This coin is rare

The value of coins and collector's items

Ever since coins have existed, they have not only been viewed as commodities with a certain transaction or exchange value (according to their face value or nominal), but have always been viewed as objects of the passion for collecting, to which several value-determining properties have been ascribed.

Collecting and storing coins is probably just as old as the craft of minting itself. Whether you are a passionate collector or a newcomer to the exciting hobby of coin collecting, you have probably already asked yourself: How do you determine the value of a coin? What makes coins and certain collector's coins so valuable?

Or more specifically: How do you determine the current value of a very specific coin? On the following pages we will provide you with helpful knowledge on how to get closer to answering these questions.


How much are coins worth? The main evaluation criteria of coins

How much a specific coin is worth depends on many different factors. The characteristics of coins that determine their value include

  • the nominal,
  • the origin: issuing country and mint,
  • the age (year of issue / year of issue),
  • the rarity of a coin,
  • the material in which it is embossed,
  • the degree of preservation and the minting quality
  • as well as their popularity and popularity.

In addition to its rarity, the number of editions in which the coin was minted plays an important role in determining its value, as does the material from which it was made. The degree of preservation and the minting quality also have a special weighting for the value of a coin.

The well-known wisdom applies especially to collectibles: The value of something is measured by the price that someone else is willing to pay for it. In the case of coins, as in other collecting areas, there are larger and smaller price fluctuations due to supply and demand.

Reserve now - the 5 euro commemorative coins “climatic zones” with a translucent polymer ring

The popularity of coins

Coin collectors often collect their private treasures from an aesthetic perspective. This can be, for example, the need to enjoy the beauty of certain samples of the art of an era. In addition, there is often a historical aspect, according to which coins document the history of a specific region or epoch. The reasons for the popularity of a particular coin are mostly popular coin motifs or a popular issue.

Examples of popular coin themes:

The valuation of a specific, concrete coin

If you have come into possession of a particular coin or an entire collection, you should definitely take your time to make a realistic assessment of its value. For example, if the coins at hand are circulation coins from a foreign country, they must be very old and in good condition so that you can assume that they are valuable.

For example, if a coin collector has given you a coin, it is definitely worth taking a closer look at it. If the first results indicate that it is a coin in the high-priced segment or the identification could be a little more difficult, it makes perfect sense to choose a reputable one Coin dealer to seek out. The characteristics described in detail below are decisive for the value of your coin.

What are the individual decisive criteria that are responsible for the fact that a coin has a certain value?

The origin of coins

The country of issue or the origin is one of the most important criteria for determining the value of a coin. In particular, coins from numismatically significant countries with a large community of collectors can develop into attractive rarities in combination with other properties, such as a small number of copies.

A good example of this is the FRG's 200 euro gold coin, which was issued once in 2002 on the occasion of the introduction of the euro or the transition to monetary union. The total circulation of the 2002 200 euro gold coins was 100,000 pieces. Not an exceptional number for many countries, but a rather small edition for Germany. In addition to the limited number of issues, it was the only German 200 euro gold coin to date.

No matter how exotic and unique a coin may be, it does not have any particular value for collectors if it comes from a country for whose minting there is no significant community of collectors. Other interesting countries that represent their own collection areas are Andorra, England or Great Britain, France, Australia, Russia, Canada or the United States of America (USA).

The number of copies of the coins

The number of copies, i.e. the number of coins minted, is also one of the most important parameters for a correct determination of value. After all, the rule of supply and demand also has its undisputed validity in the coin sector. As described in the section above, the mintage is only really value-enhancing if the coin was issued in a country that is numismatically interesting.

The rarity of coinage

One speaks of rare coins when only a limited number of them is available on the market or when other peculiarities make a coin appear unique. This includes, among other things, very old, well-preserved coins or pieces of coins, of which there are only a few specimens for a specific mint mark.

A strictly limited, one-time issue of a certain coin motif at a certain face value can also achieve high rarity values. In the case of historical coin issues, it can happen that these were originally minted in an edition that might not be of interest to collectors, but over time the majority of these coins were removed from the market due to various external circumstances such as wars, revolutions or the dissolution of a state (e.g. the GDR) disappeared. It is obvious that this has a positive influence on the value development of a coin due to the shortage of available supply. Rare coins are in great demand with collectors - just like Misprints.

This tendency can also be observed for all epochs of numismatics, be it antiquity, the Middle Ages or the modern era. Historical gold coins in particular, which are hardly available due to various peculiarities, are currently very popular.

Examples of particularly rare and valuable coins are:

  • Gold coin (10 ducats) of the Habsburg Emperor Leopold I (1657-1705)
  • Gold coin "Austria 20 Kronen Karl L. from 1918"
  • Misprints "old map": 2 euro coins and 20 cent coins from various euro countries


The time of issue and the age of the coins

The year of issue and thus the age also play a major role in determining the value of the coin. As a rule, historical coins only have a value if they date from at least the time of the Empire. The collector's value increases with age, which of course also applies to ancient coins from the Roman Republic or Byzantine coins.

Coins have been around for a long time - as a means of payment and as a collector's item. Starting with the Lydians, numerous epochs were passed through in the history of coins over the centuries. Here is a short list of the most significant periods.

