US Coins

How to determine value when price guides differ

The 1912-S Liberty Head 5-cent coin is an example of a popular coin that is valued differently in various price guides. Gerald Tebben writes on how collectors can value a coin when price guides do not agree.

Original images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

The latest Coin World weekly issue, dated Sept. 18, 2017, is out the door, and we present some exclusives, to be found also in our latest digital edition.

How to value a coin when price guides differ

In his “Coin Lore” column, Gerald Tebben writes, “Most of us check a price guide either before a purchase, in preparation, or after, in remorse. The problem is, there are a lot of catalogs, and each one lists a different price.”

Tebben, who also is a values analyst for Coin World, selects the 1912-S Liberty Head 5-cent coin to illustrate the differences between different price guides as well as the auction market. “That 1912-S 5-cent coin then is worth anywhere from $129, the lowest auction price, to $285, the highest retail catalog price, a spread of more than 100 percent.” What should collectors do, then?

First 2017 doubled die variety reported

“The winner of the ‘Who will be the first to find a 2017-dated doubled die?’ bragging rights is Coin World reader Leonard Matyjasik, who submitted a 2017-P Lincoln cent with a doubled die obverse,” writes John Wexler in his “Varieties Notebook” column.

While the doubling is not especially strong on the cent, the variety does provide the finder credit for being the first to report the find to Wexler. See a photo of the doubling in Coin World.

Common coins that bring high prices in high grade

In his “The Joys of Collecting” column, Q. David Bowers writes about the rising prices for certain coins that are common in mid-range Mint State grades but rare in higher grades. He cites five coins, “Each of the above is common and collectible in MS-63 grade. Each is a rarity in an ultra-high grade.”

Among the pieces cited is a 1979 coin worth $4 in Mint State 63 that has sold for $7,500 in MS-68. “For my money, I would much rather have multiple sets of interesting coins in MS-63 when affordable, or in lesser grades, than have a just a handful of otherwise common coins in ultra grades at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Bowers writes.

Right diameter but wrong thickness: Wrong stock errors

A wrong stock error is a coin struck on a planchet of the proper diameter but of the thickness of a different coin. Mike Diamond, in his “Collectors’ Clearinghouse” column, explains: “Stock (coin metal strip, coil) intended for one denomination is sent through a blanking press set up for a different denomination. The diameter of the blanks will match their later design, but the thickness (and, rarely, the composition) will be appropriate for another denomination.”

He adds, “This simple concept hides a more complex reality. For example, how exactly do such mistakes occur?” Diamond offers several possible scenarios.

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