How to Determine if Coins Are Valuable

By Michael Black
Certain old coins are extremely valuable.

One of the first things that a serious coin collector must learn is how to determine the value of his coins. Many things affect the overall value of a coin, including the kind of coin, the year the coin was minted and the condition of the coin. Once you know all about your coin, finding out what it is worth is as simple as looking up the coin in an up-to-date coin price guide.

Figure out what kind of coin you have. Look for the name of the country the coin was minted in, usually somewhere on one of the faces of the coin. Determine the denomination of the coin--also generally written somewhere on the coin. Find the date the coin was minted on either the front or the back of a coin.

Grade your coin. Coin grading is a complicated process that takes years to master, but you can come up with an approximate grade by knowing a little about the grades themselves. Coins are graded on a scale from poor to uncirculated. A poor coin is extremely well worn, while an uncirculated coin is in virtually perfect condition.

Look up the coin in a price guide. You can purchase coin price guides at most coin shops and book stores, but make sure that you buy the correct type of guide. A guide specializing in foreign coins will not help you determine the value of US coins.

Tip

Some coins have a small letter that designates which mint the coin was minted at. This is known as a mint mark. The presence of this mark can greatly affect the value of the coin. Every specific kind of coin has its own grading scale. Information on the specific grading scales can be found in most coin price guides. If you are having trouble determining the value of your coin, coin dealers can help you with any part of this process.

About the Author

Michael Black has been a freelance writer based in South Central Pennsylvania since 2010. He graduated from York College of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in professional writing. He has written music- and writing-related articles for various websites.