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Coin Clinic: Doubling value depends on its cause

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By Richard Giedroyc

Bill Fivaz offered handy descriptions of valueless strike (machine) doubling and valuable doubled dies that should help readers distinguish between the two as a follow-up to a Sept. 24 question.
Strike doubling is characterized by the secondary image being flat, low-to-the-field and shelf-like, while the doubled die is raised and rounded, as on the 1955 doubled-die cent. If the coin in question is Mint State or proof, if that doubling is shiny, it is always strike doubled as that effect is damage, raw metal taken from the letters, numbers, etc., when the die twists upon striking the planchet.

Is there a way to measure what is going on in the rare coin market?
Harry Miller likely does the best job of evaluating the market in his weekly “Coin Market at a Glance” section appearing in Numismatic News. The coin market doesn’t draw a large enough audience for it to be covered in major financial publications. Without there being some form of “big board” through which all daily transactions are recorded in a manner similar to how the stock markets operate there is no way to tabulate and evaluate the coin market in a similar manner.

There doesn’t appear to be any consistency in coin prices. One may be increasing, while another is decreasing. Can you explain this?
Not every component of the stock market or commodity market moves in tandem with the overall trend of that market. Some stocks or commodities may decline even when the overall market is appreciating in value. The coin market is no different. A specific date and/or denomination might be increasing while some other area of the coin market might be decreasing.

Would it be possible to have an electronic board at coin shows that would show any changes in the value of coins based on transactions taking place on the bourse floor?
In theory this sounds plausible, but it would be a logistical problem to have dealers reporting each transaction electronically. Would dealers be willing to share information regarding what they just paid to add a coin to their inventory? There is the problem of consistency of transactions as well. What if two likely identical coins sell at different prices, one having been certified while the other was not? The negotiating skills of each individual consumer is not able to be measured either.

Why is it that coin dealers want to pay me less for a Krugerrand or a Canadian hold Maple Leaf coin than for a gold American Eagle? All three are one ounce of gold.
If I were a jewelry maker needing raw gold I would purchase the Krugerrand or the Maple Leaf rather than the gold American Eagle since I can purchase an ounce of gold for less. However, coin and commodity dealers see it differently. The gold American Eagle is significantly more popular with American buyers than are the foreign gold coins. Since the gold American Eagle will sell more quickly a dealer can afford to sell it for more money, which also means the dealer can purchase it for more money. The different velocity of merchandise turnover for each coin type is the answer. Prices are higher for coins dealers know they can sell right away.

I have a gold coin that had been used as a jewelry piece. Is it worth having the coin retooled so it will once more have collector value?
There are businesses that do quality coin restoration and retooling. The problems may have gone away, but the coin will still sell at a discounted price as a repaired coin. The decision regarding whether it is worth having a coin retooled rests with the value of the coin in its present condition, the cost of restoration or retooling and the value the coin will have once it has gone through this procedure.

E-mail inquiries only. Do not send letters in the mail. Send to Giedroyc@Bright.net. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions.

 

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