The Canadian Coin Association was in town recently as coin-collecting residents came out to have their heirlooms and inheritances valued by the business.
By Geoff Zochodne/The Oshawa Express
The coin is an 1849 U.S. penny: “Can you imagine how many pockets this has been in?” wonders Howard Resnick, manager of the Canadian Coin Association.
Unfortunately for the owner of this penny, four million other ones were made just like it. It’s not worth much at all. But if it would have been an 1857 penny, of which only 330,000 were made, it would have netted the owner a nice payday.
Or a pretty penny.
The Canadian Coin Association was in town, inviting residents to trot out everything to change found in a drawer to family heirlooms for appraisal.
Basically, in the world of coin collecting it all comes down to how many of your coins rolled off the presses way back when.
“The first thing you look for is collect-ability (sic) in the coins,” explains Resnick. “We look for lower mintages. In other words, the number that were produced in that particular year.”
A good example is the 1948 Silver Dollar. Only 18,000 of the coins were made, so when two of them were brought to Resnick last week he ended up paying $800 and $1,100 for them, respectively, based on their condition.
The ideal coin is a “specimen”, a coin made in limited number and distributed to a select group of people, like dignitaries or collectors. Resnick says one time he paid $30,000 for a 1953 fifty-cent piece for no reason other than it was a specimen that had not been touched.
If the coins aren’t that rare, it becomes a question of content, continues Resnick.
“If they’re not of a collectible nature then you look at silver content in those coins,” he notes. “The last time silver was even close to being this high was in the early ‘80s, then it dropped and stayed low until maybe a couple of years ago.”
People who come in can be collectors, or they can be someone who just discovered a strange coin in an old dresser. Yet the majority of people coming in to sell coins usually inherited them, says Resnick. Since they weren’t theirs to begin with, the attachment just isn’t there.
“The people that are receiving inheritances, in most instances, they’re not into the coins,” he states.
And, of course, there are people who come to sell coins because they are hurting financially.
Resnick says he got into the business almost by circumstance.
“I’ve collected for quite a number of years and the opportunity just came to me,” he muses.
And when an old nickel makes it way up to Resnick, he opts to pay $30 for it.
Not a bad return on investment for a five-cent piece.