How to find the value of old coins and currency

Written by marianne moro
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How to find the value of old coins and currency
Not all old money is valuable (Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The novice collector often thinks any old or unusual coin or paper currency must be valuable; unfortunately, this isn't always the case. A coin or note's worth depends on a number of factors, including its physical condition, how many were originally produced and how many still exist. With a little knowledge of numismatic terms and close examination of the old paper note or coin, you can determine its value and protect yourself against unscrupulous buyers.

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    Determine the value of old money

  1. 1

    Study the coin or currency to ascertain basic information. Find the country of issue, the denomination, and the year on the note. Observe the images or any other characters or text. Then compare the money to photos or descriptions in guidebooks, coin collectors' websites, or magazines.

    How to find the value of old coins and currency
    Study the currency for basic information (Hemera Technologies/ Images)
  2. 2

    Check the coin's grade. This term describes the money's physical condition. Proof and uncirculated coins look nearly flawless and have never made it into the hands of the public. This isn't an assurance of high value, however; some countries mint proof sets in high quantities for collectors. Check the history of these coins as well as the grade. On Sheldon's coin grading system, a numerical list used by numismatists worldwide, money ranges from a perfect mint state (MS-70) to a P-1 for Poor. The higher the number, the more coveted the coin.

    How to find the value of old coins and currency
    Check the coins grade and condition (Hemera Technologies/ Images)
  3. 3

    Determine the coin or note's market value. Check official price guides, eBay auctions, and coin magazines like "Numismatic News". Ask other coin collectors their opinion. If you think you have rare or valuable coins or currency, contact an appraiser who adheres to USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) rules and regulations.

    How to find the value of old coins and currency
    Find out the market value of the coin or note ( Images)
  4. 4

    Attend local coin collectors' shows. There will be a cross-section of coin dealers at the larger events, and one or more of them will be familiar with your old coin or currency, unless you have an extremely rare item. They'll help you with identifying the coin or note and determining its value to other collectors.

    How to find the value of old coins and currency
    Attend coin collector shows (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)
  5. 5

    Contact a coin group, dealer or magazine specialising in your coin or currency. If you have an old American coin, like a Buffalo nickel or Mercury dime, or paper money like a 60p silver certificate, any local coin shop can confirm its value for you and buy it from you if you want some extra cash. If you have world coins or currency, check with World Coin Trends or NumisMedia, two organisations that deal with rare and foreign coins and currency.

    How to find the value of old coins and currency
    Contact a group or a dealer (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

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