Allen Rowe: In coin collecting, quality makes all the difference
The value of coins depends on a number of factors; the most important is quality. A coin’s grade makes a huge difference in value, but part of that is the quality a coin exudes within a grade itself.
Grading has morphed into a 70-point scale that can break a coin down to a very specific price, but one thing that can’t be quantified is a coin’s “eye appeal.” Technical grade is evaluated on the strength of strike, number of contact marks, wear, severity of marks, toning or coloration, brilliance of luster and amount of dirt or contaminants on the surface.
With so many factors, there can be different things to key in on for a collector. Some collectors like full-strike coins and are willing to live with a few more marks rather than buy a weaker-struck coin. Some like a particular look of luster. A coin can have very clean surfaces but lack a brilliance that can only come from the luster of a freshly minted coin. Others seek out nicely toned coins. Yet others want coins with no large contact marks. Whichever a collector’s preference, knowing which way a coin’s surface is preferred will help in building a great collection.
Most dealers refer to eye appeal when talking about the appearance of a coin’s surface. Regardless of the technical factors in a coin’s grade, the eye appeal helps one build a set or collection that has a homogenous look. Knowing how to pick coins that match up well can help a set’s overall value.
A coin company that can help collectors with this part of their endeavor has risen in our current coin market. Certified Acceptance Corp. has come up with the idea of applying a sticker to coins that it feels has exceptional eye appeal. It’s not an entirely new concept, as dealers have been putting stickers such as PQ (premium quality) or the like to nice coins for some time, but this company focuses on this main factor of a coin’s grade. A coin can have an advanced value with such an acceptance sticker in today’s market.
Of course, eye appeal is still a subjective area and can be as mysterious as a woman. What makes a coin beautiful to one person might not make it beautiful to the next. With diverse tastes in the surface appearance of coins, it is important that you define what you like and stick to your game plan. Looking at a larger selection of the same coin is great way to pick the one that speaks to you, and being patient to match your other coins to the same type of surfaces you have found you like is a great strategy in building a collection you will always love.
Allen Rowe is the owner of Northern Nevada Coin in Carson City.