Mint Marks on Silver Eagle dollars
What is a Certificate of Authenticity, or COA?
The United States Mint issues Certificates of Authenticity with some US coins intended for coin collectors.
Sample of a coin Certificate of Authenticity or C.O.A
Some coin dealers and serious collectors say COA's are unnecessary. They say, if a counterfeiter is going to make a fake coin, that can make a fake COA, too. You can almost hear them say, "For what's to keep a counterfeiter from printing a fake COA." They might add, "if a counterfeiter can make a fake coin, they surely could print a fake Certificate of Authenticity."
Other collectors like the idea of having a COA with a coin because it gives them a feeling of realness and security with their coin ownership.
Sample Certificate of Authenticity
Instead of having a COA, some collectors would rather have a coin that is graded and authenticated by one of the major coin grading services*. The coin grading services often encapsulate a coin after grading it. In the coin holder will be a label inside that serves as a sort of certificate of authenticity and certificate of the coin's grade.
Certificates of Authenticity (COA) are a modern feature and seldom were they provided with coins from the mint prior to the mid-1980s. So, don't expect a mint issued COA with most proof coin sets produced prior to those years.
* PCGC, NGC, and ANACS are three of the most popular coin grading services.
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