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WHAT IS MY COIN WORTH?

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How can I determine what my coin is worth?

  • Why aren't the oldest coins worth more than all the others?

  • Why is this silver dollar only worth five dollars but that one is worth one thousand?

  • What does 'e pluribus unum' mean?

  • Why is 'In God We Trust' on coinage?

  • Are Sacajawea 'golden dollars' made out of gold?

  • What is the 1943 zinc cent worth?

  • What was the last year US coins were made out of silver?

  • Why does my coin have stripes/lines

  • Why do coins have different edges

  • How were coin prices published in the years past?

  • What is so special about the 1913 nickel?

  • Do the 'j.s.' initials on the obverse of the roosevelt dime stands for joseph stalin?
  • If I buy a gold one-ounce bullion coin for $400, can I sell it the next day for the same amount?
  • Is there tax on buying gold coins?
  • Are gold, silver, or coin purchases reportable to the IRS or other government agency?
  • What is a 'numismatic' coin?
  • How can I determine what my coin is worth?

  • Why aren't the oldest coins worth more than all the others?

  • Why is this silver dollar only worth five dollars but that one is worth one thousand?

    Age is just one factor that determines the value of a coin. The many other factors besides age that determine the price a coin will command include:

    Macro Economics: Like everything else, your coin is worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.  The pinnacle of value rests upon three major pillars: time, quality, and price. You may choose any two from this pyramid.  That is, if you want to sell (or buy) a high quality coin and are willing to wait a while, you might be able to collect the best price.  Conversely, if you want to sell a common coin right now, don't expect to command the highest net value possible. 

    To determine the rarity of your coin, you must establish the mintage and subtract the number of coins reduced from circulation, either intentionally through government recall or melt, or accidentally through the scourges of fire, destruction and plain ol' loss.  The mintage is the number of coins made at the mint, both business strike and proof strike.

    Micro Economics: The major factors affecting sale price are:

    Rarity:  A very old coin that was made by the millions will generally not be worth as much as a very rare newer coin.

    Metal Content (intrinsic worth): An old silver coin may have numismatic value. That is, the coin may hold a premium above the metal content because of condition or rarity, etc. However an old silver coin with numismatic value may still be worth less than a newer one made of gold because of the differential in intrinsic worth.

    Condition:  Coins in exceptional condition, even modern ones, command a high price premium.  Major elements that contribute to a coins condition include strike, marks and eye appeal.  Marks included scratches or dings or other imperfections that detract from the appeal and value of the coin. Bag marks are made during loading or transport of the bag where coins clashed against each other causing these marks.  Other marks occur during exchange over the counter as currency, or in some cases through intentional altering of the coin's surface.

    Market Demand:  Some coins are more popular with investors for a variety of reasons.  An old coin from a not-so-popular series may not be as valuable as a lesser quality coin that is more sought out by collectors.

    Method of Sale:  There are basically three ways to sell a coin:

    Each of these have their own pros and cons.

    What does 'e pluribus unum' mean?

    Out of many - one.

    'E pluribus unum' was chosen by the first Great Seal committee in 1776. The design was based upon a model submitted by artist Pierre Du Simitière.

    It first appeared on a coin in 1795. 

    Why is 'In God We Trust' is on coinage?

    According to the US Treasury:

    http://www.treas.gov/education/fact-sheets/currency/in-god-we-trust.html

    In God We Trust first appeared on the 1864 Two Cent and 1866 Liberty coinage.

    Are Sacajawea 'golden dollars' are made out of gold?

    No, Sacajawea coins are crass brass.  The US Mint used the term ' golden dollar' to further confuse the public as part of the continued disinformation campaign the US Treasury and other government agencies have been running for years.  The Sacajawea golden dollar’ coins passed off at/through walmart are essentially counterfeit, really, on par with the 1 Million dollar bill and the federal reserve note.  The only true golden dollar is a measured weight in gold. This is established at the earliest juncture of American Jurisprudence, the Constitution. This campaign serves as a fine example of two theorems where:

    1. Bad money drives out good

    2. Supply creates demand

    What is the 1943 zinc cent worth?

