MythsCoin Collecting Myths – Part 2

In the previous section we dealt with some major coin myths dealing with investments, performance data, grading and the predictability of the coin market today. In Part 2 our focus will change to cover myths related to more basic coin issues and the ties to building coin collections with metal detectors.

Myth #1: Never clean a coin!

Cleaning of coins is never encouraged unless you know what you are dealing with. True collector (specimen) coins should not be cleaned. There are several classes of coins that proper cleaning techniques will enhance and generally improve their markability. Ancients are not graded by the same standards as our coins today and dug coins will generally profit from proper cleaning. Many dug coins of modern time can stand some cleaning. I toss thousands of coins into my coin tumbler each year. Most are coins that are pretty rough looking and just to put them into circulation or to use them in trade, cleaning is a necessity. I also clean 90% of my nickel finds as dug five cent pieces are almost always darkened and will be enhanced by proper cleaning techniques. I have never or will ever clean fine and better copper, nickel, silver, or gold coins. Cleaning a rare or valuable collector coin could cost you thousands of dollars in resale potential.

Myth #2: Never buy a coin sight unseen.

Some years ago this was probably the best practice. Times have changed in the coin market. With the advent and development of several quality grading services, slabbed coins are fairly safe purchases for collectors who are not interested in having just premier coins in their collection. Pedigree coins should be examined to insure you are getting the best coin for the big bucks. eBay and other selling sources now have such quality listings with details and quality pictures, making your purchase somewhat safe. I have had to return a few coins for refunds from these sources. But the process is much easier than the days of purchasing by mail from coin magazines and coin newspapers. I still like taking my coins to coin shows to sell as well as being able to see up close, coins that I would like to purchase. The fourth of July weekend always means the Clearwater, FL Coin Club Show. I made a nice profit on a 1908 $20. 00 Gold piece with a nice heavy bezel. I paid $500 and sold it for $930. But the fun of the show was buying the last coin I needed to complete my Indian Cent Collection. I found both the 1908 S and the 1877 cents with metal detectors. I asked every dealer there if they had a 1909 S. Only five dealers had one or more of this date. This is a coin that I would not buy sight unseen and, due to numerous frauds for this date, I recommend only coins that have been slabbed by a major grading service. It is easy to be taken on this coin. I used my profit (and a little extra) from the gold coin to walk out with a VG 10 that looks like a Fine 12, graded by America’s oldest grading service ANACS.

Coin Myth #3: Coin dealers cannot be trusted.

I do not trust every dealer that I know, but the good outnumber the bad. I have favorites that trust has been established over many years of buying and selling. A good way to check them out is to take a coin that you have had appraised to several different dealers and check their offer on buying your coin. If the offer is at least 65% of the value of the coin, that dealer is likely okay. Another way I check them out is to take my scrap sterling or gold metal detector finds, and see what each offers. They need at least a five percent margin over the buy price for that day. If 14K gold is going for $900 that day and the dealer says he will give you $840 or higher, he or she is likely an honest dealer. A five percent margin that day would make your ounce of 14K gold worth about $855 max. Good, honest and trustworthy dealers will want to establish a relationship with you the buyer/seller. My favorite of all times is a dealer named Dale. I made my first purchase with him back in the early 70’s, and though he has gone into semi-retirement and moved more than 50 miles north, I sold him my gold piece and bezel without comparing other offers at the Clearwater coin show. His wife went throughout the show floor to the other dealers to find a special silver bezel I needed while I was selling the coin and bezel to her husband. Great customer service from a fine dealer!

Coin Myth #5: Quality coins are impossible to find.

Though it may seem tougher to find certain types of coins, many unusual and error coins are the product of billions of coins being minted to meet the consumer buying and selling needs. I found a 2004 Roosevelt Dime error coin last year in money turned in for my children’s ministry missions project. It was copper on the obverse as the final layer was missing. Many of this type of error coin have been bringing over $250 on eBay recently. I got a 1976 Proof half from a roll I picked up from a local bank recently. The 50 States coin series has many very interesting coin errors. This makes for collecting varieties of the same dates. Finding MS 66 and higher grade coins are not difficult when checking early release date bags. I purchased a quantity of the 1995 cent rolls and found more than 20 varieties. This was a fad purchase and though I did alright then, beware of those offering high prices for these rolls, boxes, or bags. The price for these varieties have fallen about 85%. It is still nice to find different varieties of this and other coins and occasionally someone finds a new variety which can be slabbed and worth a premium price to purchasers. For more details, please visit these sites:-

Coin Myth #5: Silver and gold coins cannot be found today.

Don’t tell me that it is hard or impossible to find silver and gold coins. As a metal detector user with over 15,000 silver finds and 1868 and 1915 gold coins, I know that there are still millions of good finds like this buried and still in reach of my search coils. Research pays off big in this, the only hobby that pays you to participate. I have over 30,000 wheat pennies, nearly a thousand Indian Heads and six thousand plus Mercury dimes, just to name a few of my more valuable modern coins dug out of the newest “circulation”, Mother Earth. This is probably one of the greatest coin myths today. Check out a treasure magazine like, Western and Eastern Treasures, and see the incredible finds that go on daily.


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