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What makes it rare?



Just a bit a ramble on a topic that bugs me.

I have always been intrigued by the entries in price guides where instead of a dollar value it just says "RARE". As a child when flipping through my copy of "A Guide Book of United States Coins" I would see that and think, maybe one of these will show up in change or maybe I will find one at the coin shop in the 25 cent each bin. Of course as I got older reality set in. Now I just hope to able to say I saw one in a museum or a colleague's collection.

As many of us do I spend time on Ebay and other sites looking for hidden gems or items to fill holes in my collection. It always bothers me when I see sellers throw around the word rare in the description. Recently on Ebay I did a search under the broad category of coins and paper money and found 86541 items with rare in the title. I then did the same search for anything with a Buy It Now price of $100 or less and this trimmed the list to only 39811 items. Really, I thought. There are almost 40,000 items in coins and paper money for less than $100 that somebody considers to be rare.

I know you can't and shouldn't tell sellers how to market there products but it seems to me they could use a different tactic. My guess is that the seller hopes the buyer will see that word and without doing there homework will pull the trigger and make the purchase. Personally I avoid the word when I sell items.

I did scroll thru the first couple of pages of the 40,000 item list before there was an item of any interest to click on. A 1915 Italy 2 Lire coin. There were only 7,948,000 minted. The seller claims it is in VF condition. In said condition it carries a value of $22.50. Maybe there is some unknown to me history of this coin that makes it rare......but I doubt it.

As I have grown older the focus of my personal collection has grown to include a lot of world coins. I was fortunate enough recently to purchase one of those elusive items marked rare in "The Standard Catalog of World Coins". It is a 1795C 6 Kreuzer from Austria. (2794688-001) I know it is probably not a highly sought after piece and to honest despite it being NGC Graded XF45 it is no where near one of the most attractive pieces I possess. In truth I believe it to be over graded. I still get a thrill knowing it is in my collection.


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