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How to find out how much rare coins are worth

Updated February 21, 2017

If you recently began collecting coins, but aren't sure of the value of the rare coins in your collection, finding out how much individual coins are worth gives you an accurate portrait of the worth of your overall collection. Even if you have no intention of selling your coins, tracking the value of your collection keeps you informed so you can properly care for and store the coins to protect them.

Create a detailed list of all the coins in your collection, including important information like the denomination of the coin, the year the coin was minted, special markings and the type of metal the coin was made from. Include details in the margin of your list on the quality of each coin, as damaged coins depreciate in value, even if they are very rare.

Research each individual coin in your collection with online tools like the PCGS price guide, the Heritage Auction Galleries beginner's price guide, or the NGC coin encyclopedia. You can also research coin value in books like "The Official Red Book" and "The Official Blue Book" from Whitman Publishing, which publishes annual updated editions.

Factor in whether the coin is in "mint" condition. Coins graded as "mint uncirculated" have no wear at all and have been kept in protective plastic sleeves since they were first manufactured. These types of coins are more valuable because they are rare. Coins with small traces of wear on the highest points of the coin are often considered "almost uncirculated," and can be difficult to distinguish from "mint" coins without assistance from an experienced coin dealer.

Review the listings based on the condition of your coin. Dealers grade coins with the designations "Basal," "Fair," "Almost Good (AG)," "Good (G)," "Fine (F)," "Very Good (VG)," "Very Fine (VF)" and "Extremely Fine (XF)." Coins that are graded XF tend to be more rare, and have little to no wear or damage. You may need to get a professional opinion if you're not sure about the condition of your coin, as condition factors in heavily when determining coin value.

Tip

Take your coin collection to an experienced coin dealer or auctioneer if you have trouble understanding the grading systems, or aren't sure about your coins. Dealers are always on the lookout for XF rare coins, and can assess the overall value of your entire collection for you.

Things You'll Need

  • The Official Red Book
  • The Official Blue Book
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About the Author

Jennifer Hudock is an author, editor and freelancer from Pennsylvania. She has upcoming work appearing in two Library of the Living Dead Press anthologies and has been published in numerous print and online journals, including eMuse, Real TV Addict and Strange Horizons. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing from Bloomsburg University.