One of the most common questions budding numismatists ask is ‘How much is my coin worth?’ Anticipating the value of a coin is an exciting prospect, but there are a few pointers people should look out for…
Precious metal content:
Coins that are struck in precious metals, such as silver and gold, have an intrinsic value based on the metal content within them. Nowadays, circulation coins, like the 20p in your pocket, are typically made from base metals and therefore have no real value based on their metal content.
If you’re unsure about the precious metal content of your coin, we would always recommend approaching a reputable coin dealer for a valuation. You can find a list of dealers through the British Numismatic Trade Association.
Rarity can be the result of age, for example historic coins where only a few still survive, or mintage limitation. New strikes are often produced in small quantities – the new strike coins offered by Hattons of London are always based on very low mintage limits of 4,999 or less – in some cases as few as 20!
Hattons also runs a Buy Back offer scheme– our limited edition minting means that our coins often sell out very quickly which can be frustrating for those who miss out. We run regular buy back offers and guarantee to offer the best market value for existing clients’ coins in order to satisfy demand elsewhere. If you have purchased a coin through Hattons of London, we would strongly recommend you consult the current buy back offers on our website should you wish to resell it.
Coins can be struck in different ways – this affects their quality, so plays a big part in determining their value.
These are the coins that we use on a daily basis. They are pressed quickly and in huge quantities, with several hundred coins being minted per minute and little concern regarding damage that may occur during this process. These coins are nowadays made from base metal so have no precious metal value.
In some cases – where there has been an error in the minting process and a “mule” coin is created – they can have some rarity value, but thanks to the quality and attention to detail of modern mints, they are few and far between. An example is the “undated 20p” of 2008
These coins are struck in a similar way as circulation coins but contain precious metal. They are designed as a convenient means of investing in precious metals but – because of the quality of the strike – their value is generally just the “melt” value of the coin.
Proof and Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) coins
These are the minting standards sought by collectors. The term Proof refers to the highest quality strike of a coin. The process is much more labour-intensive than the creation of circulation coins as the dies are specially prepared, highly polished and used fewer times. Each coin is struck in a dust free environment several times and at a lower pressure to deliver the attractive mirrored finish that collectors look for. As a result of this laborious process, these coins carry a premium. BU coins are produced in a similar way but at a faster rate.
The older, the more valuable? About Heritage coins:
‘Heritage’ refers to historical coins no longer in circulation. Occasionally, these coins were made using archaic and treasured techniques, such as highly sought-after hammered coins. Condition is also equally important – this is why we do not recommend cleaning older coins.
Whilst there is a chance that heritage coins can carry more value, this isn’t always the case. Some Roman copper coins are easy to find and therefore not worth a great deal. On the other hand, modern coins struck in low quantities with a considerable amount of gold, such as the 2018 Sapphire Coronation Jubilee Gold £50 Sovereign, fetch very high values.
Should I buy coins as an investment?
Coin dealers are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and therefore should never offer coins on an investment basis. Like any activity which requires financial outlay, you should consider your purchase carefully and use the factors above as a means of deciding whether your coin might appreciate value. Whilst we are proud at Hattons of London to have delivered very quick returns for some of our collectors through our Buy Back offers, our advice would always be to buy coins on the basis of their value to you as a collector’s item, and to treat any increase in financial value as an unexpected bonus.