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A Quick Guide to Coins...


    These are quick tips and rules to read before you do anything with your coins. 

  1. Almost everything is common. By nature, most things are common. Its just a statistical fact. Just because a coin is old doesn't mean it has a lot of value. 99% of the coins we are contacted about have little to no significant collectible value. Some examples of coins that are very common are: most wheat pennies (1909-1958)... especially 1943 steel cents, buffalo nickels, bicentennial coins that have 1776-1976 on the face, golden dollar coins from 2000 to date, commemorative quarters from 1999 to date, nearly all United States coins from the 1930s to date will be common worth only small premiums above face value. 

  2. Don't ever clean your coins. Ever. Ever. Ever. Do not under any circumstances clean your coins. Collectors prefer coins to be in their original, unaltered or enhanced condition. Nearly all methods of cleaning coins will damage the surfaces of the coin and wipe out the majority of their collectible value. For example, a rare date silver dollar worth $8000 in Uncirculated condition could be worth $3000 after being cleaned. This damage cannot be undone once it happens. DO NOT CLEAN YOUR COINS.

  3. Age does NOT make something rare or valuable!  If that were true, rocks and trees would be worth a fortune, and we’d all be rich. For that matter Don in our office would be priceless. However, while that’s generally a true statement, there’s always an exception — if a coin is extremely old, even if it’s a common date for the kind of coin that it is, the value can rise significantly if it’s in mint or near-mint condition.  For example, an 1844 Large Cent isn’t rare — 1822 is a pretty common date for Large Cents.  But if you have one in mint condition, it’ll be worth a pretty good bit — not because of the date, since it’s common, but because of the condition.  This would be an example of what we call “condition rarity”, where the coin itself isn’t rare, but it’s scarce in that condition.  Just remember that for most coins, especially the more modern stuff, they’ll still be very common even in brand new, mint condition.

  4. What to look for... Here are a few things we are ALWAYS interested in buying: GOLD COINS from the United States or other countries. United States gold coins can be from 1795 to 1933 in usually in denominations from $1 to $20. Or modern United States gold coins, often called Gold Eagles, from 1986 to date. United States silver dollars. These were made most years from 1794 to 1935. These can be Bust Dollars, Seated Dollars, Trade Dollars, Morgan Dollars or Peace Dollars. We also buy one ounce silver coins called Silver Eagles dated 1986 to date. We are always a buyer of any classic United States coins dated 1792 to 1899. We buy all "key date" type coins and any and all PCGS or NGC graded coins. We also buy all United States paper money 1957 or before. We will also buy any United States Mint proof sets, mint sets or commemorative issues. 

How to separate your coins before bringing them to show us.

  • Pennies: Please separate any Half Cents, Large Cents, Flying Eagle or Indian Head pennies from the Lincoln pennies.  Once all Flying Eagles and Indians are together, pull all Indians dated 1880 or later out and put them in a separate bag, since they’re usually not worth as much as the pennies dated before 1880.  The exception is if they’re in mint or near-mint condition, or if they’re dated 1908 or 1909 AND have a San Francisco “S” mint mark on the reverse.  I can check for that when you bring them in though, so just separating them using the 1879 cutoff will be helpful.

  • Nickels: Liberty, or “V” Nickels: The three “key” dates here are 1885, 1886 and 1912-S (all Liberty Nickels were struck in Philadelphia except in 1912, when they were also struck in Denver and San Francisco.  None of the Philadelphia coins were struck with a mint mark, but the Denver and San Francisco coins will have a “D” or “S” mint mark on the reverse.  The placement of the mint mark is below the dot to the left of the word CENTS, between the dot and the rim of the coin).  A few other dates of Liberty Nickel are worth a decent amount if they’re in good enough condition, such as 1888 and 1894, but the 1885, 1886 and 1912-S are special dates in any condition, as long as they’re not damaged and are easily identifiable.

  • Buffalo Nickels and Jefferson Nickels: For the Jeffersons, the only dates we can use (in most cases) are the 1950-D (the “D” mint mark, if it’s there, will be on the reverse, to the right of Monticello) and any “War” nickels.  “War” nickels contain about 35% silver, and they will have a large “P”, “D” or “S” directly above the dome of Monticello.  These “War” nickels will only be dated 1942 thru 1945, although only some of the 1942 nickels contain silver (only those with the large mint mark above the dome).  This is because the US Mint changed the composition of nickels to contain 35% silver part-way through the year in 1942, so not all 1942 nickels contain silver, but all 1943 thru 1945 nickels do.  Please separate any “War” nickels from any 1950-D nickels.

