Several coins good for new collectors
December 15, 2013
In the last column I suggested buying a coin, or multiple coins, as a gift this year. Often I get the question, "what should I buy?" There is a host of options.
Coins being made by the U.S. Mint today are an obvious choice. One can purchase a set of proof coins, a silver eagle or one of the many commemoratives being made. These coins add a level of relevance, as they are made with this year's date on them. This also can help one remember the year the gift was given.
Rather than giving cash, you can give someone a piece of gold or silver. If the person does not have interest in coins, he or she can cash it in and get most of the value out of the gift. They also have the chance of the bullion being worth more in the future. Bullion is a way of sharing one's hobby without the commitment to a collector-type coin.
For someone who wishes to give a more purist coin gift, there are several types I have found to be interesting, yet affordable. Large cents are pennies made between 1793 and 1857 that were larger than a quarter. Many are rare and expensive, but one can find decent-looking coins for less than $20 as well. Next would be either a two-cent or a three-cent piece. These coins were made in the late 1800s with the goal of adding more change into circulation. Both denominations correlated with the price of stamps. For those who remember writing letters before email, stamps were part of everyday purchases. Both of these type coins are readily available for less than $20 and make a great little research project for kids.
For those who are a little more advanced or want to spend a little more, there is also the infamous 20-cent coin. These coins were the Susan B. Anthony coins of the 1800s. Only made for four years, out of which only two years were struck for circulation, these coins are tougher to find. Surprisingly, even after 130-plus years, a lower-grade example can still be had for about $100.
Carson City coins not only make great gifts, they promote our history. Many do not even realize that the Carson City mint struck more than silver dollars. Today one can find dimes, quarters, half-dollars, gold coins and even a 20-cent piece struck right here in Carson City. A little less affordable for the most part, Carson City coins are always prized by those who collect.
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If you are looking for a unique gift this year, one that might inspire a search into history, think of coins. They will have a lasting value and a potential to become worth even more than what was spent on the gift. You can give them as a novelty, cash substitute, seed planting into the hobby of numismatics or, as the old saying goes, "you can just give 'em your two cents worth."
Allen Rowe owns Northern Nevada Coin in Carson City.
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