U.S. Coin Price Guide

Coin Collecting

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Coin Collecting Can be Profitable

By Michael Russell Coin collecting has been around for many years. To most people, it has always been a hobby. They collect coins for fun and their aesthetic value rather than their monetary value. To other people, coins can be a source of income, such as when one trades on the coinís precious metal intrinsic value, like gold and silver. Also, people travel around the country setting up booths at special coin shows hoping to sell their coins for a profit to collectors. If you go to your local flea market, you will usually find at least one coin dealer there trying to sell coins to collectors for a profit. Some more sophisticated investors will try to use not only the coinís precious metal value but will also trade using the exchange rate value on the open market. For example, buying Canadian maple leafs at a set value, then waiting for the exchange rate to become favorable and trading the coins for US silver dollars. If you own two Canadian maple leaf coins for example, you may be able to end up with three US silver dollars by taking advantage of the exchange rate. This practice is of course, not for novices as there is much risk involved. Coin collectors, also called numismatists, will visit coins shows, coin dealers and pawn shops in search of whatever coins they are trying add to their collections. Collectors cover the spectrum from collecting cents all the way up to silver dollars. Each denomination has certain dates that are rarer and therefore more valuable. An example would be Lincoln pennies, for which the following dates are rarer and more valuable: 1909-S, 1909-S VDB (for the designer, Victor David Brenner), 1914-D, 1922 with no mint mark and the 1931-S. The letter following the year represents the different mints where these coins are produced. D for Denver, S for San Francisco and no mint mark for Philadelphia. There are some collectors that specialize in areas like coins that are in circulation but have errors. The 1969-S Lincoln penny with a double die obverse, the 1970-S small date Lincoln penny with double die obverse, the 1972 Lincoln penny with a double die obverse are some examples of these. Also, more recent coins like the 2004-D Wisconsin quarter with an extra leaf on the ear of corn and the 2005-D speared bison reverse design Jefferson nickel which appears as though the bison was speared. There are many other examples and a search on the internet for rare coins will help you find these. Value to a hobbyist may be as simple as how pretty a coin looks. The shinier the more appealing. To a true coin collector, luster, lack of scratches and wear are very important to the coinís value. A coin can be valuable because it is rare or because it is of top quality. This has become so important, that an actual rating scale has been developed to grade coins for purposes of value and insurance. Our next article will cover more on how coins are graded and the actual scales used. Until then, take that change out of your pocket and check. You may be walking around with hundreds of dollars and not even know it. Michael Russell

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