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How to Know if a Coin is Rare When Purchasing from an Auction

How to Know if a Coin is Rare When Purchasing from an Auction

Buying coins on an auction can be a good investment. Reports of record-setting prices at places like Sotheby’s for coins selling for millions have created quite a stir in the online auction world. While not all coins are going to be worth millions of dollars, they can certainly be a good deal if you get the right price and know how to value them. When reviewing coins on an auction site, here are some tips on what to look for to determine its overall value.

Does Rare Always Mean Valuable?

Not all old coins are rare, and not all rare coins are valuable. There are several levels of value for any coin. Even an old coin that would have a value several times over face-value when it is in good condition may actually be worth much less in a condition that is less than perfect.

Watch auction wording regarding the grade of the coin and use pictures posted to the item’s page to compare surface condition to the way it is described. Then look up that exact coin online to see if it has any value at all above its currency value. Consider the coin’s value at about two-thirds of the listed value if you are thinking about turning it around for a quick sale on the street or in a store-front.

Beware of Sellers Who Do Not Understand Old Coin Care

Never buy a coin that has been cleaned to make it look like it is in better condition. Some may even attempt to polish it to remove small scratches or mars. While it is true that small imperfections from wear or abuse can, indeed, lower the value of a coin, it is better to leave it be than to attempt any restoration. Most numismatists, also known as coin collectors, will turn away coins that have been altered in any way, including cleaning.

Coins with Flaws or Errors

Often times sellers will share that a coin has an error, which can make it more valuable. However, before you buy a coin that is advertised as an error, make sure you know what types of errors are considered important. Look for off-center stamping, die caps, imperfect collars, and uniface strikes. There can be some danger in error coin evaluation. Some of them may look like a real error, but simply be caused by wear and tear.

Ready To Start?

Coins are a great collector’s item. The prices of online auctions for most coins can be a very good deal. So, buyers can find great chances to expand their collections with coins that should increase in value over the years. And when you are ready to find a coin, visit U.S. Auction Online. Or you can register to view winning bids to get an idea of the value of items that you already possess.

 

Image via: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coin