  • Ancient Greece (archaic coins: 700 BC - 480 BC, classical period from 480 BC to 323 BC, Hellenistic period from 323 BC - 30 BC), see the Egyptian tetradrachm in our online shop.
  • Roman age (here among others the bronze coin "Constantine the Great" or the Original coin from the Roman Empire Licinius I. Follis 3
  • The Persian Age as well as the Age of the Celts
  • German states from the Middle Ages to 1870
  • Coins of the German Empire (1871-1914)
  • Coin issues of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933)
  • Coins from the Third Reich (1933-1945)
  • Period of Allied Occupation (1945-1948)
  • Coins of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1948
  • Euro coins of the euro member countries since 2002

The coin material

Coin metals such as silver or gold have a material value that also has an impact on the value of a coinage. There is not always a direct connection between coin metal and price. And so it is under certain circumstances even possible that even coins made of base metal exceed the value of precious metal issues if other value-determining features predominate.

The state of preservation and the minting quality

The degree of preservation is a feature that is also included when determining the value of coins and that is particularly important for old and older coins. After all, many passionate collectors value their coins in good condition. This means that coins that are badly worn and possibly also show traces of damage are of significantly less value to collectors than those that are well preserved. Especially with older coins that have been in circulation for some time, the state of preservation is an important value-creating factor.

Regarding the Degree of preservation There are clearly defined categories of a coin:

  • Uncirculated (unc)
  • Almost uncirculated (−unz)
  • Excellent (EF, EF)
  • Extremely fine from a polished plate
  • Very fine (ss)
  • Beautiful
  • Very good, very well preserved (sg, sge)
  • Good, good condition (g, ge)
  • Low received

As "Uncirculated" (unz) denotes coins from a mostly fully automatic production process that never came into circulation. Errors such as small scratches or dents can occur during the production process. The pouring processes (from the coin mint machine into the container) make this necessary. The surfaces of the coins can also appear a bit dull, as the stamps naturally wear off over time.

"Almost uncirculated" (−unz) denotes coins with minimal signs of wear such as negligible scratches and minor traces of friction in exposed areas. These can be attributed either to a very short circulation or to improper handling by collectors.

"Excellent" (EF, EF) denotes coins that were only in circulation for a short time. The embossed details are still clearly visible, but the gloss can only be seen in recessed areas, and there are also scratches and small traces of abrasion in some areas.

At "Excellent from a polished plate" (vz made of PP, PP touched) are coins that were made in the minting quality "polished plate". As a rule, they are minimally affected by traces of grease or small scratches. Nonetheless, collectors are often very skeptical in this regard and the coins clearly lose value.

Under "Very nice" (ss) one understands coins, the traces of which are clearly visible. Finer details can hardly be seen, but medium-sized details can be seen.

"Nice" (s) denotes a state of prolonged circulation, which is responsible for the fact that some of the coin details have already disappeared. The design of the coin is generally considered to be "dull", although both inscriptions and contours have been preserved.

"Very good, very well preserved" (sg, sge) is a degree of conservation that is less important in the German-speaking area. Internationally, this grade designates coins on which you can still see a few details despite strong signs of wear.

As "Good, well preserved" (g, ge) one describes a state of preservation in which one only recognizes the contours, details are no longer visible.

"Low received" (ge) is used in the German-speaking area for all coins that are worse than "beautiful". Strictly speaking, it characterizes the degree of preservation of coins that have practically lost their entire design and are therefore very difficult to identify.

The Embossing quality is essentially determined by three methods:

  • Polished plate
  • Mirror finish
  • Brilliant uncirculated

As "Proof" (PP) This is the name given to a manufacturing process in which the coins made of polished blanks (blanks) are subjected to multiple minting with specially polished stamps. With this method, the surface appears reflective, whereas the coin motif appears rather matt.

"Spiegelglanz" (sp, spgl.) is a manufacturing quality that turns out to be a little less complex than the "polished plate" process. The appearance is nevertheless comparable. Polished punches are used, but no polished blanks.

"Stempelglanz" (st, stgl.) refers to a coin in which you cannot see any flaws with the naked eye.

"Mint fresh" (pfr) is used as a synonym for uncirculated or uncirculated.

The mints

A mint or mint is the institution of a state that is responsible for the minting of currency and commemorative coins on behalf of the government. Often, mints are also simply called "state mint" in the short version, in fact this is also to be found in the names of numerous institutions.

The euro coins issued in Germany, like the previous DM, are marked with a letter that refers to the mint from which the coin originates. Germany is the only euro coin issuing country in which course coins are produced in several mints. The following institutions are currently in Germany:

  • A - State Mint Berlin
  • D - Bavarian Main Mint, Munich
  • F - State Mint Stuttgart
  • G - State Mint Karlsruhe
  • J - Hamburg Mint

There used to be other mints with different mint marks in Germany.

The potential for appreciation

The relationship between supply and demand is of central importance for the price and value development of coins and coins. From an investment perspective, rare and popular coins are therefore best suited for collecting. This can be, for example, coins or mints with low numbers of minted coins and a popular coin motif or with a popular issue occasion.

Coins and mintings can become more valuable when the materials used in them, such as gold and silver, increase in value. Anyone who takes appropriate care and treatment to ensure that the coin is well preserved also contributes to the preservation of the value of the collector's item.

Nevertheless, no one can predict the value development of a coin or entire collections, because this is always determined by supply and demand. There are also other factors that can have an influence: The development of precious metal prices, the rarity and preservation of the respective coin. However, there are examples from recent years that prove that rare historical coins in particular can increase in value.


Here you will find an overview of all new and planned German euro collector coins:



To the overview "Coin Studies / Numismatics"