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How to check the value of old coins

Updated April 17, 2017

Coins can be worth more than their face value if they are collector or older coins. In order to sell them and make a profit, you must first determine their current worth. There are several avenues to do this, and one of the most popular methods is through consulting a coin value table. Learn how to grade and assess the value of old coins to determine if they are worth keeping.

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  1. Determine the coin type (penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half-dollar, dollar) and the year it was produced. These are the most important information that determines the coin's worth. Some years are worth more than others, and some coin types are rarer than others as well. Consider the grade of the coin to further narrow down potential worth. A grade is the coin's condition. "After rarity and demand, coin grade is the most critical factor assessing coin value...grading coins accurately is one of the most valuable skills a coin collector can learn," according to the U.S. Coin Value Advisor.

  2. Check whether the old coin is a rare American coin or not. This can be done by consulting a coin value table, one of which is provided on the U.S. Coin Advisor website. The value and rarity of coins are always changing with market demand, so check back from year to year to see if a coin's value has increased or not. When consulting the table it is necessary to know the coin's type, year and grade.

  3. The coin values table provides you with historic value trends over the years for each coin. This allows you to ascertain if it is beneficial to keep the coin or toss those with uncertain potential.

  4. Consult a coin dealer for exact coin value. Unless one is a skilled numismatist, it will be necessary to consult with a professional to further determine value. A coin appraisal usually costs money, so check with a coin values table, a coin collecting book or question the dealer before having the coin inspected to ensure that it will be worth it.

  5. Tip

    Consult a coin collector book for general coin assessment and value. Collectable coins are not always worth more than their face value.


    Never attempt to sell a coin before assessing their value. A coin may be worth more than it appears.

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Things You'll Need

  • Old coins
  • Coin value table or chart
  • Coin collecting books

About the Author

Rachel Campbell has been writing professionally for several years. Her work has appeared in print magazines such as "Ft. Thomas Living" and "Bend of the River." Campbell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biblical studies and psychology from Cincinnati Christian University. As a garden enthusiast, Campbell enjoys discovering new varieties of flowers and plants.

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