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Coin Collecting: Coin Collecting Q&As

How do I determine if my old coins are worth anything?

Although there are exceptions, most old coins are not particularly valuable unless they are very well preserved. The best starting place for an idea of their worth is to visit the reference section of your local library. There are numerous catalogues, some for specific countries. A good general volume is the Standard Catalogue of World Coins. It offers a complete list of almost everything.

I understand older money is worth more than face value because of the silver content, is that true?

Canadian coins, from those with a face value between 10 cents and $1, and struck before 1968 are between 50 and 92 percent silver, depending on the coin and year. They are worth a bit more than face value, depending on the price of silver. If coins are in good condition, the collector's value may be even higher.

Will I ever find anything valuable in my pocket change?

Possibly. In 1991, only 459,000 25-cent coins were struck (the annual number is usually closer to 100 million). 'Mint State' versions of these coins are worth about $8. The 1973 25-cent coin and the 1969 ten-cent coin were also struck in smaller than normal numbers.

Are coins a good investment?

Yes and no. Some people have made a lot of money buying and selling coins, others have lost fortunes. If you are serious about investing in numismatics, first spend a bit of time learning. Most successful investors were knowledgeable collectors first. Good quality coins purchased at reasonable prices will appreciate, but probably no better or worse than other investments. The difference is that you'll be buying something you love, instead of things like shares in companies you know nothing about or T-Bills. Perhaps one day the coin you bought last year will have gone up in value, but the idea is to buy it so you can enjoy it now, and for as long as you own it.

For more answers to coin collecting questions, and ideas on what to collect, visit the Royal Canadian Mint website at www.mint.ca.

- News Canada

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