Collectors who have complained for quite a while that United States mint and proof sets were overpriced can stop complaining. At least those who were fortunate enough to order some of the Statue of Liberty options can make a hefty profit if so inclined.
The reason is that these sets are proving popular at coin shows and through over-the-counter sales. Also, while final figures aren’t in, certain of the uncirculated orders appear to be relatively low, making them more valuable than the more popular (and more plentiful) proof counterparts.
At a recent show, for example, three-piece uncirculated sets consisting of a half dollar, dollar and $5 gold piece, were selling for $490 (the buy price was $465). These same sets were available from the mint only a few months ago at a pre-issue price of $165 and a regular price of $193. The three-piece proof sets were priced slightly lower at the coin show. They were selling for $475 and fetching $450. The issue price for the proofs, however, was slightly more than for the uncirculated sets. Proof sets originally listed at $175 pre-issue price and $206.50 regular.
Another interesting figure is the price for the six-piece set consisting of one coin of each denomination in proof and uncirculated, packaged in a cherry-wood presentation case. This set, believed to have not proven popular with original buyers and therefore being in short supply, had a pre-issue price of $375 and a regular price of $439.50. At the recent show, dealers were paying $900 for these sets and offering them for $1,000.
There’s no way of predicting the ultimate direction of these Statue of Liberty commemoratives. But as for now, those who placed their orders early should be smiling.
Question: I’d like to know the value of a set of Mexico’s 1970 World Soccer Games coins. The four gold coins are in almost-perfect condition. The only flaw is that I kept them all together, and they turned a slight shade in color. I now keep them in separate cases.--B.T.
Answer: Coin storage is very important. Some holders are better than others. Any collector with doubts should check with a professional numismatist. Most dealers sell coins properly packaged. They hope eventually to get them back for resale in the same condition they sold them. Improperly stored coins can lose considerable value. Your tarnished Mexican commemoratives are worth about $1,300.
Q: Some years ago I received a perfect U.S. Bicentennial silver proof set in a commemorative case. Could you tell me how much these proof sets are worth today?--L.E.
A: More than 3 million of the three-piece Bicentennial proof sets were issued. This popular set is worth about $12 in today’s market if you are a seller. Buyers pay about $14.50 at coin shops.
Q: I have two French gold coins in excellent condition. They are 20 francs each, dated 1913 and 1914. I also have two French coins from 1916, 5 c and 10 c, a 1947 50 francs, Alerie; a 1927 bon pour 1 franc; three 5 centimes dated 1854 and 1855, and a 10 centimes, 1862. What are they worth now and what could they be worth in about 50 years?--H.F.L.
A: It’s impossible to predict coin prices from day to day, much less far into the future. Your 20-franc gold pieces are worth about $75 each today. Your 20th-Century coins have little or no collector value; the 19th-Century coins are worth about $5 each.
Q: I have been collecting coins for about six years and have heard little about the 1943 copper cent mint error. I was surprised to find one of these in a bag of unsearched wheat cents. I’ve taken it to several coin shops, and it has been tested with a magnet. I have heard different stories about its value. Could you tell me more about this coin?--M.C.
A: Stories about the alleged 1943 copper-cent error appear from time to time. I don’t believe any have ever been substantiated and doubt that any such error exists. If you want to make sure yours is genuine, have it authenticated by the American Numismatic Assn. in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Q: I am the activity director of Fountain Gardens Hospital. I have a patient who is 107 years young. She has a coin that is copper, a $10 piece minted in 1803. Can you tell me something about it and its value?--M.N.
A: Copper large cents were minted in 1803. So were $10 gold pieces. I’m not sure which coin your patient owns. If the coin is copper and indeed a large cent, it’s worth about $9 and up, depending upon condition. If it’s a gold eagle, it would be worth several thousand dollars. The large cent has 1 over three zeroes. The $10 piece does not have the denomination marked.
Q: I have noticed that you have been asked twice about discontinued or Japanese currency. I have been purchasing British, Argentine, Japanese-occupation currency and discontinued currency of other countries. I would consider buying from private parties. Also, could you give me your opinion as to the value of these coins: 1891 Argentina dos centavos; 1849 3 pfennig; 20 cent kwang (Tung Province); 1923 2 francs, France, and a 1918 5 centimes French coin. Also, I have a roll of 1971 20 Balboa coinage of Panama. Any value?--L.M.
A: Your 20 Balboas are worth about $50 each, the other foreign coins are about $2 each. As for the occupation currency, it is not mainline numismatic material, although it is certainly collectible. For obvious reasons, I cannot bring buyers or sellers together. Your best bet would be to work through coin clubs or to attend coin shows. Also, let some dealers know what kind of material you are interested in. Many dealers try to fulfill want lists.
Q: I have found an old German coin in a trunk of my grandmother’s. I think it may be gold. On the front is a bearded man’s head with the words Freidrich Grosherzon von Baden. There is a small G under the head. On the reverse is a falcon with the words Deutsches Reich 1901 10 mark. Does this have any value?--R.S.
A: Your coin is worth about $75. Coin News
Hard Times tokens, produced in the 1830s and 1840s, offer a broad view of public opinion during that period. The Whig Victory of 1834 token (pictured) is an example and will be auctioned April 12 at the Metropolitan New York Numismatic Convention at the Vista Hotel. It is part of the Julian Leidman Collection featured in the sale, along with medals, so-called dollars and other Americana items. For the Leidman catalogue, send $10 to Auctions by Bowers and Merena, Box 1224, Wolfeboro, N.H. 03894.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday--The first show in some time to take place in Santa Monica will be this weekend at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Douglas Epstein of the Bay Cities Coin Club says he will be in attendance to promote the hobby, the American Numismatic Assn. and the club, which meets at 8 p.m. on the third Monday of the month at Mercury Savings & Loan, 2920 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles.