Collectors who have complained for quite a while that United States mint and proof sets were overpriced can stop complaining. At least those who were fortunate enough to order some of the Statue of Liberty options can make a hefty profit if so inclined.
The reason is that these sets are proving popular at coin shows and through over-the-counter sales. Also, while final figures aren't in, certain of the uncirculated orders appear to be relatively low, making them more valuable than the more popular (and more plentiful) proof counterparts.
At a recent show, for example, three-piece uncirculated sets consisting of a half dollar, dollar and $5 gold piece, were selling for $490 (the buy price was $465). These same sets were available from the mint only a few months ago at a pre-issue price of $165 and a regular price of $193. The three-piece proof sets were priced slightly lower at the coin show. They were selling for $475 and fetching $450. The issue price for the proofs, however, was slightly more than for the uncirculated sets. Proof sets originally listed at $175 pre-issue price and $206.50 regular.
Another interesting figure is the price for the six-piece set consisting of one coin of each denomination in proof and uncirculated, packaged in a cherry-wood presentation case. This set, believed to have not proven popular with original buyers and therefore being in short supply, had a pre-issue price of $375 and a regular price of $439.50. At the recent show, dealers were paying $900 for these sets and offering them for $1,000.
There's no way of predicting the ultimate direction of these Statue of Liberty commemoratives. But as for now, those who placed their orders early should be smiling.
Question: I'd like to know the value of a set of Mexico's 1970 World Soccer Games coins. The four gold coins are in almost-perfect condition. The only flaw is that I kept them all together, and they turned a slight shade in color. I now keep them in separate cases.--B.T.
Answer: Coin storage is very important. Some holders are better than others. Any collector with doubts should check with a professional numismatist. Most dealers sell coins properly packaged. They hope eventually to get them back for resale in the same condition they sold them. Improperly stored coins can lose considerable value. Your tarnished Mexican commemoratives are worth about $1,300.
Q: Some years ago I received a perfect U.S. Bicentennial silver proof set in a commemorative case. Could you tell me how much these proof sets are worth today?--L.E.
A: More than 3 million of the three-piece Bicentennial proof sets were issued. This popular set is worth about $12 in today's market if you are a seller. Buyers pay about $14.50 at coin shops.
Q: I have two French gold coins in excellent condition. They are 20 francs each, dated 1913 and 1914. I also have two French coins from 1916, 5 c and 10 c, a 1947 50 francs, Alerie; a 1927 bon pour 1 franc; three 5 centimes dated 1854 and 1855, and a 10 centimes, 1862. What are they worth now and what could they be worth in about 50 years?--H.F.L.
A: It's impossible to predict coin prices from day to day, much less far into the future. Your 20-franc gold pieces are worth about $75 each today. Your 20th-Century coins have little or no collector value; the 19th-Century coins are worth about $5 each.
Q: I have been collecting coins for about six years and have heard little about the 1943 copper cent mint error. I was surprised to find one of these in a bag of unsearched wheat cents. I've taken it to several coin shops, and it has been tested with a magnet. I have heard different stories about its value. Could you tell me more about this coin?--M.C.
A: Stories about the alleged 1943 copper-cent error appear from time to time. I don't believe any have ever been substantiated and doubt that any such error exists. If you want to make sure yours is genuine, have it authenticated by the American Numismatic Assn. in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Q: I am the activity director of Fountain Gardens Hospital. I have a patient who is 107 years young. She has a coin that is copper, a $10 piece minted in 1803. Can you tell me something about it and its value?--M.N.
A: Copper large cents were minted in 1803. So were $10 gold pieces. I'm not sure which coin your patient owns. If the coin is copper and indeed a large cent, it's worth about $9 and up, depending upon condition. If it's a gold eagle, it would be worth several thousand dollars. The large cent has 1 over three zeroes. The $10 piece does not have the denomination marked.