We offer a large selection of US and foreign coins
and bank notes. If you are looking for something in particular, please feel
free to contact us. 760-489-6058. Fax: 760-745-4816 email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are associated with Mac
McKelvey , a qualified numismatist
who lives in the Escondido area.
Frequently Asked Questions: Please
Note - We offer the following information as a free source of help.
Although we have been in business for many years we do not believe we always
have the best answer. If you come up with better answers, please
share them with us. If you have a pertinent question which is not
answered below please contact us and we'll do our best to help you.
Q: How should I clean my old
coins? A: The potential for damaging
an old coin and thereby decreasing its value is great. We recommend
that you not clean an old coin until you have had a knowledgeable person
examine it. By no means should a coin be polished. Doing
so almost always destroys any significant collector value. There
are products available and accepted methods of cleaning old coins that
are relatively safe and effective, but the best advice is to hold off
until you get an expert's opinion on what to do.
Q: I have some old coins for
sale. How do I determine their value?
A: Most reputable coin dealers will examine your coins and determine
a value based on what they are willing to pay. There is usually
no charge for this service. Traditionally, if you want a written
appraisal there is a charge. The reasons are twofold: 1.
It requires more time and effort to do a written appraisal. 2.
Once a dealer signs a document that something has a certain value
he assumes a greater responsibility for defending his decision.
Q: I have a coin that I want
to wear as a piece of jewelry. What do I need to know?
A: If the coin has any significant collector value this will
be diminished by using it for jewelry. We recommend you check
to make sure you do not have a valuable rare coin before placing it
into a jewelry mounting. Even if the coin is mounted into a metal
bezel it will become worn unevenly and a collector will be able to tell
that the coin was in a piece of jewelry once it is closely examined.
It could be that you have a rare coin which should be substituted for
a more common coin. The rule about not cleaning a coin does not
apply here. If a coin is in a piece of jewelry and it is not cleaned,
dirt will inevitably rub off onto your clothing. Any non-abrasive
method of cleaning the coin is acceptable, although we still do not
think polishing is a good idea - even for a common coin.
Q: I have an old nickel that
looks fine as far as detail, but it is a very dark gray, almost black
color. Can it be restored to an original color?
A: At this time we know of no way to make the coin change back.
We are of the opinion that this color change is caused by a chemical
reaction when the coin has been buried underground. We have experimented
with common coins, using a variety of chemicals and methods and have
had no success. We are afraid that once a nickel turns dark it
will just have to stay that way. Don't buy such a coin at a reduced
price thinking you will be able to help it.
Q: Won't a collector pay more
for my coins than a dealer? A: Perhaps.
It is reasonable to assume that a collector, being more of an end user
than a dealer, would be willing to pay more for coins. Many times,
however, a collector is only looking for certain coins to add to his
collection and will offer significantly lower for the coins that don't
"fit." Established coin dealers have customers that
collect a variety of coins and are often higher bidders for entire collections
or accumulations. Also beware of a person who will pay a lot for
one or two of your coins but not want the rest. We know from experience
that many times the few really valuable coins are picked off at below
market prices in this way leaving the unsuspecting seller with nothing
of value left. If a collector only wants to buy a couple of your
coins, tell them to price them, check out what a dealer will pay, and
Q: I have some coins in plastic
holders and the holders feel oily. Some of the coins have a green
residue on them. A: For many years
coin holders containing a substance known as polyvinylchloride (PVC)
were used to house and "protect" coins. This substance
is potentially very damaging to coins. The first thing to do
is get the coins out of the holders. This is a case where the
coins do have to be cleaned. Take all of them or at least a representative
sample to a coin dealer and with their help you can determine what is
best to do. Silver and gold coins seem to come through this ordeal
pretty well. Nickels do okay. Copper coins always seem to
suffer permanent harm. What ever you do, don't leave the situation
alone. Things will only get worse.
Q: How can I store my coins safely
so they won't be damaged? A: The
ideal way to store coins is to put them into a vacuum. As this
is not practical for most people, there are a few other proven methods
to keep most coins safe from harm. Plastic holders containing
mylar are quite satisfactory. There is a type of inexpensive holder
made of cardboard and mylar which dealers call a "2 by 2"
that has proven successful over many years. Plain paper envelopes
are also fine. Because most paper contains sulfur which causes
coins to tone, many collectors use this method of storage. Toned
coins are often considered more desirable to collectors than bright
shiny ones. Note: gold and copper coins don't seem to like paper
as well as nickel and silver coins. The things to avoid when storing
coins are moisture and friction (abrasion).
Q: I have some old coins still
in a leather coin purse and think this is neat. Should I keep
them stored this way? A: No.
The chemicals used in processing the leather apparently can have a negative
effect on coin surfaces. In fact we have bought gold coins which
were housed this way and they had turned very dark. Although the
color was restorable, some value was lost. Gold is one metal that
generally doesn't seem to be bothered by anything other than fire or
abrasion, but leather can actually hurt it.
Q: There is an ad in my newspaper
that offers old coins from the US Mint for sale on a limited basis.
Is this a good deal? A: Sometimes,
but usually not. Most often you will find that although the seller
has a name that leads you to believe they are a government agency you
will discover in the fine print that they are not actually connected
with the government. These companies often purchase their supply
of merchandise from retail dealers and have some sort of attractive
display holder made up for the coins. They then must pay for newspaper
advertising, which is quite expensive. We have seen many of these
ads and have never found one that offered the merchandise at the price
a typical retail dealer would sell it for. The economics of the
process just don't allow them to do that.