  • Dimes: The first rule with United States dimes is that ANY dime dated 1964 or earlier is a good dime!  Up through (and including) 1964, United States dimes were made from 90% silver and 10% copper, so they’re worth at least their silver value. If you have any dimes dated BEFORE 1892, please separate those coins. Dimes dated 1892 thru 1964 can all go in one bag together, even if they’re different designs, unless you have any of the dates listed below.  If you do, please separate those as well, as they’ll be worth more than the common dates: Barber Dimes:  1892-S, 1893-O, 1894, 1894-O, ANY Barber Dime dated 1895 or 1896, 1897-O, 1897-S, 1901-S, 1903-S, 1904-S and 1913-S.  The mint mark, if one is present, will be on the reverse of the coin, in the space between the two ribbon ends.  Please note that there could be other early dates worth extra money if they are in mint or near-mint condition. Mercury Dimes:  The “king” of Mercury Dimes is the 1916-D, which is usually worth at least a couple hundred dollars, even if very worn, as long as there is no question that it’s a genuine 1916-D.  If there’s a mint mark present, it will be on the reverse of the coin, between the “E” in “ONE” and the branch stem.  Other good dates for Mercury Dimes are 1921 and 1921-D, which are worth far less than the 1916-D, but still a bit more than a common date.  As is the case with most older coins, there are also other dates that can potentially be worth significantly more if they’re in mint or near-mint condition with no problems. We will buy any dimes from prior to 1892, especially in very nice condition. 

  • Quarters: All quarters dated 1964 or before will be comprised of 90% silver and 10% copper and have at least some value based on their silver content. We actively buy all of these. Certain dates of quarters are worth more than others. Key coins to looks for are: Washington quarters 1932-D or 1932-S. Standing Liberty quarters: we actively buy any Standing Liberty quarters dated 1916, 1921 or 1923-S. We also buy any high grade coins or any graded by PCGS or NGC. Barber quarters: we buy all Barber quarters but especially seek those dated 1896-S, 1901-S and 1913-S. We will also buy any high grade Barber quarters or any graded by PCGS or NGS. Additionally, we will buy any quarters dated 1891 or before with special emphasis on high grade examples or any certified by PCGS or NGC.

  • Half Dollars: All half dollars dated 1964 or before contain 90% silver and 10% copper and will have at least some value based on their silver content. We will buy any of these coins but we specifically seek out the following: Walking Liberty half dollars (1916-1947), these dates are worth more than silver value: 1916-S, 1916-D, 1921, 1921-D, 1921-S, 1938-D. We also buy any high grade examples of these coins or any coins graded by PCGS or NGC. Franklin half dollars: most will just be worth face value but any coins in uncirculated condition can be worth more. We buy any of these. We will buy any Barber half dollars dated 1892 to1916. We have special interest in any dated 1892-O, 1892-S, 1896-S, 1897-O, 1914 or 1915. We will also be interested in any high grade coins from all dates and any graded by PCGS or NGC. Additionally we are very interested in any half dollar coins from 1891 or before. 

  • Silver Dollars: Silver dollars were made from circulation for most years from 1794 to 1935. We are always interested in buying these coins in any form or condition. Some silver dollars are primarily valued for their silver content while others are sought for their rarity as a collectible. We are very much interested in buying any and all silver dollars from 1794 to 1873. These tend to be much more rare and collectors are very interested in these. We also buy United States Trade Dollars dated 1873 to 1885. Other coins to look for are Morgan Dollars (1878 to 1921) including any coins from the Carson City mint, including dates 1879-CC, 1885-CC, 1889-CC, 1891-CC, 1893-CC, 1895, 1895-S. We are also quite interested in high grade coins of all dates and mint marks and a strong buyer of any PCGS or NGC graded coins. Peace Dollars: we buy any and all Peace Dollars dated 1921 to 1935 with specific interest in those dated 1921 and 1928. We also are interested in any high grade examples or any coins graded by PCGS or NGC.  

If you have any of the coins mentioned above please call us at 919-756-7616 to set up an appointment to review your coins. 

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