Friday, August 17, 2012

On Line Selling of Coins: Value Appreciation II -Coin Appreciation

I came across the information below mostly from one of my favorite resources on the net on coin collecting and selling  Being new to coin collecting and selling them at that, I found the information below very helpful which somehow gave me a certain perspective on how I, and potential customers, can appreciate the coins that I have and also to set my expectations early on approximate value for each.

This is the second part of the Coin Value Appreciation (see On Line Selling of Coins: Value Appreciation I -Coin Pricing) . Again, the data is mostly from my constant resource on coin collecting and selling  After the Coin Pricing piece, this second part deals more on the better appreciation of the value of your coin collection based on the actual conditions and nuances of the coin and its it impact on the eventual market value. This evaluation does not use detailed numismatic grading (Very Fine, VF, G-4, MS63, etc.) but uses only more common descriptive terms in describing the coins. This may not sit well with coin experts but it works for me as far as describing my coins online in my booth at Bonanza.  


Wear comes from circulation and is normal part of a  coin's life. Below are the usual descriptions you can use to describe coin wear using plain adjectives. This is of importance not only with coin collection but more so for selling coins on line as the degree of wear on a coin is a factor in the catalog value determination.

This should not take away the fact as you gather more experience in the hobby that you learn more about numeric grading scale on coin wear used by Professional numismatists and avid coin collectors. The terms below can help familiarize you with the nuances on coin wear which can also help even newbie potential buyers appreciate your collection.
Eye Appeal. 

This is not usually accounted for in catalog value. It can help though in communicating this aspect to on line buyer them to have a true idea on what they are getting. You can describe eye appeal in the following ranges:


As the coin wear itself comes from circulation and is part of a normal coin's life, coin damage on the other hand goes over and above normal wear which can render the coin's value almost to zero. Damages can result from excessive wear and tear like scratches, stains, spots, discoloration and corrosion. It can also be deliberate like mounting as jewelry, gouges, nicks and similar physical damage done on purpose. 


Collectors place special coins in holders singling them out as valuable as opposed to the usual coins in circulation which are loose or raw. Loose coins may be valuable as well, but holdered ones are probably worth more than face value. There are a large variety of coin holders available offering varying degrees of protection for your coins. Holders can be as simple as the following;. 

paper envelopes
cardboard 2x2s
plastic tubes

Vinyl 2x2s ("flips")
For more valuable coins hard plastic coin holders are available. "Slabs" are hard plastic holders for individual coins that are sonically sealed by a third party grading service. They offer the best protection available, however they are usually only used for more valuable coins as you have to send the coin to a third party grading service to have them slabbed, so it is not worth the expense in less valuable coins. Airtite coin holders are a very good brand of coin holders which can be found in most coin supply stores and online.


This refers to coin discoloration due to air impurities picked up over time. These added colors do not necessarily automatically diminish coin value as some collectors actually seek them out while others don’t. Below are common terms for toning: 

Die Varieties and Minting Errors. 

A coin die is an extremely hardened, metal stamping tool used to strike coin planchets. At a die’s peak is the reverse or negative image of the coin. 
A die variety is any variation in the normal design of a coin due to errors in the preparation or maintenance of the coin die. These include doubled dies; repunched mintmarks and dates; variations in the placement or alignment of mintmarks, letters and numbers, devices,changes to the die surfaces from over-polishing or die clashes and a number of other minor variations in the final strike of the coin.

69 Indian Head Penny: 9 Over 9 Variety
Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries,
While producing the dies for the 1869 Indian head cent, a production problem occurred that resulted in a doubled die.
The doubling is most noticeable on the last two digits of the date, "69". This is seen a "shadow" above the two numerals.

1888 Indian Head Penny: Last 8 Over 7 Variety
Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries,
It is believed that an 1887 Indian Head cent hub was reused to produce the 1888 Indian head cents.
The lower part of the last in the date (the "7") can still be seen sticking out from the lower left corner of the "8". 
Minting errors on the other hand have variations in their appearance as a result of the manufacturing process itself such as off-center strikes, wrong planchet types, planchet preparation mistakes, etc..

In general, one would usually require magnification to discern small variations in coins with die varieties while minting errors are usually very obvious with the naked eye. Both types carry collector premiums over and above the normal coin value. To be valuable, die varieties and minting errors must be imparted to coins before they leave the mint. Abnormalities derived outside the mint are not valuable.


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