How to Determine the Value of Your Coin Collection
Pricing out a coin collection is a fantastic way to track your investment and see what the market has to offer for new acquisitions. Most folks run straight to a professional appraiser whenever they come into possession of a coin collection, or when they are just looking to sell one. Fortunately, doing coin collection appraisal yourself is easy, if you know what to look for.
Coin Composition or Melt Value
Every coin is worth something, and even the most worn out rounds enjoy a certain amount of value based on their metal content. In descending order, platinum, gold, silver, nickel, and copper are the most worthwhile metals. These precious metals have commanded attention as scarce resources for centuries, and the love affair continues today. Always take stock of what your coins are actually made of. Silver and gold are currently at all time highs, and this means a significant profit, if they are an extensive part of your collection.
Scarcity of Coins
Coin scarcity is one of the most important aspects of do-it-yourself coin collection appraisal. This element refers to how many coins were released each year. Finding out how many coins were minted over the years, or finding out how many were issued by a specific mint, often requires consulting professional resources. The internet is a decent place to turn, but no guide is better than the A Guide of United States Coins: Official Red Book by R.S. Yeoman.
Scarcity also refers to uncommon errors on coins. Printing mishaps or unaligned stamps cause unusual features that are highly sought by collectors. This is one of the rare cases in antique collecting where a serious flaw is more prized than a perfect specimen.
Grading by Coin Condition
Evaluating how worn your coins are is the best way to quickly estimate possible worth. Coin condition is the first feature of a coin that everyone notices. It's visible to the naked eye, and professionals spend years learning how to grade a coin according to worldwide numismatic standards. You don't need to be a seasoned numismatist to assign your own coins grades, though.
The web is a better resources than any other coin collecting has ever had. Just Google sample pictures of the coin you're looking at by grade, and you'll quickly figure out where your coin fits by looking at examples. Remember to examine the luster, fine details, and clarity of your coin. Uncirculated rounds will command the highest prices, but old and rare coins in fair condition hold their value well too.
All in all, personal coin collection appraisal is a science. This means it can be learned with a little effort and the right resources. By consulting the web and hobby treasure maps like The Official Red Book, rather than tracking down a professional appraiser, you gain knowledge and stand to enjoy more profits from your collection.