What can you tell me about this coin, passed down to me by my grandfather?
Mr. Ferrell’s email to “Readers Ask” included obverse and reverse
images of the coin. It also included a photo of an Aug. 2, 1973,
letter sent to Mr. Ferrell’s grandfather, written by Russell Rulau,
then employed by Coin World.
In the typewritten letter, Rulau writes:
“Thank you for your recent letter.
“We believe your bronze coin was struck by one of the Ptolemies of
Egypt, possibly 100 or 200 years before Christ. We are unable to
detect sufficient legend on the coin to identify the Mint or specific ruler.
“Attributed, the piece would probably retail for $7.50.
“Thank you for your interest in Coin World.
“Cordially, COIN WORLD, Russell Rulau, Editorial Staff.”
David Vagi, who currently writes Coin World’s “Ancients Today”
column, agrees, stating, “Since the coin is quite worn, 100 percent
identification is not possible, but I would be really surprised if it
was not the following:
“AE [bronze] of Ptolemaic Egypt, struck during the joint reign of
Ptolemy VI and Ptolemy VIII; it appears to be part of a series that
some scholars date to c. 176 to 170 B.C., and others to c. 169 to 163 B.C.”
As for its current value, it has probably not dramatically risen —
perhaps to $20 to $25.
I am new to coin collecting and need to know what “MS-63,” “MS-65”
and so on mean in the Guide to U.S. Coins by the Editors of
For those new to coin collecting, the many letter and number
combinations used to describe coins can seem maddening to master at
first. However, with more exposure to the hobby and accessing reliable
information, even a beginner will start to easily decipher the “lingo”
in a short amount of time.
In this instance, “MS” stands for Mint State, or a coin in
Uncirculated condition. The numbers 63 and 65 are just a smaller
breakdown of the hobby’s 70-point grading scale, with numbers 60
through 70 denoting coins that are Uncirculated, and numbers 1 through
59 denoting coins that display various degrees of circulation wear. In
short, the higher the number, the better the grade.
A much more detailed explanation of grading terminology is
contained in the 2012 Guide to U.S. Coins. For those with
access to this book, consult Chapter 7 — “Grading Coins” — which
begins on Page 315 of the book.
Coin World’s Readers Ask department does not accept coins
or other items for examination without prior permission from staff
member Erik Martin. Readers Ask also does not examine error or variety
coins. Materials sent to Readers Ask without prior permission will be
returned unexamined. Please address all Readers Ask inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or call
800-673-8311, Ext. 274.