To get fair value for rare U.S. gold coins, a buyer or seller should research factors such as coin grade, rarity, liquidity, demand and the value of the metal. Coin price guides estimate the prices expected for coins based on these factors.
Coin grading determines the condition of the coin, and coins with better grades are worth more. Rarity is a measure of how many coins of a certain type exist, as older coins are typically rarer and more valuable. Liquidity indicates how difficult it is to find a buyer or seller. Low liquidity or demand may lead to larger bid and ask spreads between buyers and sellers. The melt value of the weight of the gold in a coin establishes a minimum price, but gold coins typically have a premium. For example, as of November 2015, a 1795-1797 Draped Bust $10 Type 1 Small Eagle gold coin may be worth as much as $2,585,000.