    The 1943 cent was made out of steel because copper, a war materiel, was in short supply.  The US manufacturing effort used copper to produce bullet jackets, tank parts, bombs etc. Because of this copper demand by the war effort, the US Mint produced the 1943 Lincoln cent in more available metals:  Zinc coated with a thin veneer of steel.  This coin is not rare since millions were produced and therefore are only worth a very small premium in bulk amounts, just over one cent each. There is however, a very rare 1943 cent that was made out of copper which is worth much more money. A common scam is to plate the 1943 zinc cent with a thin copper film and sell it as the rare copper issue.

    There are two main methods to tell the difference between copper and steel/zinc.

    1. Steel and Zinc typically rust before corroding. Rust spots are very common on 1943 cents and other objects made of zinc and non-galvanized steel.

     2. Conduct the magnet test. Since copper is a non-magnetic metal, it will not be attracted to a magnet.

    Why does my coin have stripes/lines

    Lines or stripes in a coins surface can be from several factors. Most likely, if the lines look like they are on top of the coin's surface, then they are probably hairlines caused by cleaning and use of abrasives. If the lines look like they are part of the coin, then they could be either flowlines (pressured liquid metal caused during the striking) or variations in metal content and diffusion)

    The US mint last made 90% coins for common circulation (dimes, quarters and half-dollars) in 1964.  The mint continued to produce 40% half-dollars through 1970.  The mint continues to produce mint sets for collectors containing silver. During World War II, ostensibly because war materiel metal was in short supply, the mint produced the nickel as a silver-copper-manganese alloy.  The super-sized mint mark appears on the Reverse of the nickel to identify the silver bearing coins.  Canada continued to produce 80% silver coinage until 1968.

    What do coins have different edges?

    Some of the gold coinage in the past had rolled ( flat ) edges that made it possible to shave.   The way around this was to use reeded edges on the coins which would show any alteration. 

    How were coin prices published in the years past?

    http://www.mycoincollecting.com/rare-coins/companion-rare-coin-collecting-Part7.html

    What is so special about the 1913 nickel?

    http://news-antique.com/?id=524&keys=numismatic-numismatics

    Do the 'j.s.' initials on the obverse of the roosevelt dime stands for joseph stalin?

    No, the initials stand for the coin designer, John Sinnock

    Is there tax on buying gold coins?

    Sales tax depends upon what the state/province/country charges. There are ways of minimizing the tax burden. For instance, in California if you pay over $1,000 (kicked up to $1,500 in 2009) there is no sales tax. In Nevada there is a sales tax unless you have the dealer mail it to an out of state address, for example, in California.

    California State Tax exemption for coin sales to dealers for re-sale purposes.

    If I buy a gold one-ounce bullion coin for $400, can I sell it the next day for the same amount?

    There are transaction costs. The dealer will typically buy the coin for the spot price, and sell at spot plus a cost. The cost is his profit margin and expenses. Depending on what type of customer you are and how much you are buying, the actual cost of one ounce bullion gold at spot price $450 will cost you between $460-495. The price also depends upon the relative supply of the dealer, the recent price activity, and even the time of the day and week. For instance, dealers may charge more if you try to buy on Friday afternoon because they will have to lock in future market risk.

    Are gold, silver, or coin purchases reportable to the IRS or other government agency?

    What is a 'numismatic' coin?

     

    Reporting requirements are extremely convoluted. The definition of a numismatic item amongst coin collectors means the coin has a value above the intrinsic bullion value. The government has other definitions for 'numismatic' which naturally follow no logic and are usually self-contradicting. This page has a good discussion on the issue:

     

    http://www.the-moneychanger.com/numismatic_files/coin_con.phtml

     

    For More Information

    http://www.treasury.gov/education/faq/coins/portraits.shtml

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