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How to Determine the Value of Your Coins

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One of the most frequently asked questions that we receive at Atlanta Gold and Coin Buyers is “how do I determine the value of my coins?”  This is an excellent question and one that merits further discussion.  While a number of factors come into play when determining the value of your coins, the primary characteristics that affect the value of your coins are the age, the condition, the mintage, and the underlying metal (such as gold, silver, platinum).

A common misconception is that all old coins are valuable.  This isn’t necessarily the case; especially with foreign coins, where coins in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s are plentiful.  Many of these coins are still in circulation today.  Considering the relatively large mintage of these coins and the fact that they’re still readily available, these coins aren’t typically very valuable, with the exception of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium coins, which are always in demand with collectors and investors alike.  We’ll discuss the value of the coins relative to the underlying metal content in further detail shortly.

The condition of coins oftentimes has a large determining factor in the value of coins, but not always.  Bullion, junk silver and gold, and other coins that were widely circulated before 1965 are oftentimes valued based on the melt value of the coins.  For instance, a 1964 90% Kennedy half dollar, which by the way was the last year U.S. dimes, quarters, and half dollars contained 90% silver, typically sell at the same price – regardless of the condition.  The large quantity minted trumps the condition of the coins in this case.  Older U.S. coins, especially low mintage coins, which we’ll discuss in further detail, tend to sell at a premium – especially coins in high end or uncirculated condition.

While the above factors contribute to the value of your coins, far and away, the number of coins minted (commonly referred to as such “mintage”) has the greatest determining factor when evaluating the value of your coins.  For example, a 1933 $20 St. Gauden’s gold coin and a 1943 copper penny are both valued well in excess of $1,000,000.  The reason for the astronomical value of these coins has to do with governmental policies and the situation in which the United States found itself at that point in time.  In 1933, under FDR’s presidency, Congress passed a law making it illegal for citizens to own gold coins, with the exception of collectible or numismatic coins.  Most of the gold coins that were minted in 1933 were melted or destroyed, but a few made their way outside of the U.S. Mint, possibly making this the most valuable coin in existence.  For history buffs, we were in the middle of World War II in 1943.  To ensure that we had sufficient supplies for ammunition, Congress authorized the use of steel to mint pennies, as copper was a valuable commodity at the time.  As with the 1933 St. Gauden’s $20 gold coin, a few of these coins made their way outside of the walls of the U.S. Mint, making them extremely valuable.

The last major factor in determining the value of your coins is the underlying metal of the coins.  Any gold, silver, platinum and palladium coins, regardless of the year, if they were issued in the U.S., a foreign country, or are low quality high mintage coins, are worth the value of the underlying metal.  As of this writing, gold is at or near its all-time high, silver is at or near a 31 year high, and platinum and palladium are highly valued relative to the historical average price per ounce of these metals.  If you have any coins that you believe contain gold, silver, platinum, or palladium, take them to a reputable coin expert, such as Atlanta Gold and Coin Buyers, to have them properly evaluated and appraised.

We hope that our readers will find the above information helpful, and we welcome you to contact us at 404-236-9744 or via e-mail at sales@atlantagoldandcoin.com if you’re interested in buying or selling gold, silver, platinum, palladium, collectible or numismatic coins.  We also purchase these metals in other forms, such as in the form of bars, rounds, ingots, bullion, jewelry, sterling silverware and flatware, so don’t hesitate to contact us regardless of the form of your valuables.  We thank you in advance for your consideration and look forward to earning your business!

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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 atlantagoldandcoin.com to obtain additional information on the products, services and educational resources offered by his company. Tony can be reached at sales@atlantagoldandcoin.com or at 404-236-9744

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