It will come as no surprise to seasoned coin collectors that having photographs and details on each coin in their collection is important. Not only is it important from a “knowing what you have” perspective, but it is also important for insurance purposes should you ever need to make a claim for a loss. I’ve found a new tool that I’ve been using for the past few months, CoinSnap, and it not only allows me to photograph my coins it can help grade them and tell me approximate values. Oh, and it can be my collection manager, too.
In the latest review here at Average Apple Guy, we take a look at CoinSnap. CoinSnap is a mobile app available for Android and iOS that leverages Artificial Intelligence (AI) to no only photograph your coins, but can use that AI-backed engine to give you a grade of that coin and its value.
And it is really accurate on those grades.
CoinSnap is developed by coinidentifierai and is designed to be a tool that can identify, grade, and catalog your coins. Having used it for several months now, I highly recommend it for collectors.
For this review, I will be looking at the iOS version of the app. Feature-wise, the app is the same on Android.
I should note that the app is specifically aimed at United States coinage. It does not have information on coinage from other countries.
Overall User Interface & Experience
The user interface and experience of CoinSnap is clean, fresh, and easy to understand. For iOS, it uses the standard bottom menu navigation that you find in virtually all apps in the App Store. On the main display, you have several different options to chose from with just a tap:
- Identify – Help identify a coin
- Grading – Help grading a coin
- Collection – Your coin collection that is stored in CoinSnap
- Coin Catalog – An extensive catalog of United States coins from commemoratives to gold issues.
In this review, I will be discussing each of these different functions and features in detail, but as you can see from the screenshot above, the user interface in CoinSnap is intuitive.
Identifying Coins in CoinSnap
One of the aspects of CoinSnap that attracted me to it was its ability to identify coins. This can be particularly helpful if you have a well worn coin that doesn’t have lots of detail left or, as the name suggest, identify a coin that you have not seen prior. The feature leverages artificial intelligence to analyze the coin to determine the denomination and type.
To use the feature, tap on the Identify button in the user interface. This will open up your iPhone or Android phone’s camera (you’ll need to give it permisson to access it the first time you use the feature) with a center circle in the interface. Center the coin you are wanting to identify in the circle. If you are too close or far away, the circle will turn red. When you have it right, it will turn green and you can snap the image of the coin. You’ll repeat this for the Obverse (heads) and Reverse (tails) of the coin. You can also setup the app so that it automatically snaps the photo of the coin once it is properly positioned in the circle. This is changed using the diaphragm men in the upper-right corner. You’ll also note the flashlight icon which will turn on your phone’s flashlight feature to brighten up the coin you are photographing.
Once the images are taken, the app will analyze the coin and give you its identification. In my example, I had a 1941 Mercury Dime. The app properly identified it as a Mercury Dime and got the date correct, too. It did not identify a specific variety, but I found that to be the case across multiple coins I tried this feature on in my collection.
Once you have a coin identified, you can add it to your collection by tapping the Add to Collection button at the bottom of the page. You can also get more information about grading the coin or known error coins in that denomination.
In-App Coin Grading
As collectors know, grading coins is a mix of art and science. For some collectors, grading worn coins is far easier than grading the difference between a MS-69 or MS-70 coins – and vise versa. CoinSnap attempts to help this challenge by offering in-app grading. It leverages the same tools used to identify coins, coupled with the in-app Artificial Intelligence to come up with a grade for the coin.
Using the grading feature is easy. Use the in-app camera feature to photograph the Obverse and Reverse of your coin. The app will analyze it and offer a grade for the coin. You’ll then be able to get a pricing range for that coin in that grade and add it to your collection in the app.
The question is how accurate is the grading? On most coins that I graded Fine through Extra Fine, it agreed with my grades or, in some cases, gave me a better grade than me. On coins that were MS-60 through MS-70, it struggled a little more. I often found that it graded coins around MS-65 all the time. I tested the grading feature against a NGC-graded 2022-W American Eagle silver uncirculated coin. NGC graded the coin MS-69 while CoinSnap graded it MS-65.
Another thing to consider is, at the time of this review, values and coin information for 2023 releases were not in the app. I suspect that this will change with an update, but be aware.
I suspect that the app will get better with time on grading, but as it stands, it is a reasonable way of quickly grading your coins. I would still encourage readers to leverage the ANA Grading Standards as a reference for grading.
Managing Your Coin Collection
Another great aspect of CoinSnap is the built-in collection manager. While it doesn’t provide the level of detail for each coin like a desktop app, it provides you enough details to be more than functional. Frankly, if you are new to coin collecting, this app could serve as a great way to manage an up and coming collection with minimal fuss.
To add a coin to your collection in CoinSnap, you first need to use the Identify or Grading feature I described above. Once you have the images of your coin, you can then tap the Add to Collection button. As you are adding the coin to your collection, you will be able to verify the year, Mint Mark, add a value, or add notes to the coin. It is all intuitive and simple to use. For most coins, once you have selected the year and Mint Mark (if it was not automatically inserted by the app), you will get a market value for that coin. Note however that on newer coins (2020 and newer in my testing), the pricing information was missing in several instances.
Verdict & Recommendation
First, I will point out that I do recommend CoinSnap. It is a great tool for identifying coins and giving you a better-than-average accurate grading of that coin. I tried the app out on dozens of coins and found that it was accurate in both. I would also suggest that it is a good app for those who are mobile-only collectors who are looking for a basic but solid way of managing their collection.
That said, I do have some concerns on the app. First, it is US-only. It would be great to see this app expand to world coins for collectors everywhere. Second, the Collection management feature is good but not great. If you have a significant collection, like me, I would suggest a desktop app on your PC or Mac (such as CoinManage).
Overall though, I think CoinSnap has a huge amount of potential and it will be exciting to see how the developer continues to grow the app’s maturity.
You can download the app from the App Store