Question: Will you please list the approximate value of a one-quarter ounce panda, 1982; one-half ounce gold panda, 1982, and a one-ounce gold panda, 1982?--M.P.P.
Answer: For the uninitiated, the panda is a gold-bullion coin issued by the People's Republic of China. But unlike most bullion coins, such as the krugerrand or the new U.S. eagle, the panda is issued in limited numbers. Therefore, the panda has numismatic as well as intrinsic value.
However, the U.S. Mint, no dummy in the coin game, is making the one-ounce gold eagle and the one-ounce silver eagle available in proof (double struck on polished dies) for a limited time. The difference here is that customers will be able to order an unlimited number of these proof coins until the cutoff date, which is Dec. 1. Because no one will know how many proof gold and silver eagles will be ordered until after the deadline, there is an element of financial risk, because the proofs will sell for a premium.
In fact, the proof-gold eagle is priced at $550, about $140 more than the spot price of gold. The proof silver eagle is priced at $21, about $16 more than the spot price of silver. Both coins are extremely attractive. The gold utilizes the Augustus Saint-Gaudens design devised for the 1907 $20 gold piece. The reverse, a family of eagles, was designed by a Texas sculptor, Mrs. Miley Busiek. The silver obverse was originally designed by A. A. Weinman for the 1916 Walking Liberty half dollar. The reverse, a heraldic eagle with shield, was designed by John Mercanti.
Order forms are available from the U.S. Mint, P.O. Box 13627, Philadelphia, Pa. 19101-3627.
As for the 1982 pandas, the one-quarter ounce is worth about $230, the one-half ounce is $590 and the one ounce is $1,725.
Q: I have a medal that I am quite sure is gold, as it has the numeral .900 on the side. On the obverse is John F. Kennedy. On the reverse is a German eagle and the words Welcome to Germany, 1963. It was issued by the Frankfurther Bank of Germany. It is slightly larger and thicker than an American quarter and weighs a bit more than half an ounce. Can you tell me anything about this medal?--K.F.N.
A: I'm not familiar with your medal, but it probably was issued to commemorate President Kennedy's visit to Berlin. The coin would have special value to collectors of Kennedy memorabilia; otherwise it's worth about $153 with the bullion price of gold valued at $340 an ounce.
Q: What is the value of a 1767 Spanish real in fine to very fine condition? Also, a 1909 Philippine peso in very fine condition?--G.DeJ.
A: Your Spanish real is worth from $75 to $250. Even though you've pinpointed the condition, it would have to be seen to be evaluated more accurately. The Philippine peso is worth between $5 and $10.
Q: I am not a coin collector, but my wife has a knack of saving currency of countries that she has visited in the last 30 years. There are notes from New Zealand, Israel, Japan or maybe China, and other nations. The bottom line . . . are they worth anything?--A.S.
A: Your bills may have some slight value at a money exchange. They have no collector value. You can be sure that bills in circulation in a foreign country have no more collector value than bills in circulation in the United States.
Q: I have found that an accurate way of estimating the value of bullion coins is by calculating the silver content, then multiplying by the spot silver price. For example, a not-too-worn silver dollar has about .77 ounce of silver, so .77 times spot. I believe three half dollars equal one ounce silver, five quarters one ounce silver and 14 to 15 dimes equal one ounce silver. Your formula of four times face value obviously must change as the price of silver changes.--R.S.
A: Either way is fine with me. I'm a pragmatist.
Q: I have been collecting American and Canadian coins for a few years, and I would like to know whether the Royal Canadian Mint and the U.S. Mint issue catalogues and bulletins to update collectors on their new issues and the prices and total mintages.--R.K.
A: I am not aware of such bulletins from the U.S. or Canadian mints. However, many publications offer such information. Two that you might find useful are "A Guidebook of United States Coins" by Yeoman and "Coins of Canada" by Haxby and Willey.
Q: I have 10 $1 U.S. bills, 1969 Series with John B. Connally's signature. Have they any numismatic value?--M.L.W.
A: Sorry, your bills are worth only face value.
Q: The enclosed slide of a 1975 penny shows a date of 12/31/74. Was this date placed there by the mint?--J.W.M.
A: The date has no significance to me, although it probably had meaning to whoever engraved it on the cent. I'm quite sure the coin did not leave the mint in that condition. Undoubtedly it was manufactured as a souvenir of some sort. It has no numismatic value.