What is the Value of your Coin?
I answer the question “What is my coin worth?” on an almost daily basis. It’s not that I mind answering your emails or calls, it’s just that you’ll get the answer faster by doing some of the homework yourself. Also, there is critical information you can provide me that will help in getting you the right answer.
The real answer to the question is that your coin is worth whatever you can get someone to pay you for it. Even in the absence of someone taking advantage of you, this number can vary significantly. For example, a dealer will pay you less than a collector who is really interested in adding your coin to their collection.
There are three things that make coins valuable:
- Scarcity — The rarer a coin, the more it is worth. For example, an 1877 Indian head cent can sell for several hundred dollars while an 1865 might sell for $10 and a 1903 for $1.50. It has nothing much to do with the age of the coin. The presence or lack of a mint mark can substantially change the value of a coin because it is scarce. A particular variety can be scarce as well.
- Condition — The nicer condition a coin is in, the more it is worth. Sometimes small differences in grade make big differences in cost, sometimes not. A 1926 S Quarter retails for $3 in good condition, but $650 in uncirculated, and many thousands of dollars in choice uncirculated condition. A 1909 S-VDB cent will sell for $600+ uncirculated, but is still worth $300+ in very worn condition.
- Demand — Even relatively common coins can demand a significant premium if lots of people collect them. For example, although 264,000 1916 D dimes were made, they sell for $1600 in VF condition. In 1798, only 27,550 dimes were made, but they sell for around $1000. Why? not because the 1916D dime is rarer, but because more people collect mercury dimes than dimes from 1798.
Steps to Determining a U.S. Coin’s Approximate Value
- Identify the Coin — See our Identify or Regular Issue American Coins sections for assistance.
- Find the Mint Mark — See our Mint Marks section for some hints.
- Determine the Grade — See our Grading section for help.
Whether you are looking to buy or sell, or just have questions, please feel free to Contact Us.