US Coins

Inside Coin World: The importance of eye appeal

Eye appeal is important, and should be considered every time you are considering a coin purchase because a pretty coin is always better than an ugly one.

Original images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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Cover feature: What is “eye appeal” and why is it important?

In his cover feature for the January 2019 issue of Coin World, Steve Roach looks at “eye appeal” — the aesthetic qualities of a coin that determine whether it is ugly, nice or makes you say “Wow!”

As Steve writes, a pretty coin will always be better than an ugly one, but how do you judge a coin’s attractiveness? Experienced collectors develop an eye for what makes one coin better than another one of the same kind, and you can too.

To learn more about what makes a coin superior, and why coins with great appeal sell for higher prices than average or below average ones, read Steve’s cover feature, exclusive to the print and digital editions of Coin World.

Under the Loupe: 1857 Braided Hair cents

The 1857 Braided Hair cents were the last of their kind — the final large cents struck by the Philadelphia Mint for circulation. As I write in the “Under the Loupe” column, the 1857 Braided Hair cents were replaced with the smaller copper-nickel Flying Eagle cents.

The old large cents were unpopular with the public due to their size and tendency to turn dark in color, and they were expensive to make because of the rising price of copper.

While only a few varieties are identified for the coin, one feature stands out — the date. Both Small Date and Large Date versions were struck, with the dates clearly of a different size.

Read more about the cents in January 2019 issue of Coin World.

Not so precious: Coins made of cheaper metals

Gold and silver were the preferred coinage metals for a long time, until rising precious metals prices forced government mints to switch to less expensive though still suitable metals like copper and nickel and their alloys. However, Mark Benvenuto writes, sometimes mints have had to switch to even cheaper metals.

Coins made of lead, zinc and iron are generally substandard to coins made of better metals, but economic considerations and political situations — wartime, for example — sometimes forced mint officials to make hard decisions.

For collectors, though, these coins are very collectible, and often cheaper to purchase than their more famous brethren. To learn more, read Mark’s feature in the World Coins section of Coin World.

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