Identifying rare coin values: Which of these coins is worth over $1000?

By Michael McConnell

The notion of coin collecting appeals to people of all ages; but for novice collectors, it can be difficult to go about identifying rare coin values. Take the coins pictured in this article, for instance: can you tell which coin is worth over $1,000.00? The answer: they all are — except for the oldest coin, which is a 1,800-year-old Roman coin.  Even though this is the oldest coin pictured by far it only sells for $80.00. Surprised? Most people are.

Coin values 101: basic tips for new collectors

Here are some basic things to understand about coin values, using the examples pictured as a reference guide:

San Diego Coin Dealers | Michael McConnell

Roman Coin

Age doesn’t matter. Coins are very durable, and that means unless they have been purposely destroyed, most coins are still around somewhere. In other words, a coin’s value is never determined based on age alone. The first coin pictured is a 1,800-year-old ancient coin – and while it is fascinating from a historical context, it is much more common than you might expect. Furthermore, collectors don’t focus on ancient coins as much as they do on other types of collectible coins. Then again, there are some very rare and expensive ancient coins on the market as well.

San Diego Coin Dealers | Michael McConnell

Lincoln Cent

Popularity is key. The Lincoln Cent, pictured, is a very common coin in general. However, it also ranks among the most popular collectors’ series – and because the 1909-S VDB has the lowest mintage of that series with just 484,000 minted pieces, it is therefore a highly valued coin. Mintage, like age, is not a sole determining factor, however. There are some coins with very low mintage, but no active collector base. If there are only 1,000 minted pieces of something but only 900 collectors who want one, then that coin will not have great value on the market.

San Diego Coin Dealers | Michael McConnell

Silver Dollar

“Mint condition” matters. The next coin you see is an 1890-CC (Carson City) Silver Dollar in gem un-circulated condition. This coin has a mintage of over two million pieces, making it a relatively common piece. However, only a small number of coins of this date have maintained such a high-grade condition. This makes them very valuable despite their high mintage.

San Diego Coin Dealers | Michael McConnell

Gold Eagle

Precious metals add value: Next you will see a one-ounce Gold Eagle. This piece is also very common; but despite being a mass-produced bullion coin, it is very valuable because of the precious metals value of gold. Compare this Gold Eagle with the 100-year-old $20 gold piece pictured hereafter. If commonly circulated, this coin might also bear value purely based on its gold content. Unlike the Gold Eagle, however, it could also have value that greatly exceeds the gold value if it is a rare date within the series or in very high-grade condition.

San Diego Coin Dealers | Michael McConnell

$20 Gold Piece

I hope this column has helped you gain a basic understanding of how rare coins derive their value. Additional research can make the process easier and infinitely fascinating for enthusiastic collectors; but it is always best to have a professional evaluate your coin collection to ensure both accurate information and lasting enjoyment. To learn more, request information about a coin or start your own collection, visit our experienced San Diego coin dealers at The Coin Shop in La Jolla today or contact us online:

Related posts:

  1. Coins for cash: where and how to sell rare coins from your collection
  2. Getting started with coin collecting: discover a fun and educational hobby for the New Year
  3. Investment or insurance? Defining the difference for today’s precious metals buyers
  4. Scrap gold jewelry vs. gold coins: how to get the best gold prices
  5. Commodities versus collectibles: a precious metals buying guide

Short URL:

Posted by Social Media Staff on Apr 19, 2012. Filed under Columns, Michael McConnell, Sponsored Columns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar


Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Congregation Beth Am Labor Day Picnic September 2, 2014
    Congregation Beth Am held a festive Labor Day Picnic Sept. 1. This year is the 31st anniversary of this synagogue that started in a tire store in Solana Beach. […]
  • Suspects attempt to rob Solana Beach bank ATM September 2, 2014
    An attempt to break into an ATM at a Solana Beach bank branch early Sept. 2 using a cutting torch ended with the cash machine in flames and two suspects fleeing empty-handed. The suspects set off the ATM's alarm during the failed heist shortly after 2:30 a.m. in the 600 block of Lomas Santa Fe Drive near Glencrest Drive, according to sheriff's Lt. […]
  • First phase of Earl Warren Middle School reconstruction begins in Solana Beach September 2, 2014
    As kids kicked back this summer, San Dieguito Union High School District kicked off the first phase of its complete reconstruction of Earl Warren Middle School. The $41 million project is made possible by the passage of Proposition AA. […]