Numism > For the New Ancient Coin Collector

Coin Values in References


I think gving the value in a coin catalogue like David Sear or van Meter is a mistake because in afew years the prices will change. I have Sear's Byzantine coins and I see some LOW prices like 5 pounds for a Justinian I follis in VF which is obviously a lot more today. So these books must be done for refernce, for types not value.

Joe Sermarini:
Values in references help by providing an idea of the relative value compared to other coins.  

The primary price factor for ancient coins (and all collectibles) is "does it complete a set."  For example, someone collecting one coin of every emperor will pay quite a bit for the more difficult emperors.  "Set completion" is why some rather dull U.S. coins cost a fortune.  Someone "needs" them.  What comprises a set in ancient coins can be hundreds of different things.  Rarity alone means little.  It is not difficult to buy an extremely rare ancient coin variety for the price of a hamburger.  Rarity plus set desirability determines price.  If a coin is the challenging coin to complete any type of "set," it will cost more.  

The second price factor for ancient coins is eye appeal.  Beautiful coins command premium prices.  It doesn't matter what type it is.  If it has eye appeal it costs more.  A lot more.  Grade is part of eye appeal, but only part.  Eye appeal includes design, artistry, quality of engraving and strike, patina and whatever else makes a coin look nice.  

The next most important factor in determining is popularity.  Even common denarii of Tiberius cost a lot because they are tribute pennies.  

Everything else comes after that.  Eye appeal can't be cataloged.  Eye appeal can't be given a number grade.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Buy the most beautiful coins you can for the price you can pay and you will have the best collection for the money you spend.    


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