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USA Bar ‘Cents’ and Valuations
Recently, we had a client walk through our showroom door, asking us to look at a coin that he thought may be a “bit unusual” and perhaps “rather valuable.” It’s always a really exciting prospect when a customer walks through the door with something a little different. A main part of our business is to grade and price coins and much of them are sovereigns or crowns and we like to see these lovely pieces every day. But it’s always nice to see some more rare items, and this week we had the appearance of a USA Bar Cent.
These more unusual pieces of numismatic history are interesting in the fact that it relates to a particular and specific time in US history. These coins first appeared in the US colonies in 1875 and were more than likely struck in Birmingham. Although the weight was a little too low to be a true cent, the name stuck and the coins became a regular addition to the other copper coinage in circulation at that time. The obverse design is based on the colonial soldiers’ USA design uniform button and the reverse features thirteen parallel bars believed to be representative of the original thirteen colonies. US collectors are very interested in these pieces as they are considered very patriotic.
So, the main issue for a dealer is to ensure the piece is genuine. For this, we need to do some research. There are many ways in which one can appraise such a coin, and our research suggests there are some identifying features that we needed to look out for. If you keep your eyes peeled on our website www.24carat.html there will soon be a page on this coin. But as an interesting place to begin here’s some pages on how to identify coins (or at least how to start!)
Then comes the question of value. How does one value such a piece? Again, it’s about research. Knowing your market, knowing the list price in various publications, knowing what other dealers have paid in the past, knowing what similar pieces have brought in auctions etc. It’s all about experience and knowledge. Is the client wanting a valuation for sale? Or for insurance, or probate? Knowing what the customer wants in the first instance is the best way to begin such a project as it arrests any wasted time before you get going.
We’re delighted to have had this piece through our doors.