Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Coin Values and other Coin Collecting topics.
Price and value aren't always the same. Think of a McDonald's at 99 cents. The Big Mac is, at most, worth 99 cents. On the other hand, if you buy a laptop computer normally worth $2,000 at $1,000, you have a bargain (without the cholesterol, fat and lawsuits). The same holds true for coin values versus coin prices.
The US coin value of a Draped Bust half-dollar at MS-63 (mint state but with flaws) outweights the bid or auction price. Say you pay $300 for that coin as opposed to $3,000 for a Draped Bust half-dollar in BU or MS-67 state. The value is getting a coin you like at a reasonable price. So don't be afraid to go for the lesser-priced coin. You may want a Jaguar, but if a brilliant Volvo at a lesser price comes along, its valuable to you.
Some other tips on price versus value:
* Remember that even if you have an MS-69, authenticity, toning, cleaning, and sharpness or weakness in strike all determine a coin value despite the grade.
* Don't be afraid to buy lower-graded coins, since grading is not an exact science. Your MS-60 could in fact be an MS-64, and you'll have bought it at MS-60 coin values.
* Expensive coins aren't always interesting or desirable. Your US coin value doesn't depend on how rare or coveted the coin is. A Flying Eagle Cent from 1858 in Good/Very Good condition is an interesting piece of history that may be valuable to you and to historians. A Copper Nickel Cent (1859-1864) in Good/Very Good condition is a great buy at $8.95. The same holds true for an 1873 two-cent piece at $15-$16.
* Capped Bust half-dollars with less-than-sharp date or less-than-sharp detail on the cap may be worth more than common brilliant uncirculated silver dollars. Certainly the price is more reasonable for the average collector.
* Coin prices for old coins may not include current gold, silver and palladium values. If you factor in today's gold prices, you're getting a much more valuable coin than you thought.
So while you might enjoy a Big Mac Value Meal (not too often, right?), you value your laptop that you're using to check coin prices and a particular US coin value before you step into your new Volvo.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|