Thursday, August 16, 2012

On Line Selling of Coins: Value Appreciation I -Coin Pricing

I came across the data for this post mostly from one of my favorite resources on the net on coin collecting and selling  Being new to coin collecting and selling at that, I found the information on this site easy to understand at my level and very helpful. It somehow gave me a clearer perspective on how I can better appreciate the value (or the lack of it) of my coin collection  to set early expectations on the approximate value for each and more importantly to communicate this value appreciation to possible on line buyers in a language a newbie or the more inclined to the craft can understand.

There are four different terms referring to coin values in general. 

Catalog Price is an inflated price published on web sites, coin books/magazines and other coin literature. People who know about coins rarely pay the catalog price.

Retail price. This is the price that collectors usually pay for coins they purchase from coin dealers, from on line stores (eBay, Bonanza, etc.)  other auction houses and from other collectors. 

Wholesale bid. This is the amount coin dealers are willing to pay for coins they buy from collectors and from the general public. When someone asks "What is my coin worth?" they usually mean "What can I sell this coin for?" i.e., they are asking for wholesale bid. 

Face value is the value shown on the coin itself. This is the nominal legal-tender value assigned to a given coin by the governing authority.

Rules of thumb. 

The following rules of thumb are used as a general guide for coin pricing based on the terms above:

1. For most collectible coins, wholesale bid runs about one-half of the catalog price and retail runs between bid and catalog. 

2. For special coins (rare dates, in excellent condition, with unusual appeal, etc.) wholesale bid values can approach catalog value. 

3. Problem coins with scratches, spots, stains, cleaned, mounted in jewelry, etc, are worth far less than coins without problems. Usually problem coins carry no numismatic value at all.

For better appreciation of the Rules of Thumb, below is a graphic presentation from 

blue horizontal line        CoinQuest's catalog value
purple horizontal line $0; represents no value at all.
green and orange bars the range of values collectors/dealers pay relative to the catalog value.


1. Collector buys at Retail Price from a dealer or at auction:
a. average coins – pays below catalog value (green bar below blue catalog value line)
b. strong appeal-  to add to collection may pay over catalog price (green bar above blue catalog value line).

2. Dealer buys from collectors and from the general public
a. average coin- one-half of catalog value. (orange bar middle of the graph)
b. very easy to sell- will pay more.


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