Coin Collecting Myths – Part 3

Part three of this series is a combination of coin and metal detecting items that should assist you in building your coin collections. I am amazed by the mistakes that I have made as a collector or witnessed others doing in the name of purchasing or procuring numismatic items.

Myth #1: You should always buy the highest grade coin you can afford.

This myth has been around about as long as dirt and is very convincing. Sometimes it is actually good advice, for high grade coins usually outperform lower grades. The problem with this myth is the word always. Th word always should only be used in terms of making sure you get your money’s worth. Values of specific coin items are not always stable. Proof 63 coins in recent years have been very stable in performance whereas Proof 67 and 68 grades have been on a roller-coaster performance in this same time period.

This myth also has a negative effect on youngsters in the hobby who may have a limited budget. Tell them to spend their money on one or two high grade coins when they can fill many holes in their collection by buying less pricey lower grades is a mistake. Many will get discouraged and drop out if they have too little activity and their collections are growing too slowly.

Myth #2: Slabs used to house certified coins are vacuum-sealed and contain no air.

This is a very common error. Certification services sonically seal the coins. They do contain air, but are air tight, not allowing in any air from the environment in which they are stored. In essence the sealing is done by high-pitched sounds used to convert energy into heat that fuses together the two hard plastic holder pieces. Vacuum-sealing wouldn’t be practical because it would require pressing the plastic right up against the coin and thus damaging it.

Myth #3: Gold is always a better investment than silver, nickel or copper coins.

Gold glitters, is glamourous and its high intrinsic value makes it extremely appealing to numismatimists everywhere. However, the four key factors in determining value and investment potential are rarity, quality, supply and demand. When coins are judged according to these standards, gold is not all that glitters. As a collector, our decision to invest should not be made in relation to a coin’s metallic composition or its intrinsic value.

Myth #4: Toned silver coins are worth less money.

Some self-acclaimed experts have perpetrated the myth that natural toned silvered coins are in essence damaged goods. This is neither true and, in fact, is very misleading to collectors. The beautiful natural toning that takes place over a long period of time will work to protect the coins’ surfaces as well as enhancing its value to knowledgeable collectors.

Myth #5: Metal detector coin finds are worth less money than coins found in normal circulation.

This myth came into existence as a buyer ploy to get the seller’s coins for substantially less money than their coin market value or worth. I recently took several coins to a major coin show that were dug finds. My purpose was to see if a dealer, without knowledge that I had used a metal detector to find the coin, would make me a fair offer for it. One coin was a pristine half dollar that I graded at MS 60-61 and believed to be worth about $300. Two dealers looked at it and both graded it at a high AU level and made offers of $250 and $270. That falls well within my standard of 60-75% of value in selling a coin to a dealer. I also offered a silver dollar on ebay, that two other dealers at that show said was only worth $18-20. The final bid on that cartwheel was over $30.00. While these are only two very recent examples, I have actually found, time and time again, that there is a mystique on eBay for metal detector finds that frequently bring higher than normal prices. This could be a fad taking place but it is good for us treasure finders. Here’s to “diggin It”! Larry