How much is my coin worth?
I often receive private messages asking how much their coin is worth. Sometimes I even get asked how much I am willing to pay for this type of coin or banknote. Determining the price of a collectible coin or banknotes is not a fixed formula. My usual answer is, “It depends.”
Where I come from, there is no known regulating body for the prices of collectible coins and banknotes. Prices often depend on the seller – how he/she values the item. Sentimental value is most often the dictator of prices. In coin collecting there are three things that affect coin prices.
- Rarity. The price of a coin goes up when it is relatively hard to come by. What I mean is that there are only a few of these ever minted or printed. The coin becomes a very desirable piece for a collector to have. When a certain coin or banknote has only a few existing specimens then you can be sure it can command a higher premium. The older the coin or banknote doesn’t mean its rare. However, it is also true that as time passes certain coins and banknotes become more rare. Collectors pride themselves in having coins or banknotes in their collection that no one else has.
- Condition. Collectors go for the best coins and banknotes they can get their hands on. The best looking coins and banknotes command a higher premium. Higher prices for mint condition coins and lower prices for circulated ones. Collectors are purists and if it is at all possible, we want coins and banknotes directly from the mint that makes them. Be wary of cleaned or altered coins. A cleaned coin, no matter how nice it looks has a lower price than a coin that is mint state and even undesired by most collectors. One thing about the condition of coins and banknotes is that it deteriorates over time. It is possible that a coin can lose its value as its condition deteriorates. This is the reason why collectors invest in coin flips, banknote albums, clear cases, vaults, etc.. to protect their investment.
- Demand. In my opinion, this is what affects the prices of coins and banknotes the most. A certain coin may not be very rare and may not have the best condition, but if it has a very high demand from buyers, prices can go up to absurd levels. I’m not saying that this cannot be affected by the rarity and condition, but the more people want something, the more expensive it becomes. The opposite is also true. Even if a certain coin is rare and in mint condition if no one is willing to buy it for the set price, chances are its price will go down until someone will be willing to buy it.