World Coins

Should collectors keep coins in original packaging?

A two-coin Star Trek set sold in packaging to resemble the transporter in the television series sells for more than 50 percent higher than the cost of the two coins individually.

Image courtesy of Louis Golino.

Editor's note: this is the second part of a series by Louis Golino exploring the demand for modern graded coins. The feature appears in the September monthly issue of Coin World

Collectors of modern world coins, like those who collect U.S. coins, take different collecting approaches. Some will only purchase items in their original government packaging. Others don’t care about the packaging and buy coins that are either “raw” or, instead, in third-party grading slabs. Others submit their coins to be graded.

World commemorative coins often are packaged in impressive display cases that many buyers feel enhance the coins’ aesthetic component, and this leads some buyers to have a strong preference for coins in the original packaging. 

Read the other pieces in this series:

In fact, packaging can increase the value of certain world issues if it really captures the interest of buyers, such as with the recent two-coin Star Trek set, which was issued both as two individual coins in distinctive, round boxes, and as a two-coin set made to look like the transporter that was made famous on the original television series that the coins commemorate. The two-coin sets had a limit of 1,500 units and their value quickly rose to more than 50 percent over the value of the individual coins. 

In the U.S. market, graded world coins have grown in popularity in recent years, and numismatic experts expect that trend to continue, and to continue to spread to other world markets.

Some collectors find that the large display boxes many world issues come in are a lot of trouble to store, and so have a preference for graded coins as a means of organizing their collection. Others buy graded examples to compete for the finest registry sets of the grading companies.

But the true allure of graded coins is the quest to own the finest, the top-graded Mint State and Proof 70 coins, whether for registry sets or because the 70 examples are more valuable than their lower-graded and ungraded counterparts.

However, modern collector coins are made to such high quality standards and treated with such great care during production, that examples grading 70 are often quite common, and this is one reason certain buyers eschew graded examples.  

At the same time, unlike most modern U.S. coins that have large graded populations, many world issues have not been submitted for grading in large numbers. This may provide opportunities to enhance a coin’s apparent value since, if few Proof and MS-70 pieces are recorded, the coin may sell for a strong premium in that grade. 

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