Author Topic: Jar of Coins  (Read 4777 times)

Offline pokeshell

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Jar of Coins
« on: October 08, 2012, 08:33:38 PM »
My stepdad traveled the word as a computer salesman in the 1980's. I have coins literally from all over the world, nothing newer than 1988, most is pre 1985. I know some are of value, like 5DM coins. But, is there anyway to easily tell if the coins are of any junk silver value? Or any other metal I should look for? I have about 2 liters worth, possibly a gallon. They are not sorted in anyway. Many of the coins are from countries that do not have current circulation. Lots of Euro coins, south American, even coins from before the crash in England. 

I also have lots of bills. A few million from hyper inflation countries.

Countries I Know I have:

Germany (many 5DM coins)
Switzerland
France
Italy
Belgium
England
Morocco
Tunisia
Turkey
Melasia
Indonesia
Figi
Tahiti
Jamaica
Canada
Mexico

Some of the coins are VERY small 1/2 dime size, and I have no idea where they are from I haven't looked in Jar(s) in year.

My dad would be gone for 2-3 months at a time, and just threw his change in his suitcase everyday. I would use them for projects as a kid. He might go to 10 countries in a trip, so the coins are very mixed.

Please advise,

PokeShell

Offline NassPrep

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Re: Jar of Coins
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2012, 10:00:52 PM »
You can try and look up the coins yourself, or post photos in the right places.

You can weed out steel ones by placing a heavy magnet over them. The steel will be picked up.

You can hear silver ones if you learn what *ding* noise they make.

Places for help:

Coinflation.com
Realcent.org
http://www.reddit.com/r/coins/

You should definitely take some photos. Some of them are likely to be silver, due to the age.

What you SHOULDNT do is take them to a pawn shop or travelling coin buying business. Regular coin shops can tell you what you have, possibly for free.

Offline pokeshell

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Re: Jar of Coins
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2012, 02:57:54 AM »
You can try and look up the coins yourself, or post photos in the right places.

You can weed out steel ones by placing a heavy magnet over them. The steel will be picked up.

You can hear silver ones if you learn what *ding* noise they make.


It is thousands of coins. I will take a few handfulls and see what the magnet pulls out. Is there a better test than the *ding*? Some coins are very small 1/3 inch and will not make a sound.

A few years back, I took some (50?) yellowish ones out, I think from Egypt, and hid them in the woods behind the house. Then I took my 5 year old on a pirate hunt.

There has got to be an easier way.

Offline TexDaddy

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Offline pokeshell

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Re: Jar of Coins
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2012, 02:05:48 AM »
I am not going through the coins by hand :o . I need a quick way to look for silver or other valuable metal that a coin may be made from. My bench mark is that it must be at least as valuable as silver. It is way harder than looking through a huge jar of pennies looking for just copper ones. I just do not have the time to look up thousands of coins from all over the world.

Is there something like this that would sort for silver? Silver & Copper Coin Sorter, Selector, Comparitor, Coin Selector.

The problem here is that I would need to find something like a 5DM coin, and it will find the others. I need it to find all coins with similar metal properties.

Possibly a chemical test? Pick out silver (not yellow) coins and spray all of them?

PokeShell

Offline Dainty

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Re: Jar of Coins
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2012, 03:14:08 AM »
Yeeeeeps!  :o

I was formerly an avid coin collector, primarily of American coins, as was my dad who more or less brought me up in it. Hand sorting coins by the hundreds? Thousands? But of course! That's why you drive to the bank, exchange a few hundreds of dollars for rolls of coins, sort them out in the parking lot and take back the ones you've discarded for a new lot of coins to bring home so you can do it all over again. The mere mention of coin sorting machines and chemical solutions make me cringe, though I admit the latter is sometimes warranted on the unfortunately designed buffalo nickels. But I digress.

From the little I know of world coins, I'd say it's a pretty good guess the collector's value of several of your coins considerably exceeds their precious metal value. I had a relative once who traveled the world and had a few handfuls of odd coins she had ended up with. I sorted through them and found two that were worth ~ $150 and $250 respectively, primarily using some generic world coin book and a little google. We then went to a local coin shop where I had a rapport with the owners and they assessed the coins and confirmed my findings. There were several more of decent worth, but those were the big find. And that was only among say 30 coins or so.

Thousands? That old? Unhandled all these years? You're sitting on a jackpot. Just don't take dynamite to it! Please!

A few suggestions come to mind:

  • Ebay. If you're not up to sorting, auction the lot off to someone who is. Last I checked plenty of collectors would jump at the opportunity. "Unsorted" is the key word, here, and be sure to share the info you've mentioned here in the description. They're paying for possibility, and would likely give you a higher price than you'd get from the precious metals alone.
  • Task for your son. Sorting coins by hand might not be worth your time, but it could be worth his. My dad began coin collecting around age 10, I was 9 when I started, and one of my most memorable moments was discovering a 1945 penny in uncirculated condition (appears brand new) from a roll I got from the bank after days of sorting rolls for hours on end. I still have it framed. Of course if you get attached to them then you cross over to being a collector and won't want to sell your most valuable finds, thus voiding your current objective.  :P
  • Go to a small coin shop where they're actually passionate about coins and start talking with them about what you've got and what the options are. The shop I used to frequent had a bulletin board sort of area with classifieds where people could also place stuff for sale, and the people running the place would also be likely to point you in a good direction.

