The Basics of Coin Valuation and Using Price Guides
What Are Your Coins Worth?
CoinWeek gets upwards to 150 emails a week from people asking; “What are my Coins Worth?“, and it is impossible to answer all of them in a timely manner, so we are going to be building and expanding this New PRICES section of CoinWeek to assist people in finding their own answers, and to address some of the perennial questions surrounding, Price Guides, Identification and Valuation.We invite you to submit your questions. comments and feedback here.
The Three Basics: RARITY, CONDITION and DEMAND
Rarity is the easy part. Using the Date and Mint mark of the coin, the marketplace fixes a coins rarity based on the original mintage and the estimated number of surviving specimens. Population reports also identify “Condition Rarities“; coins that may be common in lower grades but very rare in higher grades.
Coin Identification – Knowing What you Have.
In order to value any coin one has to know what the coin is. Basic Coin Identification includes the Coin Type, Year and Mint Mark. However within almost every coin series there are varieties, differences between the different dates and/or within the date. Some of these varieties exhibit subtle differences in the design, Some are the result of different dies being used during the production of the coins during a particulate date. Same are error coins, Double dies, Overdates…. the list goes on. The point is knowing what you have is essential to establishing a coins true market value.
How to Use and Interpret The Price Guides
Price guides are just that….. Guides. Some, such as the “Red Book”, are published annually and generally reflect a Retail price, however in active markets the values shown are often “out of date”. Other guides like the “GreySheet” are subscription based and updated continuously. They attempt to track the dealer Bid and Ask prices for coins, yet there are shortcoming here as well. Every Price Guide in the market has both strengths and weaknesses, and we will attempt to point these out to you as we build this section of CoinWeek.
Wholesale Vs. Retail Prices – Plus Thoughts on “Premiums”
Wholesale prices (dealer to dealer sales) and retail prices are two different beasts, although the lines between the two have become blurred as of late. Due to the volume of price information currently available, often much of it either inaccurate, out dated or just plain wrong, all of the current price guides need to be evaluated with a measure of caution. This is especially true for major rarities and coins with exceptional eye appeal which usually carry significant premiums over their less attractive peers. Again we will be posting a series of articles discussing all of the above in the coming weeks and months.
VALUE RANGE Pricing
One of the goals with this section of CoinWeek will be to introduce the concept and practice of “Value Range Pricing” for pre 1964 coins. Coins of the same date, the same variety and the same grade trade within a range of values based on the astetics of the coins, the acuracy of the grading, the market conditions and the motivation of both the seller and the buyer. Trying to say that an 1866 Seated Liberty Half dollar in VF-20 is valued at $50 is inaccurate when in reality the coin may actually trade in a value range between $25 to $150.
Over the coming months we will be building a “Value Range Pricing Index” for the most popular US collector coins. We will be soliciting both your input and the expertise of many of our CoinWeek Content Partners to present a different and more accurate way of establishing Coin Values and Pricing.
Estimated Bullion Values of Gold & Silver US Coins (Pre 1964) based on the Current Spot Price
US Gold Coins:
$2.5 Qtr Eagles
$5 Half Eagles
$20 Dbl Eagles
US Silver Coins:
$20 Saints - CAC Sticker - Retail Value Range Guide