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For Appreciation, Stay With U.S. Issues

October 08, 1987|DON ALPERT

Question: I have two sets of coins that were struck to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. There's a separate silver 5-shilling piece with a figure of the queen on horseback and emblems of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland on the other side. The words "Faith and Truth I will bear unto you" are engraved around the side. Sealed in a plastic container are nine coins, all dated 1953, including a half crown, a 2 shilling, plus two silver shillings, a sixpence, threepence, copper penny, halfpenny and farthing. Would you please advise if these coins have any worth?--E.W.

Answer: Your coins do indeed have some collector value, but, interestingly, not as much as you might expect. The reason is that coins are worth more in their country of origin.

Americans collect U.S. coins, British collect English coins and so forth. It's true there are numerous exceptions to this rule. There are many avid collectors of ancient coins and those who collect world coins.

But because prices are largely determined by the law of supply and demand, if you expect to realize a profit and have your coins appreciate, then it is wise to concentrate on U.S. coinage.

That doesn't mean other countries should be ignored. But it does mean that a conscious decision should be made about the purpose of collecting. Many foreign coins are fascinating. Many U.S. coins are boring, and collectors have been agitating for some time to have the designs changed. New issues, essentially, just change dates and mint marks.

If it wasn't for commemoratives, U.S. collectors would have little to look forward to.

However, the U.S. coins are still the ones that hold up in value, and the early issues, especially, are a challenge.

As for your 1953 5 shilling, it's worth about $4 ($20 in proof). The nine-piece commemorative set is worth $35 to $40.

Q: Is it possible for you to tell me the worth of a silver half dollar, 1964, in very good condition? It has the face of President Kennedy on both sides.--W.S.

A: Your coin was put together for magic tricks. It has no collector value. It is only a novelty. Heads you win. And heads you lose.

Q: I was given an old silver coin. It reads ZEE LAN DIA 1730. The coin is packaged in cellophane, and the notation indicates the coin is from Zeeland (a part of the Netherlands). Of what value is this coin? Who would you recommend that I approach for a valuation?--C.A. O'C.

A: Your coin is indeed an early piece from the Netherlands. I don't believe it has great value; perhaps $25. But it should be seen by someone who specializes in foreign coins. Check with a local dealer or attend a coin show where you will be able to get the opinion of many dealers.

Q: In a column you answered a question concerning the value of a 5-soles Peruvian coin dated 1977. During our travels in South America, we acquired a quantity of copper Bolivian coins. They are: Republic de Bolivia 50 centavos, 1942; 10 un Bolivar, 1951; 5-cinco Bolivianos, 1951, and 1 un Boliviano, 1951. Do such coins have any value?--R.M.L.

A: Sorry, but your coins have little or no collector value.

Q: My son, while walking along the beach in Sea Girt, N.J., found a coin dated 1769. It is copper and the lettering on it reads Connecticut. Also, I have a copper coin, an inch and a half in size, dated 1753. It has a crown at the top, the Roman numerals XL stamped with a small seal in the center, and the date on the bottom. There is also the lettering IOSEPHUS.O . (possibly a C or G) P.E.,TBRASILLE.REX . Could you give me some idea as to their value?--S.St.L.

A: Your New Jersey coin is a Colonial piece in the $25-$50 range. The other coin should be shown to a foreign-coin dealer for a proper evaluation.

Q: I have a 1959 Lincoln penny that is of sandwich construction and in fine condition. I had it checked for alloy by bombardment in an atomic microscope. The printout on film shows pure nickel on the two faces with a copper layer in the center. The coining on the edge shows a definite metal overlap so it could not have been plated. What is the value?--R.N.F.

A: In order for your coin to be evaluated, it must first be authenticated. The American Numismatic Assn. provides such a service, as do other groups. You can reach the ANA at 818 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, Colo. 80903. If your coin is found to be genuine it then could be evaluated by error collectors and/or error dealers.

Q: Please print the value of a $2 Silver Certificate serial No. V77665917A.--C.H.S.

A: The serial number and denomination are insufficient to evaluate a bill. The year is also vital and sometimes the combination of signatures. Also, condition is vital. Most bills should be crisp and uncirculated to have collector value.

Q: Enclosed are the face and back side of a Greek bill. Is it worth anything?--J.B.

A: Sorry, but your bill has little or no collector value.

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