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Mounting May Change Value of Issues

October 20, 1988|DON ALPERT

Question: As a regular reader, I have noticed few queries regarding European coins, so I trust my question will be of sufficient general interest to warrant a reply. I have been left a heavy 18-karat gold coin bracelet by the wife of an antique-dealer friend. The coins are in excellent condition (to an amateur's eye) and are mounted. They consist of the following: George V 1915 sovereign, Edward VII 1908 sovereign, South African 1900 sovereign, Victoria 1894 half sovereign and 1887, 1852 and 1872 sovereigns, Pius IX 1866 20 lire, George IV 1836, 1832 and 1824 half sovereigns; and George IV 1832 sovereign. I hope I may be lucky enough to have your honest opinion as to the worth of these coins, which I would like to sell. There's also a Mozambique small gold nugget.--B.L.K.

Answer: Once coins are used as jewelry, they invariably lose their numismatic value. Seldom are rare coins used for such a decorative purpose. They're just too valuable. The coins you've described, essentially, are bullion pieces. True, most of them qualify as antiques, which is probably why they were used in the bracelet in the first place.

This is not to say that your bracelet does not have considerable value. A coin dealer would price your coins like this: The George V, Edward VII and South African pieces are worth $100 each; the Victoria half sovereign is $50; the Victoria 1887 sovereign is $110; the Victoria 1872 sovereign is $115; the Pius IX is $150; the George IV half sovereigns are $75-$80 each, while the George IV sovereign is $175. The Mozambique gold nugget is probably worth its weight alone, as is the bracelet itself.

It's possible that this is one of those rare instances where your bracelet might be worth more to an antique dealer than a coin dealer. You'll have to shop around for the best offer. But at least now you have some guidelines to follow.

Q: I have a 10-ruble Russian gold coin, dated 1898, Czar Nicholas II. Over the phone I was given prices of $70 and $105. Can I determine the actual value of the coin?--A.G.

A: Sight unseen, I'd say your coins is worth about $90. If someone offered you $105, grab it. The reason for the discrepancy is that coins can be worth more to one dealer than another, depending upon their specialty and the needs of their customers. That's why it's always a good idea to get more than one opinion before you decide to sell.

Q: I have come into possession of some old coins. Can you tell me if they have any value? They include: 1 cent, has bird on it, 1851-1858; large 1 cent, 1818, 1848, 1855 and 1846; 2 cent, 1871, 1868 and 1846; quarter dollar, 1861; 1873 Liberty with Roman numeral III; Columbian Exposition 50 cents, 1893; Monroe Doctrine 50 cents, 1923; and small California gold, 1853-1857.--J.S.B.

A: Your Suriname bill is worth about $3 to $5.

Q: Would like the approximate worth of the following coins and tokens: Georgius V 1916 half crown; Leopold Premier Rodes Belges 2 francs, 1833; Vietnam Cong Hoa 10 dong, 1964; Los Angeles Railway token good for one fare (bell shape cut out in middle); Chicago Transit Authority surface system token; K E P Company good for one full fare; Los Angeles Transit Lines (good for one fare); also uncirculated 1776-1976 quarters, halves and dollars.--M.N.

Coin News

Norman Rockwell eventually may prove to be America's most popular artist. Copies of his magazine covers for the Saturday Evening Post are coveted by collectors, as are plates and all sorts of memorabilia. A limited edition of 1,000 silver proof sets is also now available, reproducing Post covers, including "The Doctor and Doll," "No Swimming" and "Triple Self-Portrait" (pictured). There are 12 pieces in the set, each medallion containing 5 troy ounces of .999 fine silver. It is authorized by the American Numismatic Assn. and comes with a certificate of authenticity. The set of 12 with matching serial numbers is $2,340 from Morgan Whitney Trading Group, 909 Ocean Front Walk, Suite 320, Venice, Calif. 90291; telephone (800) 443-9294.

Coin Calendar

Saturday and Sunday--The popular Buena Park Pavilion Coin and Stamp Expo is once again scheduled at Retail Clerks Union Auditorium, 8530 Stanton Ave., Buena Park. Hours for the show, which features stamps, coins, baseball cards, jewelry, books and other coin collectibles, are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Century Coins in downtown Los Angeles is a sponsor of the show. For information: (213) 626-4027.

Alpert cannot answer mail personally but will respond to numismatic questions of general interest in this column. Do not telephone. Write to Your Coins, You section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.

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