What should I do with my old coins?

What should I do with my old coins?

Hap Moore, Auctioneer

People have coins everywhere –in piggy banks, change jars, between the seat cushions — and they could be worth more than you think. A quarter, for example, could be worth much more than 25 cents, depending on its numismatic value(the value to a coin dealer or collector for a rare edition) or the intrinsic value (the value based on the metal content). Either way, it could be worth your time to take a minute to check. Any reputable pawnbroker who offers cash for gold in Massachusetts would be a good place to start.

Numismatic collectors and coin dealers often look for rare coins that were produced in a certain year or produced at a particular mint, creating a value well above just the “face value” of the coin. There are experts all over the world who may collect these and will pay a premium to own them. They look for uncirculated or proofs, coins in perfect condition and protected from scratches and dings. Two organizations that grade coins include PCGS (http://www.pcgs.com/) and NCG (http://www.ngccoin.com/). Grading reports by these organizations can help dealers and collectors determine the value of their coins. To numismatic collectors certain rare coins in any condition may have tremendous value.

Experts will tell you that you should never clean or polish a coin because that will harm it’s numismatic value.

With the increase in the price of gold and silver on the commodities market, certain coins have seen their value skyrocket.  Many people have decided to cash in their coins or unwanted jewelry while market prices are high to get cash for gold in Massachusetts.  An American quarter minted between 1932 and 1964. for example, has increased in value to $2.50 based on the silver content in the coin and where silver is trading at on the market today (7/12/13 = $19.86 oz.). At that value, it is worth 10 times what it was when it was handed out as change. Why is that? It’s because US minted quarters produced during that period are made up of 90% silver. Everything from US silver dollars, half dollars, quarters, dimes and nickels were produced during certain periods with higher silver content, making them now worth more than their face value. The same can be true of coins from other countries such as Australia, Canada and China. Many of these countries have minted coins that may be worth more than their face value. It always pays to check!

One other type of “coin” that may have a higher value than its face value is the commemorative coin. These may have no numismatic value (you can’t spend them in a store) but they have a higher intrinsic value (they are worth their weight in silver or gold). Usually commemoratives are produced by recognized banks and governments with official markings that can assure you of their true value. They may have different precious metal contents, but they are recognized the world over. Credit Suisse, Krugerrands, the US and other government mints produce gold and silver coins that can be bought, sold and traded as a commodity based on their gold and silver content.

So before you throw those coins into the coin jar on your dresser,  take time to find out if that quarter could be worth a whole lot more than just twenty five cents.

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