A coin's value is based on several items including: the coin (denomination, such as cent, 5-cent, dime, and so on), the year it was minted, the Mint facility where the coin was made and the coin's grade, condition or state of preservation.
Coin World offers several resources to help you determine retail prices for your coins. Online or in the pages of our monthly print publication, Coin World's Coin Values valuing analysts track and report more than 50,000 retail coin prices. Coin World's valuing analysts develop marketplace values and report market direction by monitoring a variety of sources such as public auctions, transactions at coin shows, retail ads, dealers' price lists, dealer-to-dealer trading and private collector transactions.
You must know a coin's grade to look up its value in a price guide. A grade is based on a scale of 1 to 70, with 60 and higher being reserved for coins in Mint State or Uncirculated condition. Proof coins are made differently from other coins and are graded differently as well. Any coin with wear on it, such as coins pulled from piggy banks or from change, would not grade Uncirculated. To determine a coin's grade, you can buy an illustrated book such as Coin World's Making the Grade: Comprehensive Grading Guide for U.S. Coins and learn about grading by matching your coin to the illustrations.
You can also visit a professional coin dealer in your area (visit Coin World's dealer directory) or submit the coin to a coin grading service.