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Investors, Hobbyists Bullish on Bullion

December 03, 1987|DON ALPERT

Ever since the United States came out with the silver and gold Eagles last year, bullion coins have dominated coin news. While bullion pieces are not strictly numismatic material, they have become collectible, because many are now issued in limited editions. They seem to appeal to investors and hobbyists alike.

A case in point is the Australian proof and bullion gold Nugget. Sales of the Nugget have passed the 300,000-ounce mark in the first six months of release, with more than 745,000 individual coins sold in various weights. Coincidentally, the Perth Mint has announced that there will be a design change in the 1988 coin, which should enhance the scarcity of the 1986 and new 1987 proof Nugget sets.

The change will incorporate a reference to the 9999 (99.99%) purity of the coins and create a separate type set. The recently released 1987 proof Nugget (pictured) will be limited to 15,000 coins in each denomination, containing 1 ounce, half an ounce, a quarter ounce and one-tenth ounce of gold. Coins will be packaged in 12,000 full sets containing all four coins, 3,000 sets containing the quarter-ounce and one-tenth-ounce coins, 3,000 individual 1-ounce coins and 3,000 individual half-ounce coins.

For Nugget information, contact A-Mark Precious Metals, (213) 550-8861.

Also indicative of the interest in bullion coins is the news that only a month after the issue of the Britannia, Britain's new gold bullion coin, the 10,000 authorized mintage of four-coin proof sets has sold out. Some two-coin sets and individual coins are still available.

The Britannia is legal tender in the United Kingdom and is struck in 22-karat gold. Denominations contain 1 ounce, half an ounce, a quarter ounce and one-tenth ounce of gold. Two-coin sets of quarter-ounce and one-tenth-ounce coins (12,500 authorized) are $325; 1-ounce coins (2,500 authorized) are $875; and half-ounce coins (2,500) are $450.

For information, contact the British Royal Mint, c/o Barclays Bank, P.O. Box 2570, New York, N.Y. 10164-1060; telephone (800) 221-1215.

Question: The bills that are copied on the enclosed pages were found among family papers. What information is available about them? What is their value?-R.L.F.

Answer: Your bills are called Colonial currency. They were issued by the 13 original colonies, and in nice condition, they sell for $10 to $30 and up, depending on rarity and signature. If your bills have the signatures of any of the signers of the Bill of Rights or the Constitution, they have considerable value. Check the signatures for historical interest, and you'll have a general idea about the worth of your bills. Colonial currency is relatively common; it is the background that adds to the value.

Q: I have many coins, mostly foreign. At 82 years of age, I was around when most were issued. Do they have value? My American coins include: an 1887 $1; several half dollars; seven dimes in the '30s and one dated 1914; a Carver/Washington half dollar; a 1906 Indian head penny and nickels dated 1905, 1906, 1907, 1911 and 1912.--G.J.P.

A: Your foreign coins would have to be assessed individually, although most likely they will only be worth their silver content. Your silver dollar is $8 and up; the halves are $2 each if silver; the '30s dimes are 40 cents each, the 1914 dime is 50 cents and up; the commemorative half dollar is $5; the Indian head cent is 25 cents, and the nickels are 25 cents each.

Q: I found a $5 bill in a greeting card, dated 1943. The bill is new and crisp but folded. Does the bill have any value?--J.D.N.

A: Sorry, but your bill is worth just face value.

Q: I would like to know the prices I would receive for the following: silver dollars dated 1879, 1883, 1889, 1900, 1921, 1922 and 1924; half dollars 1902, 1913 and 1964; quarter, 1913; copper penny 1801; 5 cent 1908; 3-cent 1871, Indian-head penny 1898, and half dime, 1872.--C.N.

A: Your dollars are worth $8 and up; the half dollars are $2 each and up; the quarter is $1; the 1801 cent is $10; the nickel is 15 cents; the 3-cent piece is $3; the Indian-head cent is $1; and the half dime is $4 and up, all depending upon condition.

Q: I have in my safety deposit box a $10 gold note. The note is dated Nov. 30, 1870 (handwritten) and signed by my grandfather, N. K. Masten, on the First National Gold Bank of San Francisco. The note is still in fair condition and easily read. In this a collector's item?--J.V.M.

A: Your note probably has some collector value, although it would have to be seen to be properly evaluated. Take it to a local dealer or a coin show for an appraisal. But no matter what it might be worth to collectors, I would suspect it would be priceless to you, if only for sentimental reasons.

Q: I have what appears to be a bronze John F. Kennedy inaugural coin dated 1961 with a D mint mark. Could you please tell me more about this piece and possibly its value?--M.R. A: What you have is probably a medal, not a coin. It has little or no value at this time.

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