What Makes Coins Worth More Than Their Metal?

Posted on: 20 June 2023

Collecting, buying, and selling coins has long been a favorite activity for many. You may just like having a complete collection with all years from a particular mint, or you may see gold and silver coins as a good way to store and grow financial value. Either way, the triumph of finding that one coin you've been looking for, selling a coin at its highest scrap value in years, or even locating a particular coin that you want to use in jewelry can make your day.

Dealing with coins does bring one frustration for many new to the field, and that's figuring out why some coins are collectible and worth much more than their metal value. For example, a pristine silver quarter from the U.S. is worth only the value of the silver it contains, yet another battered-looking coin could be worth a lot more. For those just getting into coins, this is what you want to look for if you're hoping for more than scrap value.

Rarity and Errors

If a coin is rare, and/or it contains an error (e.g., a typo in the text on one side), then the value may soar. This is not a guarantee because collectibility and demand vary for each and every individual coin. When these coins are in excellent shape, they can pull in more money than a similar coin that looks like it's been in circulation for years. If you think you've stumbled on a rare coin, be cautious and have the coin examined at a reputable coin shop to ensure it really is what you think it is.

Historical Significance

Occasionally a coin or a series of coins will have some historical significance, such as being the last coins minted in a particular location. Maybe there was a series of U.S. coins used during a particular time period that became known for their artwork. In these cases, the coins may be worth more to collectors because of their historical significance. This is a tricky subject to deal with because you want to be sure the coins you have are authentic. Having the coins appraised at a reputable coin store is the best way to ensure you have what you think you have.

Changes in Material

Finally, temporary changes in coin material, such as the use of steel pennies during World War II, can also bring a higher value. These are usually easier to spot as they're typically linked to the years the coins were made.

Contact a company like The Coin and Jewelry Exchange to learn more.