The Gold and Silver Mine – Week of Nov. 16, 2012

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Values of older coins and currency, part 2

A weekly column dedicated to “digging out” current information about precious metals, coins and other numismatics.

Two weeks ago, I started to list the top 10 questions we receive regarding coins, currency and precious metals. Because of Hurricane Sandy, I never finished the list after giving five examples. So here are the rest.

6. “What are foreign coins and currency worth?” Generally speaking, most common foreign coins are worth about 3 cents each and paper currency 10 cents each. Sometimes some of the older coins are made of silver and are valued at their silver content. Likewise, gold coins are valued for their gold content.

7. “I have a piece of currency that has a yellow back instead of green. Is this a printing error?” No, the yellow is just the result of that note going through the wash, probably in a pants pocket. The bleach/detergent caused the color to change.

8. “What can I use to clean my coins?” This is one answer I can’t stress enough. Never clean coins. Irreparable damage to the coin can occur due to improper cleaning. Last week’s article dealt with cleaning coins that have come in contact with salt water due to the storm, but this was described as the lesser of two evils, since contact with salt water can cause serious damage.

9. “I have a 1943 one-cent coin that looks like it is made of silver. Is this rare?” What you have is a coin made of steel plated with zinc. In 1943 during WWII, it was decided to save the copper used to mint cents and replace it with steel. This was because copper was so critical to the war effort. Therefore, all cents minted in 1943 (with the exception of only a handful) are made of steel, with makes them the same value as ordinary wheat cents.

10. “Do you appraise coins?” Yes, we do, but there is a charge associated with that service. Generally speaking, appraisals are required for two reasons: for insurance purposes where additional coverage for the coin collection is required (this way the insurance company knows the value of the collection you wish to insure), and for estate purposes, to determine the value for tax reasons. The appraisal for the first example lists the replacement cost for the collection. Therefore if it is lost or stolen, the collector will be covered for its replacement costs. The second example will be appraised at its liquidated value. This is its true value for tax purposes and immediate liquidation is usually in the best interest if the heirs have no interest in the collection. Both appraisals require a fully detailed, signed report and cost $100 per hour, minimum 1 hour.

Douglas Keefe is the president of Beachcomber Coins, Inc. He and his wife Linda operate Beachcomber Coins and Collectibles in the Shore Mall as well as satellite offices in Brigantine and Absecon. Between them they have over 70 years experience in the coin and precious metals business. They are members of The American Numismatic Association, The Industry Council of Tangible Assets, The Numismatic Guarantee Corporation and the Professional Coin Grading Service.

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