By Robert Taylor

A pretty typical question I’m asked frequently.

There are several variables that need to be determined before you and the appraiser can get together.

* Most important is the size of the coin collection. Is it just 1-2 coins or is it a large box full?

* Are you located reasonably close to the appraiser? Being located several hours away could mean some financial consideration from you to defray the appraiser’s time & travel.

* Does the appraiser charge a fee for the appraisal? Some like myself do not charge an appraisal fee but others do so that needs to be determined early on.

* Tell the appraiser as much as you can and try to answer his questions in trying to determine what kind of coins you have.

* Do not be disappointed if the appraiser tells you your bags of Susan B. Anthony and Eisenhower Dollars (although 30-35 years old and rarely found in circulation any longer) are only worth face value. Coins from 1965 on up for the most part are just worth face value. There are just a few exceptions I’ll talk about below.

After a casual sharing of information, it is determined that it may be worthwhile for an appraiser to evaluate your holdings. The appraiser’s role is to give you a current market purchase price for your collection. The appraiser is not normally a collector…..he purchases holdings then resells to other dealers or other sources.

Please be upfront with the appraiser about your intentions regarding the coin holdings. If you are intent on selling the coins, tell the appraiser that. If your intention is to just get an appraisal of current market value for yourself or your children, be fair and upfront about that intention with the appraiser especially if the appraisal is free.

If you and appraiser determine it is worthwhile for him to visit you and appraise the coins, it’s better to do that appraisal during the daylight hours. Have your coins organized and displayed out on a table with good lighting which is essential. The least amount of distractions the better such as a loud TV.

Unless you have some genuine rare coins from the early 1800’s, the appraisal should move along relatively quickly. Experienced appraisers know what coins have market value and what coins are just “take them to the bank and deposit them”.

The amount of profit margin a coin dealer works on is pretty small compared to most products in the U.S. today. Margins for gold type items such as coins or jewelry are even smaller than silver or Sterling Silver items – a VERY competitive world out there for sure.

As promised, here is a listing of coins or other items that may have value within your holdings:

* Wheat pennies from 1909 to 1958 are worth about 2 cents each except for some pennies from 1909 to 1931.

* Pennies older than 1909 have better value depending on condition and type of penny.

* Nickels from 1945 and older. Evaluated on a case by case basis.

* Dimes from 1964 and older have partial silver in them. Dimes from 1945 on back have a chance of better values.

* Quarters from 1964 and older have partial silver in them. Silver Washington Quarters (1932-1964) have some dates that have collector value such as the 1932-D and 1932-S.

* The 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar has silver.

* The 1965-1970 Kennedy Half dollar has partial silver.

Kennedy half dollars from 1971, just face value.

* The Ben Franklin Half Dollars from 1948-1963 all contain silver.

* The older half dollars such as the beautiful Walking Liberty Half Dollar (1916-1947) and any half dollars older than 1915 have partial silver and varying degrees of increasing values.

* The popular silver dollars such as the Peace Dollar and the Morgan Dollar always have some value. Older silver dollars pre-dating the 1878 Morgan Dollar will definitely have nice values.

* Certain U.S. Mint Un-circulated and Proof sets may have some silver in them The storage cases these commemorative coins come in normally say on the case if silver coins are contained within. The appraiser will determine that for you if you are unsure.

* Sometimes you may have Sterling Silver items, Franklin Mint Sterling Sets, silverware, etc. that you are interested in selling. Show them to the appraiser also.

* In addition, you may have old bracelets & necklaces (broken or not), school rings, watches, charms, earrings, etc. that could have some percentage of gold in them. The appraiser can verify the worth of each item for you.

One final thought. In order for a coin to have “collector” value, it’s necessary to have a fully readable date on the coin. Too often I see coins where the dates are worn or non-existent. That will render collectible coins basically not marketable. However, if the worn date coin is one of the silver coin varieties, it will always have silver bullion value.

Should you have a question about any coins you have, just email me at:

Happy collecting!