How Do You Know Your Coin’s Worth? Perhaps you’ve found some old coins during spring cleaning, in the couch cushions, or tucked away in a drawer. You may be eager to chuck them out in while organizing and decluttering. But, when looking at them closely, you find that they’re much older than the typical pennies you have in your wallet. Interesting, right?
A lot of coins hold value but go unnoticed. With digital forms of monetary transactions, we often forget the true value coins can hold. Since we’re used to swiping a card or using our cell phones to pay for things, old coins might not pique our interest, but, if you look hard enough, you may find there’s some worth keeping.
So, when you find older coins and you feel the urge to keep them, how will you know which ones are valuable? Here, we’ll explain how to find your coins’ worth.
Whenever you’re researching for value or the history of something you own, it’s important to know what specific item you’re searching for, and coins are no different.
Finding coins can be exciting, especially if they’re older, or possibly, foreign. Before diving into the world of coin valuations, it’s essential to know what coins you own. Without knowing what you have, it’s impossible to find its worth.
Take a look at your coins. If they say “United States of America,” they’re from the U.S. Sometimes, older coins from the U.S. will abbreviate. Once you’ve identified this, you can use the U.S. Old Coins Identification chart to learn more. If you don’t see your coin on the chart, this may indicate it’s a commemorative coin rather than a circulating one. Use the U.S. Coins Red Book for commemorative coins.
Researching the coins you have will help you find their worth. Like with anything of value, especially if it’s older, you should always find out exactly what it is before assuming its value. After finding which U.S. coin you have, it’ll make it easier to identify the other parts of it, such as history and face value. However, what happens if you come across a coin from outside the United States?
Now that we know where to find the value for coins from inside the United States, what about coins from other countries? This is where it gets both exciting and, sometimes, confusing. If you’re looking at a coin and its country is spelled in its native language, you may not know how to read it. But don’t worry – it happens! And, it certainly doesn’t mean you should give up trying to find what coin it is. If anything, you’re learning something new from finding out the exact origin and history of your foreign coins.
If you examine your coins and don’t find a “United States of America” or “U.S.” engraving on them, chances are they’ve originated from a different country. Sometimes, you can read the country’s name and identify it easily, depending on the country and its native language.
Look closely at the coins that are different from your U.S. ones or lack a U.S. engraving. While inspecting the coins, you’ll probably find the country’s name on the coin, either in English, its native language, or another language altogether. Typically, foreign coins will have the name of their country in their native language. If you’re unsure what the country is, try typing the name into a search engine, like Google, to help.
Sometimes, it’s hard to read what foreign country the coins are from, or the engraving becomes challenging to read. If you find yourself having trouble identifying the origin of your coins, check out a coin directory or gallery website to view photos of various coins from across the world. These photos and pieces of information can help you quickly identify the foreign coins you own. When searching for your coin, find the one that best resembles the one you own. From there, you can read up on it.
If you’ve tried researching both domestic and foreign coins but have no luck in identifying them, don’t fret; you’re not the only one who’s had this trouble.
When in doubt, your best bet is to examine the coin for other engravings besides the name of its country. Distinct markings and patterns can help identify the origin of the coin. After studying the coin for these markings and patterns, search online by describing the type of markings you see. For example, if you have a coin that shows a person, place, or thing, write out what they might be and see what you can find.
Coins that don’t have a denomination or country engraved usually hold little to no value, meaning they’re probably unofficial. These coins have few collectors, which also drives the demand and value down.
Other unofficial coins would be private mints, which are minted fantasy and token coins. These coins are not part of an official government but can still hold value. An example of private mints would be from the Civil War, when coin shortages ultimately led to people privately producing tokens. These tokens had some value and were used in smaller transactions during this shortage.
Just like with anything you want to sell, examining the condition of your coin is key to knowing its worth. But what does the term ‘condition’ mean? Simply put, condition means the state in which the item is kept. For example, the United States Constitution is preserved to maintain its condition and value. Since it’s preserved, its worth is less likely to decline than if it hadn’t been maintained.
When looking at your coin, what condition is it in? While it takes years of experience and training to properly grade a coin’s condition, it’s possible to do it on your own. To get the most accurate results, it’s best to see a professional coin grader.
Most, if not all, collectors prefer having their coins in mint condition. When a coin is in mint condition, it means it has not been in circulation, and it is in the same condition as when it left the mint. Mint condition coins are pristine and have very few imperfections. Those that are worn out will probably not hold as much value. But, if the coin is kept in mint condition, its worth will be maintained, and collectors will appraise it for a higher face value.
If you’ve got a rare coin that’s been inherited, it’s best to handle it with utmost care. Hold it indirectly by picking it using a small, delicate instrument to carry it (perhaps, tweezers). Creating smudges and fingerprints can decrease the value of the coin. To keep it in mint condition, be careful of how you handle it and where it’s being stored.
If you’re unsure what condition your coin is in, it’s best to consult with a collector that can grade it. When grading the coin, the collector will focus on five criteria: strike, preservation, luster, color, and attractiveness.
As we mentioned above, it’s always important to do your own research when it comes to your coins. Before starting your journey, remember to first identify what coins you have, and possibly, where they’re from. If you can’t find the country of origin, look online at coin galleries or do a quick Google search regarding the distinct markings you’ve found. After you’ve identified your coin, find out the condition of your coin by an expert coin appraiser.
Sometimes, you can even go online and find common coins and their worth. If you’ve come across a coin you believe to be fairly common, go online and do your research on it. Read about its history, see how much it’s worth, and maybe see a collector to get more information. There are plenty of reference books and websites to help you identify your coins, regardless of where they are from.
Are you interested in knowing how much your coins are worth? Oxford Gold Group is here to help. We understand how frustrating it can be to identify older coins and evaluate their condition, which is why the professionals at Oxford Gold Group are here to guide you.
We’ve worked with many clients to evaluate their coins with the help of Oxford Gold Group’s experienced team. Our collectors understand the excitement and risks of collecting commemorative coins, either for your investment portfolio or personal memorabilia. At Oxford Gold Group, we’re devoted to keeping your coins safe and secure.
The experts at Oxford Gold Group are here to keep your precious coins safe while helping you reach your collecting or investment dreams.
INSIDE THIS INVESTMENT GUIDE YOU WILL LEARN:
• How Gold & Silver can protect your savings & retirement accounts
• Types of Gold & Silver products available for Home Delivery
• How a Gold & Silver IRA can protect your Retirement account