Saturday 14 April 2012

coin collecting

A lot has been said about gold... "we buy any gold dot com" and the like!

That's all very well, but what if you can't afford to splash out on some gold sovereigns, jewellery etc, and don't really want to worry about the cost of insuring all that wealth...

Well, there's value in silver and old copper coins but you need to know what to look for.

The current "big thing" are hammered silver coins. No not just an old sixpence that has been whacked with Stanley Tool's finest! Hammering was the ancient process of minting coins where a blank was put between two dies, one with the front of the coin, usually a portrait of the current emperor or monarch, and the reverse with a design, often a shield or coat of arms or cross with a pellet design and the like.

Then it was whacked with a hammer! (you can have a go at the Jorvik Viking Museum in York). The hammering process was was superseded by machinery (milled coinage) in about 1663. Early milled coinage (George 3 and before) is good to look for as well.

Ebay is a good place to start, but you have to be lucky or be prepared to actively go for the bid, as the demand is high. But sometimes you can be lucky especially if a coin has been listed wrongly.

Spinks catalogues give an idea of what to look for and current values of all coins since Celtic times. Or coin dealers of course, but they will by and large be selling coins for the market value, though again you can be lucky if you know what you are looking for.

The latest Spinks catalogues have pictures in colour which makes like a lot earlier, the black and white ones really didn't do the coins justice and made it hard to work out the detail sometimes.

There is a whole language associated with coin collecting but the Spinks catalogue has good explanations, and there are plenty of in depth books such as on Roman coins available.

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