Ok that’s a tough one so this could end up being quite a long post…
After all, there are many ways to assess each coin’s value but the basic assumption here is that you’re interested in a fiat monetary value for whatever Aussie florin, like for whatever reason you have the coin and you want to sell it but don’t know what to ask for it…or maybe you want to know if there’s any serious investment potential, meaning that in the future it might be worth a bucket load.
Some Australian florins could be.
[You can skip reading the article and get to the juicy bit if you want – alternatively, the two tables below provide some basic information, albeit a bit outdated!]
Top Ten Florins (in aUnc, by estimate)
|1||1915L||500,000||$8,000 in aUNC|
|2||1932||180,000||$7,750 in aUNC|
|3||1914B H u/date||500,000||$6,500 in aUNC|
|4||1912L||1,000,000||$6,000 in aUNC|
|5||1913L||1,200,000||$5,500 in aUNC|
|6||1933||490,000||$4,000 in aUNC|
|7||1911||950,000||$3,850 in aUNC|
|8||1921||1,240,000||$3,250 in aUNC|
|9||1915B H u/date||750,000||$3,000 in aUNC|
|10||1919M M u/date||1,670,000||$2,900 in aUNC|
The 10 Lowest Mintage Florins
|1||1932||180,000||$7,750 in aUNC|
|2||1933||490,000||$4,000 in aUNC|
|3||1915L||500,000||$8,000 in aUNC|
|4||1914B H u/date||500,000||$6,500 in aUNC|
|5||1939||630,000||$1,100 in aUNC|
|6||1915B H u/date||750,000||$3,000 in aUNC|
|7||1934 – 35 comm||750,000||$550 in aUNC|
|8||1935||910,000||$550 in aUNC|
|9||1911||950,000||$3,850 in aUNC|
|10||1912L||1,000,000||$6,000 in aUNC|
Caveat Emptor (Let the buyer beware)
It’s worth bearing in mind that there is a school of thought, disturbingly common amongst coin dealers in my own experience, that it’s worth what someone will pay for it. As a buyer, you can be caught out here, especially if you’re not sure about the different grading systems, since unscrupulous dealers thrive on finding new collectors to make a killing from.
In my view it’s downright reprehensible, taking advantage of someone like that, not least because it’s bad business and causes people to forget about the hobby.
‘Caveat Emptor’ has a place, still it is not an excuse for daylight robbery.
Check the date and/or buy the book!
So how do you work out the current value of said florin ? Well, there are a couple of ways to get at least an inkling of an idea. You can go online and check out ‘coin valuation sites’ or various auction sites, or, go to the library and check out the book equivalent.
Frankly I think it’s definitely worth having a selection of these books in your personal library, not for nothing is it said “Buy the book before the coin”!
If nothing else, you get a dated starting point for value, one that can’t realistically be argued with – and then you go from there.
Anyway, for Australian coins that usually means the Renniks publication (now in its 30th edition) or Krause and online you’re looking at places like allcoinvalues or numista (these are my current favourites). eBay is a bit of an iffy proposition – it is what it is.
This sort of approach gives you at least an idea of what other people think about current and future dollars and cents value. Can you trust them do to a good job ? Is it what you’re really looking for – I have no idea; I’m the type that keeps my own records, tracking actual sales over time and so on. Even then things are uncertain.
Still, it’s safe to say that this sort of research works reasonably well for known florins that are either very hard to find, or are in superb nick. The different guides and catalogues, etc, are workable for those rare items for which it is reasonable to forecast a solid demand going forward.
Either it’s a key date in low grade or a common date in high grade.
Left field stuff…
I’m not thinking about, let’s say ‘unusual stuff’ here – things like varieties and errors – which, although extremely interesting, are not your bread and butter florin. Unless such coins are the centre of your collection, the average person is not going to actively hunt that kind of stuff down.
A good offset mis-strike is not something that every florin collector is on the lookout for, mind you if one popped up out of nowhere in a bulk buy, you’d more than likely keep it! And those sorts of florins do command good prices, say, five or six times an equivalent condition standard strike.
