If you’re new to the world of coins and coin collecting, you might just be getting familiar with different terms. There’s lots of language to be learned, as there will be when you start any new hobby or break into any new group of people. What’s the difference between rare coins, semi-numismatic coins, bullion coins, and circulating coins?
Rare coins are those that are valuable as collector’s items. These coins get there value because people want them, but there aren’t nearly enough to go around. The older and rarer a coin is, the more likely it is to be worth hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars. Each coin in this category is priced differently based on a variety of factors, so it can be hard to figure out what prices are like and where they might be headed in the future.
Semi-numismatic coins are rare coins but also have value as bullion coins. This means that they are made from nearly pure precious metals of one sort or another. Right now, for instance, the United States mints to semi-numismatic bullion coins – gold and silver proof coins. These coins are mainly valued based on their precious metals content, but they also have value as collector’s items. The proof coins are minted in limited quantities, so they’re good for collectors who are also investors.
Bullion coins are, again, simply coins that are minted out of nearly pure precious metals. Around the world, you’ll find silver, gold, and platinum bullion coins. The price of these coins goes up or down based on the market value of the metal they’re made from. They aren’t really collectors’ items. People, instead, buy them for their investment value and stock them away in vaults and basements.
Circulating coins are the everyday coins that go through your pockets and purse. These are the coins that are still being minted and used as everyday money. The value of these coins, even, can be confusing when you count inflation in the mix. However, in general, a regular quarter is only worth a quarter of a dollar, and other coins follow suit.
Knowing the difference in these coin terms can help you understand the literature. This is important if you’re going to be collecting rare coins, because it will help you make better choices in the future.