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Good coins- Details
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7 posts in this topic

Just a general question. I’ve yet to purchase a gold coin for my collection. Mostly looking at Indian head $2.50 and the 1849 $1. 

The thing that sucks is the price point of most of these coins. I can only be a player if the coin is a details coin. 

So my question for all of you experienced collectors, do the golds hold value over time even if they’re details ? 

I’ve read a few posts from you guys saying not to touch details coins but wasn’t sure if that held true to the gold coins as well. 

Thanks for the guidance. 

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If you are just looking to buy at or below melt value buying a details coin is one way to know that it is a authentic coin and less chance of paying big money for a fake coin. 

Edited by J P Mashoke
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Here's my suggestion: while the grading designation does matter, you should first always look up the melt value of the gold coin. The greater it differs from the market price, the more the value will be driven by numismatic interest relative to bullion prices. $1 coins are often great examples of this. This matters because if most of the value of the coin is in the metal, a details grade probably isn't going to change things much except that you will have gotten it authenticated. But if most of the value is numismatic, a details grade will make a significant difference because those that straight grade are more highly prized. "Holding value over time" is somewhat tangential to the reality because with coins that are mostly bullion value, the metal price will have effects you cannot foresee.

So the distilled answer is to do your homework and see how much premium there even is to miss out on, given a details graded coin. Of course, if a straight graded coin only commands a minor premium over melt as well, the reasonable question for you to ask is why not spring for the extra amount and get a straight graded coin? Even if metal prices drop a huge deuce, at least you will probably like the coin a little better.

Edited by JKK
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Why do you want a gold coin?   Is it because you want a coin that will act as a store of wealth?   Because you find those two coin designs beautiful to view?   Just want to be part of the club?    I ask these questions because the answer will answer your question.

If you are just considering this as a store of wealth then a details coin as close to spot as possible is one way to go.   Just a couple of considerations, 2 1/2 Indians are some of the most counterfeited US coins, buying raw can be a real minefield.    As the price of gold has spiked over the past few years it will be very tough to buy gold coins, unless very damaged, anywhere near spot, you will be paying some premium even for details coins.   The risk here is that you may have to discount the price when you want/need to sell, which will negate the whole purpose of a store of wealth.    You would do better to put that money to work in a safe investment that pays dividends and use those dividends to purchase a problem free gold coin in the future. 

If you are wanting one because you like to view the design then a details coin is not a very good option as you will be viewing a problem coin which is likely to not be pretty to look at in one way or another.   The same is true if you just want to be part of the club, many collectors may not say what they really think when shown a problem coin so as not to hurt your feelings, but they will be thinking it.   I would echo @Oldhoopster and say save until you can afford a nice problem free example, problem coins are always a problem when it comes time to sell.


Edited by Coinbuf
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I recently started collecting coins more seriously, and when it came to adding some gold coins I was interested in (I have mostly Eagles and some bullion coins now), I struggled with some of the questions you have.  First, I decided why did I want the coins?  The answer for me was not for the gold value, although that is a consideration in general.  If I just wanted gold closer to spot price I could buy bullion bars for much less, with some of the minted gold bars looking really nice and shiny with details on one side.  A step above that is like an American eagle gold bullion coin which I actually think looks really nice in hand, but not like many of the older collectable coins.

So, for me its older collectible gold coins, because I really like the way they look.  Next, I did some research into what coins I wanted and held a few lesser value ones in my hand (important imo, because some can be kinda small), and it ended up being 1 or 2 $5 Indian Head Gold Half Eagles and 1 or 2 $20 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagles.  So, I started the following thread to get feedback, and there is a good discussion of the value of coins vs bullion, as well as the grades for gold coins in general.

The following were the results of some price digging I did on the Gold Half Eagle ...

1909-D             Slab    Grade MS-64    $2,000
Random Year   Slab    Grade MS-62    $   900
Random Year   Slab    Grade MS-61    $   880
Random Year   Raw    Grade BU         $   860
1912                 Slab    Grade AU-58    $   800
Random Year   Raw    Grade AU         $   750
Random Year   Raw    Grade XF         $   690
Random Year   Raw    XF Cleaned      $   650

1/4 oz American Eagle Gold Coin =     $   575
1/4 oz Suisse Gold Bullion Bar =         $   520
1/4 oz Plain Gold Bullion Bar =            $   480
Melt @ $1,750/oz & 0.2419 oz =         $   423

Prices were from large coin/bullion dealers.  I wouldn't touch raw gold coins on Etsy, eBay or similar places due to many counterfeits particularly for the various gold eagles, even common years.  And you might even get one from a larger dealer, but they have guarantees they have stood by for me.  Mileage varies.  I stopped looking above MS-64 as prices got crazy, and I had to do a double take with that as it was more than double a lower MS grade.  Values for the $2.50 Gold Quarter Eagle will be less, but prob similar relative results.

Essentially cleaned really didn't save much for raw at a lower grade (which you can always get slabbed for the TPG fees).  And I am bailing on looking in XF grade, and maybe even AU grade, as not having nearly as nice an appearance as a BU or MS coin from what some have said and from what I could see from slabbed ones at a local shop.  Also, I switched to looking for common year $20 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagles since prices are closer to but noy at spot.  I am now looking for a random/common year BU grade Saint for around $1900 to $1,975 vs spot at around $1,750.

Seems to me prices for the Gold Half Eagles are more about collector demand, and not heavily related to spot, as well as being overpriced now.  Some of the more common Saints can be closer to spot.  Heed the advice of other more experienced collectors here on the board, who are basically donating their time to help newer collectors like us not make the mistakes others have, which is much appreciated.  Kudos to them.

Just my 2 (Indian head) nickels :grin:

0.25 Oz Pamp Suisse Gold Bar.jpg


2022 0.25 Oz American Gold Eagle Coin BU.jpg

Edited by EagleRJO
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