Skip to main content

How does the Rare Coin Values Index work?

 (Image courtesy

(Image courtesy

I saw something called the Rare Coin Values Index. Can I use that to measure how the coin market is doing?

The RCVI tracks 87 specific U.S. coins as a way to measure the direction the value of rare coins are going. It does not measure bullion-impacted coins, modern U.S. Mint products, desirable but not “rare” coins, and more. The index is focused on a specialized segment of the market but does not represent the entire market.

How can I tell when a minor coin variety is worth collecting?

Any coin can be worthy of collecting. If, however, you are looking for minor varieties that may have additional resale value, you have a better opportunity when the variety originates from a specific die that creates the variety rather than due to a production problem such as machine doubling or a die temporarily blocked by foreign material leading to a coin lacking some detail.

Do all die varieties command a premium value?

Any collectible coin, regardless of whether it is “normal,” a die variety, or a mint error, can become valuable. There are many die varieties that bring only a modest premium, while others get to be expensive not only due to their lack of availability but also due to publicity or if the variety has good eye appeal.

Our numerical grading system is already complicated, with 70 potential grades. There is a proposal to change it to a 100-point system. Do foreign collectors use these same systems?

Coin experts in Europe and elsewhere often shun the numerical system, preferring to rate specimens on a purely descriptive, or adjectival, scale. Nevertheless, most grading systems use similar terminology and values and remain mutually intelligible.

Are Challenge Coins unique to the United States?

I have seen Challenge Coins originating from Canada and from Germany. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn there are likely others as well.

Should Challenge Coins be classified as coins, medals, tokens, or exonumia?

Challenge Coins are a modern version of Renaissance medals. Renaissance medals were often given as gifts. Modern art medals are exactly that – modern art. Challenge Coins do not depict what most collectors would consider to be traditional art medal designs, but nonetheless they are medals.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

If you like what you've read here, we invite you to visit our online bookstore to learn more about Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 9th edition..

 SCWC 1801-1900

Learn more >>>