We here at Charlotte Rare Coins are often asked a number of questions regarding coin collection value, collectible tokens, and collectible currency. Here are some answers to the most common questions we receive. If you don’t see your question or are not sure, just contact us. We’re here to help.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I clean my coins?
Never!!! The value of many, many coins have been ruined by well-intentioned people who want to “make them shinier” when they go to sell. Original surfaces are very important!! You wouldn’t remove the patina from a Tiffany lamp, so please don’t change the surfaces of your coins! The condition of the coin (wear from circulation + surface quality + any damage that may have occurred) are VERY important in determining value. If you leave the coins as is, you’re saving yourself money.
What is a Wheat Cent worth?
Wheat cents were made between 1909-1959. Most (not all!) wheat cents are worth 2-3c a piece. The value depends on the condition as well as the date and mintmark (located under the date). Key dates include 1909-S, 1909-S VDB, 1914-D, 1922 Plain, and the 1931-S.
When did they stop making silver coins for circulation?
The US mint made 90% silver coins for circulation through 1964 (Dimes, Quarters, Half Dollars) and are worth more than face value. Half Dollars from 1965-1970 are made from 40% silver and also worth more than face value, but less than the 90% value.
Is my “gold dollar” really made of gold?
The US Mint confused a lot of people recently with the Sacagawea (2000-2016) and Presidential dollars (2007-2015) because they are “gold” in color. Unfortunately, these look gold, but are not made of gold. The last US gold dollars made for circulation were made in 1889 with the exception of some new commemorative gold coins made between 1903- 1922.
What are the obverse and reverse of a coin?
The obverse is the front of the coin (head) usually having the main design and date, the reverse is the back (tail). A trivia question for you – how many sides to a coin? The answer is three (obverse, reverse and the edge).
What is a certified coin?
A certified coin has been authenticated, graded and sealed in a tamper-proof case by a third-party grading service. The two largest are Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and National Guaranty Company (NGC). All certified coins have a unique serial number and can be verified by each respective third-party grading service. As an authorized dealer with both PCGS and NGC, Charlotte Rare Coins offers advice and actual grading submission assistance. This is actually one of the most popular services with our customers looking through collections or inherited estates.
What is a slabbed coin?
“Slabbed” is slang for a certified coin, see above.
What is a raw coin?
A raw coin has not been certified by a third-party grading service (e.g. PCGS, NGC, etc.). We at Charlotte Rare Coins see many “raw” coins and help determine condition and value.
Can paper money be certified?
Absolutely! PCGS and Paper Money Guaranty (PMG) the top third-party grading services for currency. As an authorized dealer with both PCGS and PMG, Charlotte Rare Coins offers advice and actual grading submission assistance for paper money as well as coins.
Can foreign coins and paper money get certified?
Charlotte Rare Coins submits foreign coins and paper money for our customers all the time. Same certifications as above and we offer the same service to you.
Can error coins and currency get certified?
Yes, both PCGS and NGC (PMG for paper money) commonly certify error coins and currency. Like other submissions, Charlotte Rare Coins can help with those.
Can tokens and medals get certified?
Usually they can be certified. Charlotte Rare Coins has successfully used both PCGS and NGC to certify many tokens and medals for our customers.
How should I store my collection?
Preferably store your collection in a cool, dry place. Heat and moisture have ruined many valuable coin collections over time.
How should I handle my coins?
If your coin is certified... most of the work is already done for you on not damaging the coin. However, make sure you handle the plastic case with care as well. Damaged third-party cases can devalue the coin too due to the replacement cost if it becomes broken, scratched, chipped, etc. Charlotte Rare Coins recommends sleeves that protect the plastic.
General Information on US Coin and Currency – Which departments produce coins and currency, expected life span of paper money, legal tender information, etc.