Note Flaws on Gold Coins

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Gold is a soft, malleable metal prone to scratches, test cuts, damage when removed from jewelry, and other details that decrease its worth as a collectible coin. In the photo above, Capitol Coin Auction notes scratches and marks from being poorly stored for more than a century.


The best houses on Proxibid take pains in lot descriptions to describe flaws in coins, and when it comes to gold, there are many.

In the 1880s, coin scammers tried to pass plated 1883 nickels, or racketeer nickels, as $5 gold, chiefly because the US Mint neglected to put a denomination on the coin other than the Roman numeral V. There were also plated fractional gold, coins holed or bezeled for jewelry, polished gold, and harshly cleaned gold.

All of these and other flaws should be mentioned.

Jewelry Exchange does a great job with this in its lots descriptions. Because the firm deals regularly in gold, it knows the range of damage that can occur. In this example, the lot description notes a $1 gold coin that was removed from jewelry, polished and soldered:

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Another lot in the same auction included jewelry loops that left the rims of quarter eagle damaged:

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This auctioneer routinely ignores damage on gold coins. This one is obviously cleaned and, as such, worth a small premium over the worth of its metal:

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Bidders not only seek gold for its metal content but also for their collections. These buyers are worth more to you than bullion seekers because they buy gold when the price is high or low. Give them the courtesy of an accurate description, and they’ll become return clients and, perhaps, consignors one day.

Proxiblog is an independent entity with no connection to the auction portal Proxibid. Our intent is to uphold basic numismatic standards as established by the American Numismatic Association and the National Auctioneer Association and to ensure a pleasurable bidding experience not only on Proxibid but also on similar portals such as iCollector and AuctionZip.

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