Authenticated collectibles may bring more money

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Because of the economy, many people have considered selling their collectibles to obtain money. How do you get the most for your possessions?

Items that have been independently certified for authenticity and grade (state of preservation) often bring substantially higher prices when offered in online auctions, according to David Hall, President of Collectors Universe, Inc. of Santa Ana, Calif. (NASDAQ: CLCT). The company is the world’s largest third-party certification service for the authentication and grading of rare coins, postage stamps, autographs, trading cards and sports memorabilia.

“Buyers will pay more for authenticated collectibles because they have confidence the certified item is authentic and properly graded. The value of many collectibles, such as coins and stamps, can significantly vary depending on the grade of the item,” said Hall.

For example, common U.S. silver dollars minted between 1878 and 1921 in uncirculated condition but uncertified usually sell for $20 to $25. Silver dollars of that same era that have been authenticated by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS, a division of Collectors Universe) can fetch $40 to $200 for common dates and mint marks, and thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars or more for high-grade and rare dates.

“Don’t try to clean an old coin to make it appear bright and shiny. Improper, abrasive cleaning will cause damage and significantly reduce the value,” cautions Hall.

Authenticated sports collectibles usually also bring substantially higher prices compared to uncertified items.

An unauthenticated (“raw”) Mickey Mantle signature on a baseball might sell in an online auction for $100 to $150; however, if the autograph is certified genuine by reputable, independent source such as Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA, another division of Collectors Universe), the value can be between $750 and $900. 

A common 1940s era Washington Irving one-cent denomination commemorative postage stamp from the Famous American series in mint condition retails for only about 20 cents. But a near-perfect specimen graded Superb 98 (on a 100 point scale) by Professional Stamp Experts (PSE, a division of Collectors Universe) can be worth nearly $30.

The public can submit their collectibles for examination to PSA, PCGS and PSE or have a dealer submit the items for them. Since its founding in 1986 Collectors Universe has authenticated and certified nearly $20 billion of collectibles.

Contact Collectors Universe at 800-447-8848. Additional information is available online at