Q: I have a very valuable copper
coin that has a small black spot on it. Should I remove it?
Yes, in our opinion. Just keep in mind that even when the
spot is removed there will often be a small pit where it was.
We are not sure what causes the spots to appear, but are of the opinion
that during the striking (minting) process coins can become contaminated
with microscopic foreign matter which over a period of time will react
with the environment and actually eat into the surface of the coin.
The sooner the black spot is removed the less damage will be done.
We don't have a perfect way of removing these spots and don't be surprised
if your local dealer doesn't offer you much help. Nickel, gold,
and silver coins that develop black spots should also be cleaned, but
they are not as likely to receive permanent damage.
Q: I have a set of coins that
I took to my local dealer to sell, but he offered me an amount way below
the catalog value. Was he trying to cheat me?
A: Maybe, but probably not. Many sets of coins, especially
those that were assembled from pocket change years ago, contain coins
that have a book value that is several times their wholesale - and even
their retail - value. We don't know why this is but the same seems
to hold true of many other collectibles. Perhaps the publishers
of the price guides want to make collectors feel good about what they
have found and over the years have arbitrarily raised the book value.
As coin dealers almost always have merchandise for sale that is comparable
to what you have in your collection you can readily determine if their
actual asking price is unreasonable compared to what you are being offered
for the same thing. You must keep in mind, however, that some
coins do not "move" well. What the dealer buys from
you could sit on the shelf for a year or more before someone wants it.
The longer the dealer's money is tied up, the greater percentage profit
he needs to make when he sells the item. We have been in business
since 1959 and sometimes I think there are coins still here from our
first year in business! Typically, if the merchandise is something
that has a ready market the dealer will be happy with a smaller percentage
Q: I want to buy some rare coins
for investment, but know nothing about them. Can you recommend
anything? A: First, establish a
rapport with a dealer - one you feel comfortable with. Make sure
the prices asked for coins are within reason - no more than 10% over
the "ask" price in the Coin Dealers' Newsletter (commonly
referred to as the Gray Sheet). Buy only coins that have been
graded and packaged by an independent company. The highest regarded
company which offers this service is PCGS (Professional Coin Grading
Service). Find out what is the dealer's buy back policy.
If the coins increase in value you want to feel that you have someone
who will buy them back from you. By the way, don't expect the
dealer to be willing to work on a 10% markup. Although he may
be willing to sell the coins at 10% over ask - or even less, his buy
back price will probably be less than Gray Sheet bid. Typically
a buy/sell difference of about 20% for common PCGS coins is considered
Q: I'm not interested in owning
valuable coins, but I enjoy working on collections. Can a coin
dealer help me? A: Most shops like
ours welcome true collectors for a variety of reasons. We too
are collectors, so we'll likely hit it off right away with you.
You won't put pressure on us by asking what your collection will be
worth in the future. You are putting together a collection for
your own enjoyment - not to make a profit. Some of the coins you
need will most likely be some of the "slow movers" that have
been around the store for too long and that a dealer will more than
happy to sell. Coin shops often are staffed by only one or two
people. By having a friend at the store a dealer has someone he
can rely on to maybe run next door to pick up lunch, etc., plus there
is added security in having a friendly customer on the premises.
Unless you pester the shop keeper with endless questions and banter,
you most likely will be welcome to come in as often as you want and
stay until closing time. Of course all personalities are different,
so a rapport between you and one dealer might be different between you
and another dealer. Pick somewhere that you are comfortable -
and by all means don't become involved in the dealer's negotiations
with other customers.
Q: I want some gold and silver
coins both as a hedge against inflation and also to have in case of
an economic emergency. Can you give me some guidelines?
A: Click the hyperlink to our Precious Metals
Q: How can I safely store my
currency? A: The most common problem
we see with currency is caused by folding. If you can keep your
bills flat, dry, and safe from fire they will probably be just fine.
We have looked at bills that have been kept between pages of a book
for many years and they do not seem to have suffered at all.
Just be careful of two things: Keep the book in a dry place, and
don't give the book away or sell it without removing the currency.
We know used book dealers who often pick up extra spending money by
flipping through the pages of all their new purchases. Another
good way to store currency is in Billgard brand holders. These
are clear plastic, will not damage your bills, and cost less than fifty
Q: I have some old Confederate
Currency. Is it real, and is it valuable?
A: Genuine Confederate Currency is hand-signed and hand serial numbered.
The ink used was always a brown tone. The paper was more or less
like common writing paper in quality. The stiff brown crinkled
paper we often see is always a copy. Oddly enough genuine Confederate
Currency has now increased in value to the point where it is sometimes
worth more than face value. It seems that collectors who purchase
Confederate bills just don't ever want to sell them. A common
$20 note that used to fetch three or four dollars is now selling for
ten dollars or more. We recently sold a scarcer $50 note in crisp
condition for sixty five dollars.
Q: I have some Silver Certificates.
Can I turn these in for silver metal?
A: No. Although Silver Certificates are still legal tender for
face value not since 1966 have they been convertible into silver metal.
They do have a collector value, but generally this is not much more
than face value for common issues (1934 and 1957 for example).
Some of the other series have more value. As with coins, it is
wise to take currency to a dealer to see if you have something rare.
Most dealers also carry reference books to verify the scarcity and value
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Copyright © 1998 Escondido Coin & Loan, Inc.
All rights reserved.
January 22, 2006