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Roll Playing: One Method for Silver-Loving Collectors

November 12, 1987|DON ALPERT

Question: If I were to buy a roll of 1964 Roosevelt dimes in MS-65 condition, do I need to open the roll to check every dime? Should I buy only rolls of high-grade coins from dealers who guarantee the condition of coins in their rolls (if there are such dealers)? Would I have difficulty selling such rolls?--R.K.

Answer: Actually, what you are talking about is investing in coins. A roll of dimes, for example, consists of 50 coins, and the only reason to buy such quantities is for investment purposes. Otherwise, one MS-65 1964 dime would do for most collectors. (MS-65, incidentally, is a high-grade uncirculated coin, with MS-65 standing for Mint State 65 on a scale of 1 to 70; coins graded MS-60 and higher are considered uncirculated).

Now, if you buy modern, brilliant, uncirculated, original silver rolls, you should not pay a premium for coins graded as MS-65. This grade actually applies only to older, classic coins. Original rolls are coins that have been together since they were issued. The identifying characteristic is that the rims are all toned the same.

It's not necessary to inspect each coin individually if they are in original bank wrappers. However, if you are buying older rolls, it would be a good idea to check each piece. Buying coins by the roll was popular in the '60s and there is still considerable activity in that area. Rolls of dollars, halves, quarters, dimes, nickels and cents are all actively traded. It's all a matter of what appeals to you as a collector. Millions and millions of dimes were issued in 1964, so I'm not sure what is to be gained by buying such pieces from a collector's point of view. But if it's silver that appeals to you, that's another matter.

Q: I'm inquiring about the value of a gold coin that was minted in 1904. It has a $1 value and says Lewis & Clark Exposition, Portland, Ore., around the outer edge. This coin has never been in circulation. Also, how does one go about obtaining a grade for a coin and how much does it cost?--J.A.McC.

A: Your coin is a gold commemorative, and only 10,025 were minted in 1904. Money raised by the sale of these coins paid for a bronze memorial of the Indian guide, Sacagawea. Uncirculated pieces are worth $90 and up. You can have your coin graded by almost any dealer. If you want an impartial opinion, numerous services are available. Prices vary. Contact either the American Numismatic Assn., 818 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, Colo. 80903, or Professional Coin Grading Service, P. O. Box 9458, Newport Beach, Calif. 92658.

Q: I have just found two Reichsbanknotes among my father's belongings. They are dated February, 1923, in the amount of 1 million marks. I am enclosing a copy. Are they worth anything?--N.K.

A: Your bills are German inflationary money. After World War I, the German economy was in a shambles and money wasn't worth the paper it was printed on. So many of these bills were printed in such large denominations as to render them virtually worthless. Today, although these bills are interesting, they're still virtually worthless.

Q: Can you help me with the value of the list enclosed? There's an 1853 large cent, 1856 3-cent; silver dollars from 1880 to 1925; silver quarters, 1935 to 1964; silver dimes; silver half dollars, 1939 to 1965, and gold coins 1853 $10, 1900 $5, 1904 $20 and 1912 $10.--E.C.

A: The 1853 large cent is $3 and up; the 1865 3-cent is also $3 and up; the silver dollars are $10 each and up; the silver quarters are $1 each and up; the silver dimes are 40 cents each; the silver halves are $2 each, except for the 1965, which is 75 cents; the 1853 $10 is $175; 1900 $5 is $225; 1904 $20 is $475 and 1912 $10 is $375.

Q: Enclosed are copies of one Russian and two Mexican bills. Do the originals have any value?--I.M.

A: Your bills have little or no collector value. There just isn't a market for such material.

Q: In 1976 I purchased several national Bicentennial medals, among them a 3-inch .900 fine gold for $4,000 and a 1 5/16-inch gold for $400. Do these have a numismatic value, and if so, what are they worth? I have written to the original dealer but have received no reply.--C.C.L.

A: One of these days, Bicentennial coins and medals will gain public favor. Right now, it's the Constitution that's in the public eye. Next year, it will probably be the Olympics again. Your medals at this time are probably just worth the bullion value. When gold goes up in value, so will your medals. When collectors get interested, you'll have a chance to gain two ways.

Collectors often buy coins and medals impulsively. But if you're just interested in the subject, it doesn't really matter. However, if profit is your main concern, then stick with investment-quality material. These are high-quality, low-mintage pieces with a good track record.

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