I take time, after cleaning to look up each of my old or unusual dug coins to see if I have a key date or something rare, and every once and a while I get a pleasant surprise, like the 1895-O key date Barber dime I dug last year. In addition, I’ve been collecting coins for over 35 years, and have a modest collection of non-dug coins, and it is fun to track the values of those as well.
Several online price guides are available. Most of these are difficult to read. So I check the “Sold Listings” under Advanced Search Options on eBay from time to time see what a particular coin is going for. But that’s still not a good barometer as to the “Book Value” of a particular coin in a particular condition.
Just as it is for Civil War and other relics, there is no substitute for hardcopy references to identify and value our finds. Here are a couple that I keep on the shelf:
I can remember grabbing the latest issue of Coinage in the 1980s, and it had been around for a long time even then (1964). Coinage is published monthly, so you always have the very latest coin values at your fingertips. It is available in digital and hardcopy versions. But what I really like about Coinage are the in-depth articles and photographs. It is like Sports Illustrated for coins, if you will. Features on rare coins, history of the various mints, and spotlights on various years are just some examples. If you are a numismatist in addition to a detectorist, then Coinage is a must-read every month:
The Official Blackbook Price Guide to United States Coins
The blackbook, now in its 54th year, is an annual price guide for US coins. Separate editions are available for world coins, and for US paper currency. I’ve followed the blackbook for over 35 years as well. I can remember, as a broke teenager, thumbing through the latest issue in the bookstore looking up values for large cents. Even if I’d had enough money to buy the book, I would have spent it on coins LOL. The blackbook is small enough to throw in the console of a vehicle or a laptop bag, but is very easy to read and very reliable.