Coin values – why they matter
A little more info on coin values
People collect coins for all kinds of reasons. Some people collect them as a hobby. Some people collect them as an investment. Some people collect a particular series. Some people like to collect a certain value, say “100” of everything worldwide – US$ 100, 100 Vietnam dong, 100 Russian rubles. Whatever the reason, the coin values are important.
Obviously, if you are using coins as an investment you need to see a return on them. In this case, the face value of the coin is really important as a guide to how much you pay for it. Ideally, you want to pay less for it than you sell it for. This may seem blindingly obvious, but in the excitement of chasing that “missing coin from your collection,” it is all too easy to get carried away in the chase.
If you are collecting US coins you are ahead of the game as there are lots of sources for finding a price guide and the dollar values of rare coins, proof sets, mint sets, and special releases both at open sales and from auction prices.
These days guides are available online, as well as in printed form, and there are certain standards which are used within the numismatic trade and recognized as both reliable and authoritative.
Where to find coin values
The industry standard is the PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service) coin price guide. This guide is available online and updated on a daily basis. It has graphs, indexes, prices, and comprehensive details of every coin ever minted in the United States. There is also a service called “PCGS Photograde Online” which is a free tool for gaining an approximation of the grade of a coin. There is also a rare coin market report and a rare coin market index.
NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation) Is an alternative source for US coins and worldwide values too.Their catalog has coins dating back to 1600. Interestingly, rather than give an exact price for each coin NGC give averages. Their rationale is that short-term pricing trends tend to be quite dramatic and volatile and by averaging the coin value it gives a better reflection of the likely true price at any given time.
There are also a number of specific Internet sites such as coinsite.com. These are specifically for US coins – In typical uncirculated condition or average circulated condition. The site has a lot of information on specific coin types and a great FAQ section.
All of these sites have lots of original articles on different aspects of coin collecting and some great tools for grading, valuing, and buying and selling coins.
Foreign coin values and rare coin values are best left to experts in their particular fields. It is very difficult for amateurs or people with no experience of dealing with such scarce pieces to determine the value of coins or give accurate coin valuation.
How is the value of a rare coin measured?
Coin collection values can vary enormously and part of the trick is to know the market into which the coin is being sold or being bought.
Collector coin values also vary from country to country. British coin values in Britain, for example, would be completely different from numismatics coin values for the same coin in the United States.
Of course, silver coin values and gold coin values are partly based on the metal – not just the coin collector value.
Most of the sites above have old coins value charts based on coin collecting values from coin auctions and coin sales.
There are also some coin values apps available for use with both Android and iOS. These too, have coin values charts and a coin value book so you can compare the value of your Standing Liberty quarter, Lincoln Wheat penny or Indian Head penny with your Draped Bust, Capped Bust or Liberty Head – with or without flowing hair …
When all is said and done, the value of a coin is determined by what a buyer will pay for it – and/or what a seller is willing to accept. In any such scenario knowledge is the key to snagging a bargain, or selling at a profit.
Who was it who said, “Investing is nothing but arbitrage of ignorance?”
A saying which has never been truer when it comes to collecting coins …
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