And then there are examples with great toning or other patina, and those with rock solid provenance…
Minimum collectible condition
Anyway, we’re just identifying stuff in the set that isn’t so readily available but at the same time, people will generally want to have them. So the lowest mintage florins in a series fall into this category by default, although really only for those that seek to have a complete date set (low mintage dates that help build typesets would be more sought after again).
Having said that, you do need to think about condition because if the coin is only just identifiable due to being flat and worn, probably nobody will chase it – most of us have something along the lines of a minimum collectible condition – it doesn’t have to be the bees’ knees, but neither should it be completely munted!
Condition and grading
And that’s where grading comes into it. In the early days not as much attention was paid to grading as is the case now, but as the hobby has developed so too has the art of describing any given coin. For new collectors it can be a real nightmare because it adds a layer of complexity which may not be necessary in the beginning.
Enter the ‘third party grading companies’. Look, they are useful, no doubt about it – still I would not encourage anyone to rely wholly on their product.
In fact one of the major downsides of third party grading companies like PCGS and NGC is that they are actively attempting to become the be and end all when it comes to describing condition and grade.
Learn to grade
You know just because PCGS says a particular coin is in uncirculated condition and then seal it away in a plastic box doesn’t mean that they are right. If you are really into collecting then you also need to back yourself and that’s where the commercial grading companies’ products can be useful – as a tool for you to understand essential differences in condition because the companies can be relied on to a certain extent to be consistent.
Certainly I have a reference grading set that does include but is not entirely made up of slabbed examples.
Frankly I don’t think either of those top tier companies are totally reliable outside US coins and I’ve seen Australian coins put in a plastic coffin with MS64 on the label and the coins inside the boxes are not really that great.
After all someone has to look at them and make the call and that person, being human, will make mistakes. Not all MS64s are created equal.
Also, I am not the only person to think like that – it was in fact a discussion amongst strangers at the last coin show I attended, just two weeks ago (and not raised by me!).
What can you do? The best thing is buy the actual florin, not the label put on it by a company, but everyone’s different. I don’t recommend purchasing any coin solely on the basis of the label someone else put on it. We all must start somewhere, it’s true, though over time we can build up and fully trust our own expertise – a much better and more rewarding thing to do.
Third party grading has a place, to be sure, however it is by no means totally definitive and neither should it be. Coin collecting belongs to all those people that pursue the hobby, not to one or two commercial entities.
When PCGS put out their idea of, for example, Early Australian coinage, it’s wise to consider what they say but it is not definitive – however much they tacitly imply that they know everything about all coins ever created.
As in many things, though, perception is tantamount to reality and that’s the space that these commercial entities operate in, with hard dollars and cents consequences for the rest of us, too.
What I mean by that is that people will often believe the label without really paying attention to the coin and there is a trade there, which to me is not what coin collecting is all about…(but let’s not go there today…)
Personally I feel that one of the beaut things about collecting is that it’s totally up to the individual to decide which coins they want to go for. My own experience is that what makes a particular coin appeal to me changes over time – the more I collect, the more I find it is for different reasons. In some cases, coins that I initially thought were wonderful are less desirable now and in others it’s the opposite.
That’s the cool thing about the hobby I think – that as you learn about coins and their place in this world, you begin to appreciate things you never even thought about before and your collection grows in meaning.
Top florin picks
I guess if you’re focussed on the financial side of things, and there’s nothing at all wrong with that, then you need to concentrate on stuff that the vast majority of collectors will regard as significant for whatever reasons.
In terms of Australian florins, off the top of my head and in no particular order, I think you can put that this way:
– 1932s in just about any condition that’s not clearly damaged
– 1939s & ’33s in at least F
– 1945s, VF but preferably better
– 1910s, at least VG and especially 1910, 1915, ’15H, ’14H with the others in at least F
– 1921 and ’22, at least F
They are I think the top picks, coins worth acquiring now that will more than likely increase in value over time.