Buyers of Foreign & Domestic Coins, Coin Collections, Paper currency, placer gold and others Sierra Gold and Coins - Buyer & Seller of Precious Metals located in Nevada County, California in the Gold Country. Serving Grass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley, Rough & Ready, Smartsville, Downieville, Washington, Colfax, Allegheny and surrounding areas.  
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Q: What is The Sheldon Scale?

A: The Sheldon Scale is a 70-point scale used to grade coins. It was developed by Dr. William Sheldon in 1949.
Click here to go to Sheldon Scale

Numismatic Articles
ANA Member - American Numismatic Association Lincoln Center Resource
NCS - Numismatic Conservation Services ANACS-American Numismatic Association Certification Services
PCGS - Professional Coin Grading Service NGC – Numismatic Guaranty Corporation
Vamworld PMG - Paper Money Guaranty
American Numismatic Association A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau




Q: I want to start collecting coins. How should I start?
A: Start by deciding what type or set of coins you wish to collect. Buy a book for this area (Check out Book suggestions). Join a local coin club. Go to local coin shows. If you have internet access, go to sites that cater to collectors (Check out our LINKS page).

Q: What U.S. coins contain silver?
Jefferson Nickel 1941A: All U.S. coins minted 1964 and before, with the exception of cents and nickels (1942-1945). Jefferson war nickels contain 35% silver (these are identified by the mint mark over the dome of Monticello on the reverse of the coin), and are 90% silver, unless otherwise specified.

Q: What is a "Type Set"?
A: A collection consisting of one representative coin of each type, of a particular series or period.

Q: Should I clean my coins before I bring them in to sell?
A: NO. Never clean coins as this lowers the value of the coin drastically.

Q: What is a Proof Set?
A: A Proof set is a set of each of the Proof coins made during a given year, packaged by the Mint and sold to collectors.

Q: What does Obverse and Reverse mean in relation to a coin?
A: Obverse is the front or face side of the coin and Reverse is the back side of the coin.

Q: What is an error coin?
A: This is a coin that was incorrectly struck at the Mint and is not intended for circulation.

Q: Do you appraise coin collections?
A: Yes we do. However, if this is a large collection, you must make an appointment for this service and there is a nominal fee. All Insurance Appraisals will be charged a nominal fee regardless of size. These appraisals will reflect Fair Market Value for the items in the appraisal. If any of the the coins are sold to us then the fee will be waived.

Q: I have heard the term 'slabbed' for coins. What does this mean?
A slabbed coin is placed in a hard plastic case that has been graded and/or attributed and encapsulated by a professional grading service.

San Francisco mint markQ: What is a Mint Mark?
These are small letter desinations from where the coin(s) is made. See the following:

  • C: Charlotte, North Carolina (gold coins only 1838-1861)
  • CC: Carson City, Nevada (1870-1893)
  • D: Dahlonega, Georgia (gold coins only 1838-1861)
  • D: Denver, Colorado ( 1906 to date)
  • O: New Orleans, Louisiana (1838-1861 and 1879-1909)
  • P: Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia (1793 to date – P not used in early years)
  • S: San Francisco, California ( 1854 to date)
  • W: West Point, New York (1984 to date)

Q: What is the percentage of silver in coins dated 1964 and before?
Here is the breakdown by coin denomination:

  • Half Dime: .8924 and then to .900 in 1837
  • Dimes: .8924 1796-1837 then to .900
  • 20-Cent piece: .900
  • Quarters: .8924 1796-1838 then to .900
  • Half Dollars: .8924 1794-1836 then to .900
  • Dollars: .8924 1794-1839 then to .900

Q: Do you buy foreign coins?
Yes. We mostly buy the silver, gold, and platinum coins. Most foreign coins have little intrinsic value unless they are considerably older and in mint state.

Q: I have heard the term "grade" concerning coins. What does theat mean??
Basically, it shows the various conditions of coins. Check out Coin Grading and the Sheldon Scale for more information.

Q: I have a coin that may be counterfeit, how can I be sure?
The best quick test is to apply a magnet to the coin. If it sticks to the magnet, then it is probably counterfeit (except 1943 Steel Cents). You can also check the weight of the coin to see if it matches the designated weight by the Mint. The safest way is to have the coin taken or sent to a reliable company that will attribute the coin to ensure that it is Genuine.

Q: The book says that my coin is worth this much, so why do you offer me a lesser amount?
Depending on the book as well as the year, these prices are inflated to what the author or source feel that they are worth. We utilize many souces (i.e. auctions, delaers, estate sales, gray sheet, etc.) to determine a Fair Market Value.

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Q: Do you buy paper money?
A: Yes, U.S. Issues that are not damaged, torn, missing pieces, folded, etc.


Q: How can I buy silver bullion?
Placer gold nuggetsA: Silver Bullion may be purchased by coin, bar or ignots. The sizes are 1-5 ounces, 10, 100 ounces. These are .999 silver by weight. Large amounts may be ordered as well.

Q: Do you buy gold that has been mined or panned?
Yes, we buy all Placer gold taken this way.

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Q: Do You buy silver and gold jewelry?
A: Yes. We buy Silver, Gold, and Platinum jewelry even if it is damaged or scrap.

Q: Do you buy dental gold?
A: Yes.

Q: How do you determine the amount of gold in jewelry?
A: We test the gold, silver, platinum for their purity and content which gives us a karat weight.

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(530) 272-1100  • 203 West Main Street, Grass Valley, CA 95945 •