.
A common question among newcomers to the hobby is whether there’s a “right” or “wrong” way the collect coins. The answer is no—but there are ways of collecting that may prove to be especially enjoyable and rewarding. Some buyers are accumulators who simply buy items that pique their interest. Others attempt to form collections with a specific theme or structure. There is nothing wrong with either approach, but collectors often derive the most satisfaction from assembling sets.
As long as the hobby has existed, the condition of a coin has been vitally important. A coin’s grade has always had a profound impact on its value, desirability and marketability. What has changed, however, is how a coin’s condition is described and quantified. Whereas coins were once graded using vague terminology, today’s collectors and dealers use a highly sophisticated grading scale. Grading may be an art and not a science, but the level of precision and consistency is greater than ever.