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How Do I Know if My Coins are Valuable?

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A question that has recently come up on more than one occasion is “How Do I Know if My Coins are Valuable?”  As an experienced coin dealer, the staff at Atlanta Gold and Coin Buyers is typically able to determine upon quick inspection the estimated value of your items, but we wanted to share with our customers, and prospective customers, some general guidelines that will assist in identifying potentially valuable coins.

The first determination that should be made is whether or not the coin is U.S. minted or foreign minted.  If the coin contains an image of an American president, there’s a strong likelihood that the coin was minted by the United States government; however, some privately minted coins display pictures of past presidents, so this is not always the case.  Another, and more accurate way of determining that the coin was minted in the United States is to look for the wording “United States of America.”  If the coin contains both an image and the above wording, you are most likely in possession of a U.S. minted coin.

The country of origin for many foreign coins is difficult to determine, especially considering that the wording is often is the country’s native language.  If you’re unable to determine which country minted your coin, we recommend that you type into a search engine, such as Google, any wording that you’re able to identify on the coin.  Considering the vast resources that are available on the internet, there’s a possibility that you’ll be able to identify the coin through pictures or similar language with a description, including the origin, of the coin.

Once you’ve identified if your coin has been issued by the United States government or a foreign mint, the next step that should be taken is to determine if the metal content of your coin is gold, silver, or platinum.  If the coin is composed of one of these metals, its precious metals value can be determined irrespective of any other factors.  Most government issued coins don’t contain 100% pure gold, silver, or platinum.  Common percentages of purity are 40%, 72%, 80%, 90%, 91.6%, and 99.9%.  On occasion the purity of the coin is stamped on the coin, but this isn’t always the case.

Coins that are composed of other metals aren’t sold for their precious metals value, but rather their numismatic or collectible value.  These are coins that are typically older, but don’t necessarily have to be, are rare (i.e. low mintage), have errors, or possibly have been discontinued and are in high demand by collectors.

In our next article, we’ll discuss in additional detail the numismatic qualities of coins, the common myth that most old coins are valuable coins, will review some other recommended guidelines as well as provide some helpful hints that might be of interest.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in selling your gold, silver, platinum or numismatic coins, give Atlanta Gold and Coin Buyers a call today at 404-236-9744.  We offer free no-obligation evaluations and offer the most competitive rates for your coins, bullion, bars, rounds and more!

Tony Davis
Tony Davis
Tony Davis is the owner of Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers, a full service Atlanta based coin and bullion dealer specializing in buying, selling and appraising coins and coin collections of all types and sizes. Tony frequently writes on various economic and numismatic related topics affecting the coin and bullion markets and has been published on some of the industry’s leading websites, including Coin Week, the American Numismatic Association, Coin Collector, Coinflation, and Coin Auctions Help, just to name a few. Visit Atlanta Gold & Coin’s website at to obtain additional information on the products, services and educational resources offered by his company. Tony can be reached at or at 404-236-9744

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