Coin Prices

I have a friend who needs values for some coins.
Is there a free, reputable place to get vintage coin valuations?
Right now I’m googling the coins in question, and that’s turning up a large number of hits, not all of which are neccesarily the best valuations possible.

Get one of these.

It’ll be a good place to start.

Drat. That’s what I was afraid of.
Oh well. May have to drive to make a spreadsheet of the collection, then drive to the local bookstore or library.

Could one try visiting e-bay and see what those coins are getting on the internet market?

I’ve noted in the past that the prices quoted in the Red Book seem to be a lot higher than what people actually are willing to pay for the coins.

I’m trying the ebay route as well. My biggest problem is you never know the selling price 'til the end, and some of these coins are… low-circulation.

You can use this as a giudeline, but the Red Book is a pretty good buy for anyone with a collection looking to value it for insurance reasons

Give me some examples and I’ll tell you on here. If this is an extensive list, email me and I’ll respond.

I buy coins for a living. For 35 years.

To deal with the ethicality of the Red Book’s prices, they give “fair market value” for the coin, i.e., what you might (at the time of publication) reasonably expect to pay to buy the coin in a non-forced trade (he doesn’t have to sell, you don’t have to buy). Clearly, since coin dealers have overhead (their stores/offices and electricity aren’t provided free, they do enjoy going to their home and eating a meal they bought in the store, and even occasionally going out to a movie), that is not what you can get selling the coin to a dealer. There was at one time a companion to the Red Book called (for obvious reasons) the Blue Book, which gave brief listings of what the typical buying prices were.

Most of what I’m looking at is 1924 St Gaudens Gold $20 in both MS63 and MS64 and 1927 St Gaudens Gold $20 in both MS63 and MS64. Those coins circulate enough that I basically know the range of advertised values and historical ebay prices, and I’m slowly drilling down to indvidual coin valuations. I would not ask you for help with those. I’m reaching the conclusion that these gold coins would sell for $600 to $700 if the seller were a dealer selling to retail customers. As to the trade-in price, I have no research as of yet.
What I would like help with is the four odd-balls in the collection:

1867 Seated Liberty Half Dollar P64+
1868 Seated Liberty Half Dime P64 10843
1881 Morgan Dollar “Grade 64” (No mint mark I can find)
1937-S Texas Commemorative MS 65

Ignore that 10843 in that line. It was a number from the original retailer’s collection system. I use these on my tracking spreadsheet to avoid counting my friend’s coins twice.
I have access to the 1988 purchase prices paid by my friend’s family.
I have to say, either my friend’s family got hosed, or uhhhh… these coins have been a HIGHLY disappointing long-term investment

Re mint marks:

Until quite recently (the past 20 years or so), the main U.S. mint at Philadelphia never used a mint mark. Now they use P on at least some coins.

The following are the other mints which this country has had, with their mint marks.
C = Charlotte, NC (pre-Civil War)
CC = Carson City (late 1800s)
D = Dahlegona, GA (pre-Civil War)
D = Denver (1906 to present)
O = New Orleans (closed down around 1909)
S = San Francisco (around 1850 until it closed in the 1950s; the U.S. Assay Office there resumed coinage late in the 20th century)

It could be both.

I knew right away that the coins were bought as an investment. 1988 would be about right for the 1988-89 flurry.

First thing I or any other dealer needs to know…which grading service graded these coins? Are they encapsulated in plastic? Hopefully, it’s PCGS or NGC. They’re the best.

After making sloppy joes for the kids, I’ll come back and post the prices a reasonable dealer would pay.

'88, if I’m not mistaken, was near the height of a boom in the coin market that collapsed shortly after. Think tech bubble from the '90s and you’ll have some idea what was going on, except the coin market took even longer to recover. A poor choice of times to invest in coins, but then again such speculation was what drove the boom to begin with.

Which grading service?
Based on the paperwork, I have the following statement from the seller:

“These properties meet my standards for the applied grades.”
It’s signed by Craig R. Smith, the “President” of Swiss America Trading Corp. of Phoenix AZ and Erlenblach Switzerland.
Absolutely no mention is made of PCGS, NGC, or any third party grading service.

Oh, and they are nicely encapsulated in plastic, complete with a little sticker sealing the container and with an item # or transaction # or whatever it’s supposed to be.
Nothing in the collection is Proof or uncirculated, but it was neat to see coins that old.

Typically, Swiss America sold “graded” coins, quite often done by NGC or PCGS. These may or may not be. If they are PCGS or NCG, the name of the company is on the back of the plastic holder.

The coins ARE proof and uncirculated. The “MS” mean “mint state” or uncirculated. The “P” or “Pf” means “proof.”

You should be able to get, currently, about $500-525 for the MS63 St. Gaudens $20 gold coins, if they are done by the services I mentioned. You should get $600-625 for the MS64’s

To give you an example of how stupid the “investor” market was at that point, I bought a collection of commemorative half dollars, all original and gorgeous. Had them certified overnight. Paid a lot to do this.

Purchased group for $15,000. Sold them to a dealer for his investor client for $60K. Today, they’re worth about $15,000 again.

This happens at intervals in the market. Coins make horrible investments *for the average person/investor. *
1867 Seated Liberty Half Dollar P64+ –not good that they say P64+ :eek: . If it were certified by PCGS/NGC, you can get $900-1000.

1868 Seated Liberty Half Dime P64 --* If graded by PCGS/NGC, $400-475.*

1881 Morgan Dollar “Grade 64” (No mint mark I can find) My guess is there is an “S” mintmark on the reverse, just above the “D O” in the word ‘dollar’ down at 6:00. In any event, perhaps $40-60 bucks.

1937-S Texas Commemorative MS 65–$150-165.

Not to drift off topic, but… a coin boom? What market forces could possibly drive a coin boom, and why around 1988?

I always heard coins weren’t a good long-term investment… I’ve got a box of coins valued at about $200 when I was a kid in 1983, should I drag them out and take a look?

Collectibles in general were seen as a hot item in that era.

Wasn’t a ‘P’ used on WW2-era silver 5-cent coins?

Yes, as well as “D” and “S” on the reverse side above Monticello.

I was one of those kids who scoured every coin in my pocket change. Much to my mother’s chagrin, I was also known to covetously eye the change in the offering plate at church as well. You can imagine the thrill when I found a 1943S Jefferson nickel in the floor of a camper, of all places.