Determining Your Coins Value

Obviously, a coin will never be worth less than its face value. A one-cent coin will never be worth less than a penny; however it could be worth much more! You may want to remember that even if a coin isn’t especially valuable, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a place in your collection. As with anything, often value increases over time, so keep that in mind as well. Here is some tips to determining your coins value

The value of a particular coin is influenced or determined primarily by the following four factors:

1. Scarcity or rarity is a major determinant of value. As a general matter, the rarer a coin the more it is worth. Note that rarity has little to do with the age of a coin. Many one thousand year old Chinese coins often sell for no more than a few dollars because there are a lot of them around, whereas a 1913 Liberty Head Nickel may sell for over $1,000,000 because there are only five known specimens in existence.

2. The condition or grade of the coin will influence its value. The better the condition a coin is in, the higher will be its assigned grade and the more it will be worth. An un-circulated coin that is in flawless mint state might be worth hundreds times more than the same coin in good condition but which has been circulated.

3. Many coins have a bullion value determined by the value of the precious metals it contains. A gold, silver or platinum coin does not generally sell for much less than its melt value.

4. The demand for the particular coin, or how many collectors want it, will also greatly influence coin values. Some coins that are relatively plentiful may command higher prices than scarcer coins because the former are more popular with collectors.

For example, there are over 400,000 1916 D dimes in existence as compared to only about 30,000 1798 dimes. However, even though the 1798 dime is much rarer than its 1916D counterpart, the 1916D coin sells for significantly more. This is because many more people collect early 20th century mercury dimes than dimes from the 1700's.

Once you’ve determined the grade, you can check in your reference book or any other publication to obtain the general value given certain coins by experts in the field. These will be the approximate retail selling prices as they have determined through their own research.

Coin prices are a function of supply and demand. Market prices decline when inventories cannot be moved at current levels and eventually rise when insufficient quantities are available to meet current demand. Of course, if the buyer or seller is unaware of current trends, a transaction may occur outside the normal range of prices.

Dealers will usually pay less than wholesale when buying coins from the public. Therefore, collectors and investors should be aware that it is difficult to "get their money back," should the need arise to sell their holdings.

Of course, they may do better by bypassing a dealer altogether, but it is seldom easy to find another collector or investor looking for the specific coins one wants to sell, and even then the potential buyer will consider it an opportunity to acquire the coins at a discount. In addition, there are some advantages to purchasing coins from a dealer.

A reputable dealer will guarantee the authenticity of the merchandise. He or she will be knowledgeable enough to form reasonable opinions on grades, to detect problems that may be missed by less experienced persons and will usually be willing to share knowledge with the public, especially customers.

Just because a coin has a certain value assigned to it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what you can expect to receive for it if you sell it. This is especially true if you try to sell on e-bay. On e-bay, people are looking for bargains, so be prepared to sell your coin for less than what the price guides say it’s worth.

On the flip side, you may have a gem in a certain coin that people will go crazy for. That is why e-bay is such a popular marketplace for the collector. Even you can find bargains for your collection online, so don’t rule it out!