What is my coin worth?

What is my coin worth?  That is the number one question people ask when coming into the coin shop.  A lucky few have a rare coin.  Many think they have a rare coin only to end up with pocket change.  The evaluation process starts with a few questions that help determine the time it will take to come up with a value.

Generally, coins come into the shop as an accumulation or collection, which are primarily acquired through picking coins out of change over time or even decades.  These can include pre 1965 90% Silver coins, Wheat back cents, Kennedy Half Dollars, Eisenhower dollars, Susan B. Anthony dollars, Bicentennial coins, and mini so-called golden dollars from the year 2000 to date.  Accumulations can also include older type coins, currency, medals, and tokens.  Typically, World coin and currency include left over change or mementos from vacations or Military service overseas.

For those individuals who accumulate, the probability of having a rare coin is greatly diminished because most coins are picked at face value.  This is especially true for those that have been accumulating for the last 40 years.  1979 Susan B. Anthony dollars may only be worth face value, but a $1000 face value in 1964 silver quarters is worth approximately $24,500 at $34 an ounce for Silver.  That’s over $6 per quarter!

Time turns many accumulations into collections and many will choose to take on the challenge.  A collector is willing to pay a premium to acquire a coin for their collection.  These individuals may have a blue Whitman or Brown Dansco coin album to help store and organize their collection or they may choose to collect Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) or Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) certified coins.  The condition of a coin is important and plays a role in buying decisions, as the collector will seek a certain level of preservation for each coin.  Many seek coins that have a full rim on either side or examples that have the word Liberty in its entirety still visible on the obverse.  Recommended books for the collector include “A Guide Book of United States Coins” by R.S. Yeoman and the “The Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards for United States Coins.”

In the next Coin Insights, I will write about a few collector coins and their values including the world of Certified coins.  Please remember to NEVER clean coins!!!



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