Question: Over the years, my wife and I have put together a complete set of Carson City silver dollars. All coins are Mint State 63 or better. This set includes six of the dollars in government holders. We are assuming that these dollars are uncirculated as indicated on the holders. We would rather have an educated guess from you as to the approximate value of the set than take it to a dealer.--L.P.
Answer: What you have asked is not possible to answer. Coins must be seen in order to be priced properly. The Carson City dollars sold by the Mint were definitely uncirculated, but the quality varied considerably from coin to coin. Many were bag-marked, some were toned, some full-struck, some proof-like and so on. No two are identical, which means they also vary in price.
Also, you say you have a complete set of Carson City dollars. I hope that's true. But have you checked the dates? Most of the Carson City dollars sold by the government were common dates. Do you have an 1889-CC? An 1891, '92 or '93? These are tougher dates and nice specimens can be worth many thousands of dollars.
In a recent Coin World ad, a dealer offered to pay the following for Carson City dollars: $150, 1880-CC; $210, 1881-CC; $92, 1882-CC; $92, 1883-CC; $92, 1884-CC, and $228, 1885-CC. Another dealer offered to sell Carson City dollars for $105, 1878-CC; $695, 1879-CC; $189, 1880-CC; $229, 1881-CC; $95, 1882-CC; $95, 1883-CC; $95, 1884-CC; $259, 1885-CC; $209, 1890-CC; $195, 1891-CC; $325, 1892-CC, and $795, 1893-CC.
A cursory study of the 1882, 1883 and 1884 coins shows that there is just a $3 difference in the buy-sell ratio of these two dealers. This is significant as a price indicator but virtually meaningless unless you are comparing coins of similar quality. That's why it's necessary to show your coins to a dealer. Obviously, a dealer will not buy your coins for the same price for which he will sell them. But if you bought your coins at the government issue price, there should be a profit in there for all concerned.
Q: Please estimate the value of uncirculated Kennedy half dollars. Also 1842 and 1897 1-cent coins and an 1875 dime.--A.C.
A: The 1964 Kennedy half dollar is about $2; '65 to '67 Kennedys are about $1 each. The 1842 cent is $4 and up; the 1897 cent is 50 cents and up; the 1875 dime is $3 to $5 and up.
Q: I have been looking for someone I can trust to assess the value of my coin collection. It consists of proof sets 1968 to present; mint sets 1965 to present; small cents in books and loose, 1916 to present; nickels (buffalo, 1925-1937, and Jefferson, 1938-1964); Mercury dimes 1923-1945 and Roosevelt dimes 1946-1969; quarters, halves and assorted Canadian and foreign.--J.M.G.
A: There's no way to evaluate your coins from a shopping list such as yours. You will have to contact some dealers willing to place a value on your collection.
You use the word trust. I don't think you have to worry about dealers stealing any of your coins. However, they will have the advantage, because they know more than you do. So, arm yourself with information. Then decide what your collection is worth or what you will accept. The rest is easy as long as you're willing to negotiate.
Q: Kindly tell me the value of a copper penny dated 1850 in good condition. It is the size of a half dollar.--E.E.T.
A: Your description is a good one. Your coin is known as a large cent. They were made from 1793 to 1857. The early dates are quite desirable and expensive due to rarity. But later issues, such as yours, are plentiful. The 1850 cent, for example, had a mintage of 4.4 million. Consequently, your coin is probably only worth about $4 or $5. Exceptional uncirculated specimens are worth considerably more.
Olympic coinage continues in the numismatic spotlight. Korea, which is hosting the 1988 Seoul Olympics, is following tradition with the second issue of commemoratives for the event. There will be four issues in all. The second issue includes a 1-ounce gold Grand South Gate piece; 1-ounce silver Volleyball (pictured) and 1-ounce Archery (pictured); plus half-ounce silver Olympic Stadium and half-ounce silver Shuttlecock Game. The gold is available in proof finish; the silver in both proof and uncirculated. For information, contact the distributor, Manfra, Tordella & Brookes, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10017; telephone (800) 223-5818.