IMO, your son would be a very lucky kid to get the chance to work through those. Coin collecting isn't for everyone, but the concept of working long, tedious hours to uncover something of value has certain joys that I suspect nearly every child can be drawn to with a little guidance, and while it isn't exactly shoveling manure I dare say it has character building qualities, particularly if they get a share in the spoils. :)

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Jar of Coins
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2012, 06:07:37 AM »
I think Dainty is on the mark here.

Most of the coins will be pretty worthless, but with that many, the odds of a few jems hiding in the crowd is pretty good.

Using any chemicals could destroy any potential value. Coin collectors still exist. Numismatic value is not to be dismissed, especially when you didn't pay for it. One good find could make it all worth while.

Offline pokeshell

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Re: Jar of Coins
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2012, 12:54:04 PM »
I just took a peek at a small cup (they are in very fragile handmade glasses and drinking pictures from Tusiesa we got in 1982). I saw German Marks, Pents, Shillings, and some date back to the 1950's. Out of about 30 coins, about half that had dates were from 1955-1969. The British is big, heavy and in good shape. 1 1963 worn US quarter. only 2 coins were from the 1980's. I will have to rethink this. I had just heard the podcast about junk silver, and got excited. I never thought about the fact that coins that have not been touched in almost 20 years would have a content of so many old coins.

I was thinking about the fact that they were old in that are all pre-euro going in. While a good chunk is from Europe, some have letters I do not even know how to make on the keyboard. I would guess they are from some Islam based countries.

Some have no mark as to where from or have a date. I am going to box them up, and take to a dealer for an insurance appraisal.

Barbados has beautiful coins.

Thanks you guys. All the talk of junk silver had my head buzzing.

Offline Dainty

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Re: Jar of Coins
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2012, 04:57:05 PM »
Nothing wrong with being excited over junk silver, just want to make sure you don't mistake treasure for junk!  ;)

What a fascinating find you have there. I'd suspect researching the coins would be a great way to learn a good chunk of world history.

I'll sleep well tonight knowing the coins are safe from chemical burns and coin eating machines. :P

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Jar of Coins
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2012, 08:51:32 PM »
See if there is a local coin club in your area. If so attend a couple of meetings to get a feel for the folks. Then at a later date see if you can bring the coins in and have the members each grab a few hand fulls and go through them for you.

Offline Robinelli

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Re: Jar of Coins
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2012, 07:36:36 AM »
You just reminded me I have a handful of Mexican and European money (cash and coins) from the 90's. Hmmm. Going to look for it now. :)

Offline pokeshell

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Re: Jar of Coins
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2012, 09:10:59 PM »
So, I have pulled out a few hand fulls of change. Each hand full has about $150 worth of coinage in it. I am looking at the low end of the recent sale price for the same year\coin\condition. I  seriously do not know how to even attack this. I can not find any ryme or reason as to why some coin are valuable and some are not. I have found a couple that have high slver content, but the valuable ones seem to be the ones from the 1950's. More so than the 1920 ??? . So thanks for talking me out of just looking for junk silver. Some just seem to be valuable because they look cool?

Anyway, I purchased a 1989 Candian coin today for $32 at the pawn shop. It is a 5 doller, 1 OZ .9999. They had bags with 5-10 of them for spot price plus markup (about $38 each coin in bulk), $380 for ten. It looks the same as the others, the same date, none are in fancy bags or cases. Just a 1 ounce coin.

What did I miss, or was it just mis-priced?

Offline Dainty

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Re: Jar of Coins
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2012, 10:40:37 PM »
Nice! ;D

My knowledge is more in U.S. coins than world coins, but as a general rule of thumb the more rare a coin is, the higher its value. Novelty does play some part in it, too. So take the 1943 steel penny for example. Technically, copper is worth more than steel, but having a year where the pennies are a completely different color is so interesting that people readily take a shine to them. Not only does this alone raise the value, but it also takes them out of circulation, which tends to jack up the value even more because they become harder to find. Tack on the sentimental/historical value of having a coin made during the war, and that bumps it up a little more. They aren't worth a huge bundle, but certainly more than a few cents.

Now, to bring the example even further, lets say you had a 1943 copper penny. On the outset, it doesn't look any different than other pennies of the time. Except that it'd be worth, oh, say $50,000 - $200,000 depending on condition. Why? Because it's an accident, and there are only 40 believed to be in existence (12 confirmed). Without that knowledge, however, because the coin looks so ordinary you might end up selling it for $50 and walk away thinking you got a good deal.

So I dunno all the factors involved in your coins specifically, but my guess is that both rarity and novelty are playing a role in their value. Of course you know condition affects it as well. The accidents are real fun ones, but it's not often you actually discover those in a handful of change. By researching the specific coins and countries they're from, you might be able to get an idea of the history surrounding the ones you have and thus learn what's driving their value.

No idea about that Canadian $5 piece.