Coin denominations & material value

Nominal values & material value of coins © Own image

What is my coin worth?

As nominal goods, coins issued by central banks and state mints as legal tender usually have a nominal value stamped on them. This nominal value is the amount that indicates the legally prescribed monetary value of a means of payment in commercial transactions. Theoretically, this nominal value is also always a claim against the issuing central bank.

The €1 coin has €1 written on it, so this coin has the equivalent of one euro in daily payments.

However, the value of coins that do not change hands in daily payment transactions - like ordinary euro coins - can differ significantly from the struck value. So coins can be interesting for collectors, or the metal value of the coins can be significantly higher than the nominal values. And with some coins you have to look very carefully if you want to sell or exchange them.

Historical collector coins

For historical coins, the imprinted denomination is meaningless today. It is difficult to calculate the present value of a 10 Kreuzer piece that is hundreds of years old. Other coins, such as thalers of the Reichsmünzordnung were minted even without explicit nominal value.

However, old coins can be sought after by collectors and numismatists, even if they are not made of gold or silver. Rarity, degree of preservation and the history of a coin determine much more how much it is "worth" to collectors, and thus what price they fetch on the market.

Bullion coins

With classic bullion coins for investors, on the other hand, it is the pure material value that counts. The price at which you can buy and sell a gold coin made of pure gold is based on the current gold rate worldwide.

Many classic bullion coins, such as the South African Krugerrand - which is nevertheless legal tender - have no denomination at all, but only the weight in ounces.

Other bullion coins, such as the Golden Philharmonic or the Canadian Maple Leaf coins have a face value stamped on them in addition to the weight and gold content, but the material value is many times higher.

So, of course, the gold value for 1 ounce of fine gold (999.9) far exceeds the nominal value of the minted 50 Canadian dollars on the Maple Leaf the 100 euros on the Golden Philharmonic.

When both nominal & material value are interesting

With certain coins, however, one should always keep an eye on both values. For example, it may be better to sell old coins that are not of interest to collectors at the Austrian National Bank's nominal value than to sell them at the precious metal dealer's material value.

For others, it is better not to sell them at the National Bank at face value, because the value of the material is higher.

A good example of such coins are, for example, old Austrian silver shillings:

A silver shilling with a nominal value of 500 ATS consists of 64% silver, the remaining 36% is copper. This means that with a rough weight of 24g, 15.36g of this is then pure silver (fine weight). At the current silver price, we can therefore pay around 7 euros for the coin. However, at a fixed exchange rate of 13.7603 shillings = 1 euro, you can get a good 36 euros for the same coin at the National Bank.

For the small silver coins with denominations of 2, 5, 10, 25 and 50 as well as 50 shillings, on the other hand, one gets up to more than 100% more when selling at the material value at the current silver rate with us than when exchanging at the ÖNB. For silver shillings with denominations of 100 and 500 shillings, on the other hand, you get more at the Nationalbank than we can pay for silver at Gold & Co.

Every serious buyer should always point out this fact to you. Which coins are better to bring to the National Bank, you can find out in our store! The National Bank is only about 10 minutes walk from the Gold & Co branch in the 9th district. Have your coins checked by us and then go directly to the ÖNB with the coins that you would better exchange at face value. There you might also be able to take a look at the money museum and pick up a 400oz bar from the Austrian gold reserves.


You want to buy or sell gold?

Come now for a personal, non-binding and serious consultation in one of our branches in Vienna or visit our online store.
Our branches
To the store

You might also be interested in

News, background information and updates on the topics of gold & silver.

other contributions