The fun of collecting world coins, from Portland Coins. How much is this coin worth? If I see a penny on the ground, I know its value is so low good for 5 cents in trade coin value I won’t bother to pick it up. A quarter, however, is worth stopping for.
If I’m shopping for a car, I want to know the value of the cars that I am looking at so that I can decide if a particular price is a good deal. It is important to know the approximate value of your coins in order to avoid over- or under-insuring your collection. For those valuable coins that you do run across, you’ll make sure to take better care of them so that they continue to stay valuable. If you go to 3 different grocery stores, you’ll probably find 3 different prices for the same items. The market value of a thing is what someone would actually pay for it, which can be more than or less than the thing’s book value and can change frequently.
For foreign and world coins, the main book source of coin values is the Standard Catalog of World Coins, published by Krause Publications. These are big books, listing nearly every coin ever made with pictures and the number of coins minted, with estimated values based on the coin’s date and condition. If coin X is worth more than coin Y in the 2002 edition, that’s not likely to have changed in the 2012 edition. Krause Publications has put their coin value database online at Numismaster. For a monthly or yearly subscription fee, you can look up the coin values from their current books online without needing to buy a book.
Depending on what you need, it may be a better deal to buy the book or to subscribe to Numismaster. World Coin Price Guide Web site based on Krause Publication’s coin value data. To try to figure out the current market value of a coin, you need to find out what people are willing to pay for that coin. Bay allows you to search completed auctions, which lets you know how much people actually paid for things. The difficulty with finding a market value is finding completed auctions. Bay only allows you to search for completed auctions within the last 3 months, so for less common coins you may not find any actual sales.
Any coins that a dealer buys from you, they will have to then try to sell to someone else – that is their business. The best choice for getting the most for a coin is selling to another collector, either in-person or online. See our other post about the exchange value of a foreign coin. Collecting foreign coins is about enjoying the beauty and variety of the world’s money, about glimpsing another culture through an ordinary, every-day object which is very commonplace but is also very important. Foreign coins show us what that country thinks is important enough to honor by immortalizing it in a small sculpture that will be seen by millions of people.