By Joël van Dam – Owner, Joëlnumismatics, for MA-Shops.com ……
The question that is formulated in the title of this blog is a question that most collectors and dealers will naturally respond to with the phrase: ‘’Yes, of course, it’s important’’.
Rest assured, it’s not my purpose in this blog to advocate that quality is not important but to bring some nuance to the statement that one presumes most dealers and collectors will give. The beauty of a coin seems to be very tightly bound with its “quality”. Since people are attracted to beauty, the quality of a coin influences how many people want a specific coin. And naturally, this demand exerts an influence on the price.
As Shakespeare wrote in Love’s Labours Lost (1588):
‘’Good Lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean, Needs not the painted flourish of your praise: Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye, Not utter’d by base sale of chapmen’s tongues’’
This is a beautiful and almost poetic way to say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And I think to a certain extent this is true, even though I think objective beauty does exist. Unfortunately, this blog is not the place for a philosophic essay about beauty. Nevertheless, it will be enough to accept that beauty itself exists whether or not its nature is objective or subjective. And I think most people will agree.
Here below are some examples of coins in different qualities.
US 1875 $5 PCGS Proof 65 CAM
- Diameter: 21.60 mm
- Mintage: 20
1875 was a magical year of rarities as many under-appreciated rarities were produced in the year for both circulation and proof strikes. From a mintage of just 20 pieces, probably fewer than six to seven examples are known. This piece exhibits beautiful Cameo mirrors with the brightest of yellow-gold surfaces. Overall this piece is truly a quality example of an underrated, great coin! Only a single example (Proof 65 Deep Cameo) is graded finer.
20 Mark 1872 E Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Ernst II. VF++
The rarest type of all German Imperial gold coins.
Quality and Beauty
The quality of a coin is important. But when does a coin start to have the disposition to be beautiful? Is only a coin in the quality Mint State worthy enough to buy because of its quality? Or is a coin good enough when we can read the words on it and we can see its images? Or somewhere in between? It seems that this question is very hard to answer. And to be honest I can not give you an objective answer like: “Only coins in mint-state a worth buying for their quality.”
I collected Duiten from the Netherlands for a long time, in a very fine state. And I love their beauty. I also collected copper coins from the Netherlands between 1900 and 2000. But I only enjoyed them when they were in high Mint State. So, it seems that even for one person the border between beauty and not beauty is the same.
4000 reis 1811 Brasil BU
Joao VI Prince Reg
1 Piastre 1931 Cyprus Bronze PCGS MS61
- Catalog: KM-18
George V. Cyprus under British administration. The last year of issue for the type (in Bronze) and very rare. Only two coins have graded mint state in PCGS’s population: a 63 and this one. The single second-highest graded (pop1). Grades MS61
Most Important for the Coin Collector
What follows from this is that the collector himself–and not collectors as a whole–determine what quality he or she can or maybe even will enjoy. I tell my customers two things. The first derives from the conclusion above. You, the collector, are the one who says what is worth enjoying.
And secondly, I say this. It is generally accepted that quality is an important component of the beauty of a coin. What follows from this is that the higher the quality, the more people start to like a coin, which increases the value and potential profit in the future. But when you have the wonderful ability to appreciate every coin for its own beauty you don’t lower their values – you just see them differently.
Because never forget there is more to a coin than “quality”. Quality is important, yes, but they also have other aspects, such as historical value, which you can enjoy.
5 Schillings-Double Shaft 1892 South Africa Unc
- Catalog: KM-8.2
Superb Brilliant Uncirculated.
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