Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Truth About Raw Coin Values. Period.

by Daniel Malone

Regardless what source you use for your coin value information, you might be making a huge mistake. Most collectors don’t read the fine print and don’t realize that no matter if it’s the Red Book, Coin World, Numismadia, PCGS Prices, NGC Prices, Grey Sheet, or any other website price guide or publication; all of them are values for certified and graded coins.

You read that correctly; no price guide is based on raw coin values and there are no exceptions. Don’t believe me? Just pick your favorite price guide and look for the fine print and you will find the disclaimer.

How do you find out what your raw coins are really worth? Well, there are three methods. You can visit ebay, search for the coin you want to research, then scroll down on the left side and click the “SOLD” listings. It is here where you will begin your journey on finding the value of your raw coin, but wait, it’s still not that easy.

You might want to know how to grade and determine the condition of your coin. You will also want to know if the seller manipulated his images with photo editing software or if you can see enough details to know if the coin was cleaned or damaged. Is the auction image good or bad? All of these factors affect the final price of what a coin sold for.

You should consider if the seller is a large dealer with a mailing list and a following that allows them to sell their coins for more money. You also want to consider if the some of the values are inflated due to shill bidding. There is a lot to contemplate when searching ebay sold listings.

After looking over the auctions you will soon realize that all these factors mentioned above can translate into coins that look the same but sold for different values. There are so many elements that can affect prices that it is a challenge to determine the value of your coins; make no mistake about it!

If you use ebay sold values, then I recommend gaining experience in grading and studying coin images for their true condition first. Just remember these three things when looking at ebay auctions for values: Prices in black are what the seller is trying to sell it for, in red are listings that didn’t sell, and green is what the listing sold for. It’s important to know that because most people’s research doesn’t get past what a seller is trying to sell it for (prices in black).

Another method you can use is knocking about 50%-60% of the listed value from your favorite price guide to determine the value of a raw coin, and even more if your coin is damaged or cleaned. It might seem like a lot, but it is realistic. Often your coin will sell for a bit more but it is better to not over-value your coins. You will be a better buyer if you question values and challenge the price guides.

If this is confusing and you just can’t bring yourself to go through the trouble of sifting through information, but still want to find out how much a coin is worth, then there’s hope for you. You will need to be able to take good images to do this one, but it will give you a decent idea of your coin’s value without the pitfalls of a Google or ebay search.

The first thing to do here is take a decent image of your coin. You can use your cell phone, but don’t crop the image or size it too small. Above all, avoid shaking or moving the camera and brace your arms on something if you have to.

After you have the image, you want to look for an online coin forum or a Facebook group and join the community. It is here you will post the coin image and ask the members how much the coin is worth. I would look through the group posts and replies and seek out the most knowledgeable and helpful members and send them an image of the coin. You can send a message to an experienced admin about your coin as well.

Many of these members and admins sell raw coins in Facebook groups and ebay, or in person, and they have a good idea of what raw coins sell for. A few might even be able to help you with the grade and condition of the coin and be able to tell you if it’s a variety.

Of course there is one drawback of using this method and that is hearing, “A coins value is what a person is willing to pay for it." It is a bit of truth but it can also be abused since some people who are buying coins are not challenging values and don’t know much about them in general. So, their “buy price” is going to be higher than others. A few sellers like to take advantage of this and I would not ask that particular person about coins values again if they give you philosophy instead of a number.

So there you have it. The true value of a raw coin is determined by good research, challenging the values listed in the price guides, and by seeking out experienced, knowledgeable, and honest dealers and collectors.


Daniel Malone runs coinauctionshelp.com and has just begun operation of leadingladycoins.com 

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