Are old coins worth much?

I found an article with a similar format as the Question and Answer category on this site, and it was a very useful question and answer, so I’m including it for all of you.

The question is, “We found some old coins while tearing down an old home. I would like to know if they are of any value. Thank you.”

The short answer is, most old coins aren’t worth all that much.

I admit, it’s exciting to find an old coin from 50 or 100 years ago, and it seems like something that old should have increased in value a whole lot. The truth is it has, but the amount it was worth was so little before, increasing by several hundred percent doesn’t make it worth all that much in the end.

I love their experience when a judge asked them to appraise a coin collection and they guessed (correctly by the way) that the appraisal would end up being more than the price of the collection.

Let me hasten to add that while the news that old coins aren’t worth much may be saddening to those of you who have found old coins and were hoping to retire on the proceeds, it’s great news for those of us who collect old coins. It means we can add items from years gone by for much less than you’d think. That is very good news indeed.

Now on to an excerpt of the article.

Right up front, we want to make it clear that coins cannot be properly evaluated from photographs, and an in-person evaluation by a coin specialist (numismatist) is highly recommended. However, we do have some general comments that might shed some light on the value of these particular coins.

Years ago, we were called upon by a probate court to evaluate the contents of a safety deposit box that was literally brimming over with old coins. Before beginning the appraisal process, we told the judge that the contents appeared to be just vintage pocket change, and that our bill for doing the appraisal might exceed the fair market value of the entire contents.

The judge ruled that job had to be done, so we spent hours and hours listing, examining, evaluating, and pricing thousands of coins that had been lovingly put away by the deceased owner. Many of the older pieces were in poor condition and virtually worthless, and the rest were common pieces that had only a modest value. In the end, we were right, and our bill was more than the value of the contents of the box.

Read the full article.

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