Why most older Americans have coins stashed away

By David Gonzales - February 19, 2019

There is a reason that many older people have coins that have been saved.  First of all, coin collecting was in it's hay day in the 1960's.  It' was a popular past time that many people enjoyed.  Something interesting happened in the mid 60's that would attract people to save certain coins.  The U.S. government decidied to reduce and ultimately eliminate the silver content in standard circulation currency.  1964 was the last year that half dollars, quarters, and dimes were made with 90% silver.  From 1965-1969 the half dollars only were 40% silver. 
People were pretty savy, knowing that silver was and is a precious metal and could possibly increase, if the spot price of silver increased.  So over the years people would recognize silver coins in their change, or business owners would see them in the cash register and set them aside.  Coins would be save and passed down.  Today coin collecting is not popular, therefore people are more willing to sell the old coins that they have.  Very often people are surprised at how much their coins are worth.  Granted, most of the coins that were pulled out of circulation are not rare and are valued based on the silver content, still they can be worth real money.  Mixed in with the silver coins, are wheat pennies, buffalo nickels and silver dollars.  We see lots of silver dollars as well in people's silver stashes.  Silver dollars were very popular, especailly after the silver was eliminated.  The Morgan silver dollar and the Peace silver dollar are a special part of U.S. history, plus they look different that any other coin.

Finding a Treasure in my pocket change

By David Gonzales - January 17, 2019

I get a number of calls on a weekly basis from people asking about a modern coin that they found.  Either the coin has a mint error, or a small date or something else that might differentiate that coin from it's common counterpart.  Indeed rare coins can be found in pocket change, but the probabilities are low.  Often times people look at a coin, then Google that coin and inevitability find a similar coin listed somewhere in cyberspace for considerable value.  They are then perplexed as to why we don't see the same value in that coin as the "internet" does.  Unfortunately, more often than not, these are wild goose chases.  The person does 2 or 3 minutes worth of lazy research on their phone, then starts calling the local coin shops in the area.  This not necessarily bad.  It's important to follow up on something that you might think is valuable.
Instead of calling a coin shop, I think people should consider getting the coin certified.  For around $20 the coin can be put into a certification holder and confirmation is given on what that coin really is.  If a coin is truly a small date, or a mint error, the certification is going to reflect that.  Dealers will be more willing to look at that coin and value it if it is certified.  So, should every coin you sell be certified?  The answer is no.  But if you believe you have a special, high value coin, then certification is going to assist you greatly in selling the coin.
We have all heard of or read about the person who found the coin or valuable item in a garage sale or auction that was worth millions.  Many reality shows focus on this.  We all have a bit of treasure hunter inside of us, and it's exciting to imagine finding something that could bring us fortune.  We welcome phone calls, but we also encourage good research.  Happy hunting!

Are certified coins more valuable?

Should I get my coins certified?

By David Gonzales - September 5, 2018

The answer to both of these questions is possibly.  I have discussed the overall factors that determine whether a coin is valuable or not(Date, mint mark, condition and precious metals content) in previous posts.  A coin is not valuable based on it being certified alone.  We often see certified coins that have no additional value, compared to a coin that is not certified.  Coin certification can make your coin more marketable, based on the fact that some buyers have a higher comfort in coins that are independently evaluated and graded, rather than trust in their own ability to asses the coin.  This is especially true when dealing with a rare coin.  The difference in just one grade up or down can mean the diffidence of 10's of thousands of dollars, and sometimes more. 

I think that grading  levels the playing field to some degree when discussing values of your coin.  I do however want to say that a coin that is graded ms65 is not necessarily gospel.  In other words, grading companies make grading mistakes both up and down.  So how do you know if you should grade your coin?  I think it all depends on what you are doing.  If you are a collector that is collecting a "type set" and you what a coin in each grade in your collection, then grading might be appropriate.  However, if you are selling "raw" coins, it might not be advantageous to certify the coins.  I have seen people pay $40 to certify a coin that is only worth $25.  One caveat might be, if you have an error coin or a valuable variety coin, that requires an expert to distinguish the details of the coin, and that particular coin has exceptional value, then by all means get the coin certified. 

On a little different note, storing certified coins definitely takes up more space.  Not that this is a determining factor, but it creates a fair amount of bulk.  The last thing to consider, and sometimes the most important, is the grading company itself and which one is best for what your are certifying.  There are several grading companies to chose from, and it somewhat depends on the specific coin as well as the purpose for the grading.  The company that grades the most largest amount of coins is PCGS(Professional Coin Grading Service), second is NGC(Numismatic Guarantee Corporation), and third is ANACS.  There are some other smaller services as well.  We would be happy to guide you on your options

Mistakes people make when selling their coins

By David Gonzales - August 28, 2018

Selling your coins can be a big burden.  From the time you try to find information on google, to finding a reputable source in which toi sell your coins, and everywhere in between.  Let start with google.  So, you type in what you think the coin is and up pops a coin that has a price tag of $10,000 and you think you have won the lottery.  Then come the phone calls to anyone in the coin business that will listen to you.  You get ping ponged all around as you desperately try to get someone to tell you what you want to hear.  It's almost like you become an instant treasure hunter.  Scenes of Pawn Stars and Antique Roadshow flash in your mind as you consider what new thing you are going that your going to buy with your new found fortune.  You tell yourself over and over in your mind, "this coin is old it has to be worth something"....
don't get me wrong, ther are times when people find coins that are worth real money, and we love being a part of that process, but I would encourage people to keep an open and realistic mind when doing research.  We specialize in educating people on what they have, ande this simply isn't the case with all dealers.  Many times a day I encourage people to text a pictur of the coin to me so that I can take a look.  This small service has huge value to people.  A quick

I inherited some blue books with coins in them...

Do they have value?

By David Gonzales - August 8, 2018

The answer is maybe...
There are many different levels of coin collecting.  People collect anything that looks interesting.  Perhaps they put those interesting coins in an old Folgers coffee can, or an old cigar box.  A person might advance in their interest in coins and buy some blue Whitman coin books.  There are many differnt kinds of books, from pennies to silver dollars.  The whitman books help people understand mintage numbers and rarity.  I have written about the value of coins being based on overall rarity versus age, and the Whitman books often times show the mintage numbers.  An example of this is found in the Wheat penny Whitman book.  If you look at the 1909S VDB, you will see a mintage number of 500k, which is a low number of coins compared to say the 1918 Philidelphia mint wheat penny which has a mintage number of 288 million.  Pretty easy to figure out which coin has more value.  The 1918 might have a value of 10 cents, whereas the 1909S VDB in circulated condion might be worth $500.  
Also, when a person discovers a key/rare date, they will begin to investigate the value, which will lead them to the question of what greade of the coin.  Anotherr value dtermining factor is the metal content of the coins in the book.  A Whitman book full of pre 65 half dollars could be worth several hundred dollar just in silver value.  Add in some key dates and your Whitman book could be worth thousands!