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  Measuring the Metal Value of Coins – Base Metal, Gold, and Silver Coins

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Frequently Asked Questions

Many of these are actual emails.

I often get emails with similar questions. If you have a question or suggestion not mentioned below, feel free to send an email.

1. "Why do you do this website?"

Coinflation was started in 2004 because high inflation was beginning to rear its ugly head and I had a feeling that all circulating U.S. coinage (at some point) will have a higher melt value than face value. Despite the U.S. Mint prohibiting coin melting in December 2006, an active market may develop for base metal coinage in the near future, similar to what happened to silver coinage in the 1960's. Also, silver and gold coin values are updated every day and some people find it helpful when buying/selling these coins.

2. "Who will buy my pennies and nickels for their melt value today?"

There isn't an active market today, but pre-1982 cents are regularly listed (and sold) on eBay. Patience is required.

3. "How do I advertise on coinflation.com?"

There's a separate page here about advertising on the Google Adwords site.

4. "Your math is wrong. There are 16 ounces in a pound and your ounce/gram conversion factor is wrong."

The silver price is based in troy ounces, not avoirdupois. There are 14.33 troy ounces in a pound.

5. "Your math is wrong. Base metals are priced in pounds and coins are measured in grams. Your calculations are wrong."

I'm aware base metals are priced in pounds. That's why I use the correct conversion factor of .00220462262 in the calculations (1 gram = .00220462262 pounds).

6. "In calculating the silver value for the Walking Liberty half dollar, the *.9 is redundant as it is already reflected in the .0321 conversion to grams. The $11.58 value today is understated by that difference and should be closer to $12.87.

.0321 * 28 (grams) = .9002

Do you agree? Do you understand my comments?"

No and No.

Let's get our facts straight first. There are 31.1 grams in a troy ounce, not 28. Walking Liberty halves are 90% silver, that's why we have to include the .9 number. I wish they were pure silver, but they're not.

7. "You need to include Canadian coins." or "How come you don't include Canadian coins?" and "I'd really like you to include Canadian coins" ...

I did. They're located here. (very popular question)

8. "In your silver coin melt value calculator results page, you list a statistic about a Bid/Ask spread of -5% to +5%. In my experience, I see a range between -10% to 0% (melt value), rarely are these coins sold over melt value except for numismatic purposes."

Fair question a few years ago. I may change this statistic in the future. I've purchased "junk silver" coins at a slight premium before when they're in almost uncirculated condition. Prices for these coins also sold at a premium pre-Y2K and we'll probably see wild price fluctuations in the future... like now.

9. "I have a 1947 dime, how much is it worth as a collectible?"

This is a website about coin melt values. I do list numismatic value ranges on individual coin pages, but a great place to look up a specific value is on eBay.

10. "I have a bunch of silver quarters, where can I sell them? I live in (city, state)."

Open your local yellow pages and look under "coin dealers" (or a google search). Sometimes Jewelers also buy and sell coins. Listing it on eBay is also an excellent alternative (usually the best option).

11. "Hey, can I have your phone number?  I want to talk about the Federal Reserve, penny drives, the value of precious metal-based coins, and the inequality of income distribution."

Um, no.

12. "How come you don't account for coin wear in your calculations or melt value calculator?"

Not sure that's realistic. Go to your bank and ask for a roll of every denomination, weigh each coin on a scale with at least three decimal places of accuracy, and calculate the average weight. You'll find coin wear is not statistically significant. Silver coins (sometimes called "junk silver") obviously have wear issues sometimes and can affect weight. But these are traded as a store of value, they're not going straight to the melting pot. You won't see dramatic reductions in melt price unless the entire lot is clearly sub-standard. I could list weight relative to the common 1-70 coin grading scale, but I really don't want to do that.

13. "Reading the USC laws of the United States it says that the 2010 American Eagle, 99.9% pure silver face value one dollar, is legal tender. Why do you not show it along with the other US Mint coins?"

This is a website to discover melt values. I didn't think the melt value of a 1 oz silver eagle was much of a mystery to most people, but considering the volume of email regarding the topic, I guess it is. So, in an effort of inclusion, here's the equation:

{current silver spot price} * 1.0 = n

I'm just here to help.

06/23/2013 Update: I finally added the silver eagle page, it can be viewed here.

14. "You should have a melting coin as a logo for the top of your website. That would be cool."

Yeah, that might look nice, but coin melting is illegal.

15. "Did you know that (website name) at (website url) completely ripped off your website and is claiming your work as their own?"

Thank you for letting me know. Unfortunately, this is becoming quite common and I now have a process to deal with it. Generally, the website owner is contacted with an email stating they're violating copyright law and proper credit needs to be cited and/or the page needs to be deleted. Most of the time they comply after this step. If compliance isn't met, I now have an alternate process that takes longer and is more expensive for everyone.

Please send an email if you find a site that is displaying content without proper attribution.

16. "I have coins from 1968 to 1977. What are they worth? I think they should be added."

That was the entire email. I'm not kidding.

17. "Basing a coins worth on its age, I can understand. Basing a coins worth on its metal content, in todays world market, is nothing short of stupid!"

God help us all.

18. "I think your comments added to each article link are hilarious. Your website is awesome."

Thanks, appreciate it.

19. "The comments you add about every article are pretty dumb."

Thanks, appreciate it.

20. "Why did you remove (site URL) from your favorite websites section on the front page?" or "How come you didn't link to my article?"

One of the whinier emails, and it comes often. I don't trade links or enter partnerships with other sites. I don't care how much money you'll pay. I certainly appreciate the interest, but please use Google Adwords if you would like to promote a product or site.

I also appreciate all article links sent to me, but I try to pick the best 3 or 4 articles from the hundreds I read every day. Again, it's not personal if I don't link to your article, please stop sending multiple emails wondering why.

21. "Did you know coin melting is illegal?"

You'd be amazed how often I get this email.

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