What Makes a Coin Rare?

You may know that collecting rare coins can be profitable. And you may know what dates to look for and what markings to keep an eye on. But what you may not know is what actually makes a coin rare. Here are a few of the key points that can contribute to your coin being listed as rare and how rare it is. By keeping these key points in mind, you may discover more rare coins and narrow down your search parameters. 

Metallic Content and Pricing

The metallic content of a coin refers to how much of a particular metal is in the coin itself. For example, copper is normally used in the minting of pennies. However, over the past several decades, the amount of pure copper used in a penny has decreased. This means that pennies with a higher amount of pure copper will be worth more than ones with a lower amount. 

The metallic content of a coin can range based on the year it was minted as well. Keep in mind, the year of mintage can be within the last decade and still have a higher content of pure metal than a coin minted several decades ago. This is due to the type of coin, why it was minted, and if it was a collector’s item at the time of distribution. 

The amount of pure metal in a coin can also raise or lower the value of the coin depending on the metal and the current value of that metal. For example, you may have a coin that has a high silver content. The value of that coin can change dramatically depending on the value of silver on the silver market at the time. This means you need to know the metallic content of the coin as well as keep an eye on the current metal prices at the time you want to have it appraised. 

Mintage Date

The mintage date can tell you a lot about the coin you have. There is a misconception that older coins are worth more than newly minted coins. But the truth is that some new coins can be worth a great deal and sometimes more than certain older coins. A determining factor is the mintage date and what was happening during that coin mintage and distribution.

For example, you may have a coin that was minted within the 1990s. The demand may have been high at the time due to the coin being issued as a collectible coin or the coin being known to have a high metallic content. Over time there may be fewer and fewer of these coins in circulation based on the mintage year of the coin offering collectible value, higher metallic content, or the demand of the coin from that particular year. 

Circulation Amount

Circulation of a coin can contribute greatly to the rarity of the coin. For example, you may have a coin that was part of a larger mint. This could mean that the particular mintage year of the coin put thousands of that specific mint into circulation. If the coin had a high demand then many collectors may have kept the coins.

When collectors keep the coins as part of their collection, this removes the coin from circulation. When enough of the coins are removed from circulation, the coin can rise in value because it becomes harder to find easily. You may also have coins that were released with a lower circulation amount due to a special collectable mint year. With fewer coins in circulation, the chances are high that even fewer coins will be available on the market, causing the coin to be listed as rare. 

If you have rare coins you would like to sell, trade, or buy, contact Rocky Mountain Coin. We can assist you with questions you have about specific coins.