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Coins & Collecting Tutorial

What are your coins worth?

We get calls all day asking us what a coin is worth. A lot of the time I can give you a price range on the phone but 99% of the time we can give you a very specific price if you send us a clear up close picture of the front and back of the coin that you have. We will respond as soon as the store if free of customers, usually within 1 hour. If we need more info we will call you back. Below is some information on how coins are valued and a list of the most common coins we see.

 
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The value of any coin falls into these 4 categories:

1. Numismatic Value

This means collectors want the coin because its rare, beautiful or some other aspect that drives collectors to buy them like errors or unique toning. Coins can have numismatic value if they are new, old - made in the US or any other country in the world. However if your coins were minted after 1970 they are most likely still face value - this includes Eisenhower, Susan B Anthony and Sacagawea dollars and Kennedy Half dollars. The actual value of your coin will be based on what collectors are currently paying for similar coins. We have access to the final sales from over 250 sources including eBay, Heritage Auctions, Stacks and others to determine the specific value of your coins. 

2. Metal Content 

If you coin contains silver or gold but its not rare or collectible the metal content will determine the value. We will identify and authenticate your coins to determine the actual value. Coins are a great way of investing in silver and gold.

3. Conversion Value

We can convert coins from over 50 countries. This means if your coins are not collectible and have no silver or gold in them you can still sell them. We have had customers bring in jars of coins that converted to several hundred US dollars. We first look for collectible coins and coins that have silver and gold in them - but if they don't fall into those categories we will tell you the conversion value to US money for your foreign coins.

4. Common and Damaged Coins

Coins in this category are not very collectible and they have no precious metal in them, they are also no longer convertible. Many older European coins fall into this category because most countries switched over to the Euro and the deadline to convert your coins has passed. We still buy these coins as they can be used for arts and crafts projects or to give to our younger customers as they develop an interest in coins.

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Do you have coins that look like the ones below?

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If you do, you may have a valuable coin. These coins are earlier versions of U.S. Dollars, Halfs, Quarters, etc. These coins are highly collectible. Their values can range from a few dollars each (if badly worn) to several thousand each.

 
 

Grading your coins:

Here are some examples of Lincoln Cents in different grades. If you are curious about the grade of your coin just send us a clear picture of both sides and we will grade it for you. If you want to have your coins certified we can send them to PCGS or NGC on your behalf.

 
 
What condition are your coins in?

VG

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VF

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XF

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AU55

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MS65 Auction Ninja
 
 
 

Investing in Coins:

If you stop by our shop on any given day, you are likely to find us engaged with a customer talking about investing in coins. Many of our customers have been collecting coins since they were very young and have put together the typical colleciton of wheat cents, proof sets, and some modern commemorative coins. Their interests often lead them to more valuable numismatic (collectible) coins. Buying a valuable collectible coin for the first time can be intimidating and scary. Our customers want to know ...

​WHAT IF I BUY A COUNTERFEIT?

HAS THE COIN BE DAMAGED OR ALTERED?

HOW DO I KNOW IF THE PRICE IS TOO HIGH OR CLOSE TO THE AVERAGE?

SHOULD I BUY A CERTIFIED COIN AND IF I DO WHICH CERTIFICATION COMPANY IS BEST?

When a customer is considering investing, we suggest that we have at least one discussion before buying. We suggest that they go home and think about our advice before they buy anything from anyone. We prefer that you have a well-though strategy before you start spending money. We have been in the business over a decade and we expect to be around for several more, so there is not rush to sell you anything. We want you to be educated before buying. If you have ever sold to us, you know that we are very willing to educate you on the identification and value of your items before you sell. We use the same philosophy when we sell.

Here is some of the guidance that we typically give to new investors:

1. TAKE THE TIME TO READ

There are dozens of great books out there that can teach you just about everything that you need to know about investing in coins. If you find reading to be torture and something that you ahve never enjoyed, you might want to rethink this whole coin investing thing. You will need to read and you will need to do research regularly.

2. NARROW YOUR FOCUS.

At the highest level you need to decide if you want to buy U.S. or foreigh coins. Do you want to buy gold, silver, or copper coins? Would you like to own early Colonial coins or modern commemorative coins? One fo the greatest features of this hobby is that you can make money on just about any types of coins at any price point. The more you are willing to learn, the more you are able to earn. You will find that you can get very deep very fast if you narrow your search. If you decide to collect U.S. Half Dollars, you have already focused from dozens of coin types to just eight. If you narrow your investing adn research to capped bust halves, then you have a manageable task. You can get close to becomeing an expert on capped bust half dollars by reading just two or three books.

3. LEARN TO GRADE.

We often hear that grading is an "art" and that it can take years to learn to grade coins. We disagree. We have taught hundreds of collectors how to grade and we can get you to our level of expertise on any coin issues with just a few minutes of training, a few simple and inexpensive tools, and a few hours of practice. I like to tell people that every coin wants to be graded. Coins do not hide ther condition from you -- it's right there in front of you. Once you are in the mindset to grade, it comes very easy to everyone.

4. LEARN HOW TO USE UNBIASED SOURCES FOR DETERMINING VALUE.

For the first 30 years of my coin collecting life, this was a difficult task. Coin dealers used proprietary price guides like th now obsolete "Grey Sheet" to determine and fix prices. Today, we have active live, up-to-the-minute price guides that show actual coins sold in teh past few days and weeks to support their valuations. The old ways of pricing coins and the stores that still use them are dying off rapidly, as they should. Information about the coins you ahve or are thinking aobut buying should be available to you just as it is to the ocin store owners. You should expect to have any buy or sell prices justified and demonstrated. Don't let anyone be dismissive about your concerns over price. If you get a working knowledge of eBay, PCGS, and NGC, you can have all the resources necessary to price out 90% of the coins on the market.

 

In the near future, I will be adding articles to further address each of the four points above. I will provide links to resources and examples of coins that we think are good investments. We challenge you to challenge us. We love the fact that so many of our customers trust us to provide fair and accurate values when they are buying and selling from us. We like it better however, when their research matches what we are telling them. If you expect to work with us more than once or twice, you owe it to yourself to learn what we know and make your own judgements about what coins are best for you.

DAVID MC, ​May 2017

 
 

Collectible Silver Bars & Rounds

Recently we have had lots of requests for collectible silver rounds and bars. We will do our best to keep this page up to date with the latest interesting silver bars and rounds that we have for sale. The buy prices on listed below each item. Shipping for most pieces is $3.50 if you intend to buy more than one piece send us a message and we can provide you with a.combined shipping discount.

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Others available from this series include Robert Louis Stevenson & John Paul Jones. 7.7 oz total weight - 12 bars .999 Silver - $160 including shipping in the U.S.