Skip to main content

Why aren’t all varieties in price guide?

There are several varieties of the 2009 Formative Years cent, these being the number of fingers showing on Lincoln’s hand on the reverse. Why is it that these varieties aren’t listed in price guides?


There are varieties of many coins that are not listed in general price guides. Some of these varieties simply aren’t famous enough for most collectors to attach any additional value to them. Others are because of a lack of data regarding buying and selling them. For others, perhaps only one or two coin dealers make a market in them due to these varieties being of interest only to specialists. The last reason is why most pricing guides don’t list the coins of which you speak.

Can you give me some information on the doubled-die variety of the 2004-P Peace Medal five-cent coin?

This is a Westward Journey nickel. Diagnostics of the doubled die include notching at the end of the 4 crossbar and at the end of the bottom bar of the 2.

There are no rare date modern (I mean post-silver 1965) coins other than varieties and errors, however there are grade rarity coins. Do you see this as a fad, or is the value of these coins likely to hold and perhaps increase?

There are coin dealers who send in bulk lots of modern uncirculated or proof coins to grading services, in turn receiving a deep discount due to the number of coins submitted. The few that are returned graded Mint State-70 or Proof-70 are separated and sold for much higher prices than are those assigned lower grades. The question remains if these same dealers would be willing to pay a good premium to restock the same coins from a collector at some later date, or if they would rather just keep submitting large numbers of uncertified coins hoping to get -70 coins that will justify their costs.

I used chemicals to enhance the dates otherwise worn off my Buffalo nickels. After finding some better dates I then took them to a dealer, who said they have no premium. Shouldn’t these have some value?

Collectors seldom purchase coins on which the details have been enhanced chemically or mechanically. Collectors want coins that are original. You will find that coins that have been cleaned typically draw little interest as well.

The big caveat regarding coin values is eBay. When I see a common Barber quarter at a show that Coin Market price guide thinks is great I tell the dealer that I can get that same quarter on eBay with original surfaces for half their price and their only response is “Stick with eBay.” What are your thoughts?

Coins are bought and sold at flea markets, antique malls, garage sales, coin club meetings, coin shows, coin stores, public auctions and over the Internet. Each of these is a separate market in which the same coin might realize a different price. The value of a collectible coin will always depend on what is negotiated between a buyer and a seller, regardless of the venue.

Couldn’t you say the same problems in valuing coins also exists for valuing stocks and bonds?

When you are trading stocks or bonds of a specific company or government agency you are transacting an identical item, although it may be in multiples – more than one share of stock. Coins and other collectibles are not necessarily identical, even when certified in the same grade by the same third-party certification service.

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

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
>> Subscribe today or get your >> Digital Subscription

More Collecting Resources

• If you enjoy reading about what inspires coin designs, you'll want to check out Fascinating Facts, Mysteries & Myths about U.S. Coins.

• The Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money is the only annual guide that provides complete coverage of U.S. currency with today’s market prices.