How much are my coins worth?

A question that I am constantly asked is: How much is my coin worth? The question is often asked in many ways:

1. How much is a georgivs v dei gra coin worth?
2. I have a george vi penny is it worth anything?
3. I have a silver coin with a guy on a horse on it from 1900, how much is it?

In the first question, there are probably a thousand or more possibilities. The asker has not provided the date, denomination, or even the country of origin. In the second case, we at least know that it is a penny, but we still aren't sure that it is even from Great Britain...it can be assumed, but not certain. The third question is the best of the three in that I know it is a Victorian crown, although since the inscription on the edge wasn't included, it can be one of two different coins. Still, a far cry from the multitude of possibilities in the first question.

The one thing all three questions omit (and almost all others that I get) is the coin's condition. The times that the condition is included, it's in terms of decent, alright, or good. Good is a valid grade, but what most people consider good, is not what is defined by the grade Good. If you call your coin "Good" you are probably short-changing it. The grade Good is only number 4 out of a possible 70 points in the American grading system...you can usually read most of the legend and see the outline of whatever figure or devices are on it.

The ideal question, then, would be one like:

I have a 1900 Crown in EF45 with the LXIII regnal year on the edge. Can you give me an approximate idea of it's value?
Alas, such a question has never been asked of me. I suggest to all who are trying to find the values of their coins to invest in one or two books. If you have solely English/British coins, consider getting a copy of the current Standard Catalogue. Coins of England and The United Kingdom 2018: Standard Catalogue of British Coins Spink (earlier known as Seaby) has put out the Standard Catalogue of Values for dozens of years.

If you have additional coins from other countries, I would suggest getting a copy of 2018 Standard Catalog of World Coins by Krause Publications. The current edition is the 34th (2007) for World Coins from 1901 to 2000. Other volumes exist for 2001 to current, and for 1801-1900, 1701-1800, and 1601-1700.

Both books will give you good relative ideas of value. The actual amount that you would receive if you were to sell a coin depends on where you are selling it and to whom. You might get one price from one dealer, and likely a different price from another dealer. If you were to sell it on eBay, the price you would get for it depends on the day the auction closes, the time it closes, how many other similar coins are being offered at the time, the phase of the moon, and how many miles you've driven since your last oil change! I've seen some real steals on eBay, and other times I've seen coins go for two or more times their value.

Ultimately, the "value" of your coin is a price somewhere between the lowest value you are willing to part with it for and the highest value that someone is willing to pay for it. But, the two references I list above will give a good idea of where to start the pricing.

 

 

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