The term “Ex-Jewelry” is one that’s used a lot to describe the
condition of many common-date 20th century pre-1933 U.S. gold coins
that have been "improved" by their former owners.
Common coins that were once used in jewelry trade at price levels
very close to bullion values. Major grading services will note a coin
formerly used in jewelry as “Ex-Jewelry” or describe a specific
problem more fully, such as “mount removed.” Sometimes a grading
service will use the catch-all term, “damaged,” which covers a
multitude of possible problems.
To describe a coin as “jewelry” quality might mean that it shows
evidence of harsh cleaning or burnishing/polishing that gives the
surfaces a very brilliant but highly unnatural sheen.
Prices for these pieces can be close to a coin's melt value. For
example, with gold at $1,325 an ounce, a jewelry-quality
Saint-Gaudens $20 double eagle or Coronet double eagle of common date
might be purchased by a dealer from a collector at the $1,320 level
and may be sold to a collector at the $1,335 level. A problem-free
About Uncirculated example of the same types may cost around $50 to
Considering that a $20 double eagle has .9675 ounce of gold,
jewelry-quality gold coins will have a very low premium over bullion
value (comparable, in fact, to an American Eagle 1-ounce gold bullion coin).
There is one impairment that even “jewelry” grade does not describe:
holes. That’s because a hole removes metal and may substantially
affect the bullion value of a coin.