Coin Collector Blog

Mullen Coins Collection Blog provides valuable articles and content about coin collections, rare coins, currency, antiquities and interesting reviews of news and events within the numismatic community.

How much is your coin worth? Learn about the coin evaluation process, recent trends in coin prices, and how to get the most from your coin collection.

What Accounts for Differences in Coin Values?

What Accounts for Differences in Coin Values?

One of the fascinating aspects of rare coins is the variation in their values. Whether you’re selling a coin collection or acquiring interesting specimens, you might wonder why Rare Coin A is worth more than Rare Coin B, especially if you are just starting out. Here is some food for thought.

I have two of the same coins from the same date. Why would one be worth more than the other?

First, look for the mint mark… even two coins of the same denomination and date often bear different mint marks.   One could have had a much lower mintage, and possibly worth considerably more. 

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Negotiating a Coin Transaction

Negotiating a Coin Transaction

Long before I became a Grand Rapids coin dealer, I realized that certain coins no longer fit into my collections. At a certain point, as a coin hobbyist or investor, you will undoubtedly come to the same realization. Maybe you have decided to collect a different series, or trade up to a higher grade. Or perhaps one of your set just doesn't measure up to the appearance of the others.

It pays to hone your negotiation skills, and a few basic tips can take you far when negotiating sales and trades from your coin collection.

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Origins of Rare Coin Grading

Origins of Rare Coin Grading

Coin grading, as Kathy Mullen mentioned in “Introduction to Coin Grading”, is the process of determining the grade or condition of a coin, and it’s one of the key factors in determining coin values as a collector's item. The appearance of a coin can be broken down into several key components – strike, surface preservation, luster, coloration, and eye appeal – and then the grade is assigned accordingly based on the overall quality of the piece.

Coin grading has evolved along with the coin collecting hobby over hundreds of years. The earliest systems simply used a one- or two-word description or a letter grade to describe a coin’s condition. Later William H. Sheldon developed a numerical grade scale of 1-70, and although it was originally intended for large cents, collectors found that the system translated well for any type of coin. The current system of grading in the United States combines the letter grade and numerical grade, ranging from a PR-01 (poor coin with an identifiable date) to MS-70 (perfect uncirculated) for regular business strike coins. The system, which is credited to the American Numismatic Association, is detailed in James L. Halperin’s How to Grade U.S. Coins.  

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Rare Coin Prices Continue to Increase!!

Rare Coin Prices Continue to Increase!!

The Eric Newman collection of 1,800 exceptional examples of US rare coins sold at auction this past week for more than $23,000,000! Not bad for a $7,500 investment!!

As a Grand Rapids coin dealer, I was an active bidder for some of these exceptional coins. The bidding was fierce and I was outbid by record prices on nearly every lot. Rare coin prices are STRONG!

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Coin Values – Change is the Only Constant

Coin Values – Change is the Only Constant

 

The old adage “change is the only constant” applies to the coin market. And January and February 2013 has seen some significant changes. We saw the first coin to top $10,000,000 in auction… the famed 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar from the Cardinal Collection. This seems to have generated a great deal of confidence in the increasing value of the great numismatic rarities. Expectations are very high for the final sale price of the Walton example of the 1913 Liberty Nickel scheduled for auction in late April. Other high six- and seven-figure coins are “hot.”

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The Fly-In Club

The Fly-In Club


Tell me if you think this is a forgivable mistake.

 

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Introduction to Coin Grading


The ABCs of Coin Grading

 

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Recent comment in this post
Guest — Jade Brunet
My dad loves collecting coins and I want to know more about this passion. I agree that this activity would take time and practice.... Read More
Friday, 02 September 2016 15:23
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Rare Coin Auction Prices Soaring Cardinal Collection Dollar over 10 Million at Auction

Rare Coin Auction Prices Soaring Cardinal Collection Dollar over 10 Million at Auction

 

Record Set by First Year United State Silver Dollar- 1913 Nickel Up Next!

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A Grand Rapids Coin Dealer's Perspective on The Trillion Dollar Coin

Coin collecting intersects with a number of other interests - art and design, history, geography, and politics, to name a few. Lately the "trillion dollar coin" controversy has been the main discussion where politics and collecting collide. Recently the Treasury and the Federal Reserve both have indicated that a trillion dollar coin will not be produced. However, as a Grand Rapids coin dealer, we view this improbable political battle as a chance to delve into the numismatic feasibility of the trillion dollar coin.

