What Factors Influence the Prices of Old U.S. Coins?


Quick Answer

Several factors influence the value of old U.S. coins including coin grading, rarity, interest factor and liquidity. Leading coin experts evaluate the resale value of an old coin based on a combination of these factors.

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Full Answer

Coin grading essentially means the physical appearance of the coin. Shinier, less tainted coins have a higher grade and thus a higher value. There are two main systems coin enthusiasts use to grade coins: the Sheldon grading system and the European grading system. The second factor of influence is rarity. It is difficult to predict the rarity of a coin without professional guidance, as it is calculated using complicated variables related to the original production and availability of the coin. Each coin is rated on a scale from "extremely rare" to "extremely common," which either adds or subtracts from its value. Another factor influencing coin value is interest factor. This is essentially defined as the number of people interested in the coin. Customer wants keep changing and they are not only tied to rarity, but also affected by factors such as advertising and historical interest. The fourth main factor influencing old coin value is liquidity, meaning how quickly the coin can be sold at an auction.

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