For those who may have missed the debate, the short history is that some bloggers advanced an idea that, should Congress refuse to raise the debt ceiling, the president could erase the national debt by authorizing the Treasury to create a trillion dollar coin as legal tender. The idea initially sounded preposterous to many, but the media and politicians began to investigate, and sure enough, there appeared to be a legal loophole that would allow such a banana republic strategy to be enacted.

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Circulated vs. Uncirculated Coins

Circulated vs. Uncirculated Coins

Guest Blogger:     Katherine Mullen came on board in 2012 to manage the business side of Mullen Coins. Pat Mullen is Mullen Coins’ numismatist. Ride along as Katherine learns the basics of numismatics.


I have always known that uncirculated coins are shinier and have fewer scratches than circulated coins.


Because I started with a large pile of quarters, I found all 50 State Quarters in a few short hours. Not even a collector, I was a little bit proud of myself.

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Coin Dealer or Con Dealer

I recently purchased a semi-key date collectable Morgan Dollar for $250, a fair value for the seller. I should be able to sell relatively quickly to a Morgan coin collector looking for a hard-to-find rare date coin.

Here’s the important part: Another coin dealer had offered to pay just $20 (80% of the value of silver content) for the very same coin!

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Quality and Rarity Drive Values for US Coins, Ancient Coins, and US Currency

$10 National Bank Note – The Old Grand Rapids National Bank
1879-CC Morgan Dollar
Arsinoe II, Wife of Ptolemy One-Mina Piece

“Buy the best you can afford” is a sound strategy for collectors of nearly any rarity, but is particularly important with US coins, ancient coins and US currency.   Also, as simple as it sounds, never forget that rarity is of critical importance to long-term value.

Since 2008, the coin market has done well compared to other financial markets.   However, the increase in value of common coins has been driven almost entirely by the increase in gold and silver values.   Common copper and nickel coins have languished or decreased in value while rare coins of high quality have skyrocketed in value.

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Pay Attention to Fundamentals When Considering a “Hot Coin” Purchase

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Like all collectibles, certain types of coins tend to get “hot” and are in high demand for a period of time and then they cool off.  What drives these trends?  Pure rarity, trade publication articles, publicity of particular series (Washington Quarter became “hot” when the Statehood Quarter program began), and increase in gold and silver prices.   However, too often “hot” coins are the product of ambitious telemarketers… prices increase short-term and then retreat to pre-promotion prices when the promotion is over.  Read on to learn how Grand Rapids coin collectors can avoid these schemes.


Have you ever watched a coin television show?  Very professional production techniques and a slick pitchman will promote “highly collectable” coins at “bargain prices” that are certain to go up in value as the public recognizes how rare they are.    Unsuspecting collectors looking for quick profits are usually disappointed.  Too often, these “bargain prices” are nearly double the base collector market retail prices.  A buyer, later seeking to sell such items, might find the value to be just 40%-60% of what they paid.   

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Characteristics of rare, collectable, and valuable coins

In this blog post we discuss the key elements that make a coin rare, collectable, and valuable.

  • Precious Metal – Gold/Silver/Platinum

  • Specific Dates and Mint Mark (a letter indicating where the coin was made)

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Sell your high value coins | Coin Collection Selling Tips | Grand Rapids Coin Dealer Mullen Coins

What are my coins worth?" is the most common first question I get from people who have inherited coin collections and accumulations from relatives. They are not collectors themselves, but assume because Dad or Uncle Joe saved these coins, they must be valuable. And, they could be.  However, because coin values are determined by a wide variety of factors, there is no simple answer. A better question to ask would be, “Who can help me sell my coins for the maximum value?”

Selling a rare coin is akin to selling an antique or fine art. Knowledge is power. A fine antique in original condition and in excellent shape can be very valuable… often many times the value of a lesser condition refinished piece. But if you’re a novice, how do you know if it is original? How do you know what defines “excellent shape?” An expert would need to help you by rendering a professional opinion about your antiques or fine art. Coins are very similar.

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