Monthly Archives: December 2013

New Year, New Hobby!

coin collectingCoin collecting is fun! For more than 2,000 years, coins have been meticulously spent and collected. Some coins have value that far exceeds its currency. Plus, a coin collection is a great way to start a family heirloom, which can be passed on for prosperity for future generations.

Why collect coins

There are many reasons to collect coins. First, each coin has a unique story. Whether it was struck during a time of ration or to symbolize a patriotic hero, each coin offers a glimpse into the past. Each coin also has a certain mint mark and composition. Some people collect coins because of their value. Certain coins, particularly gold or silver ones, appreciate in value. Others collect coins purely out of admiration and enjoyment.

Types of coins

There are various types of coinage available to collectors. For starters, there are regular issue coins, which are struck by a government authorized mint and are intended for general circulation. Most coins fall into this category since they are most readily available.

Another type of coinage is proof coins. These coins are struck using a specific technique to produce highly mirrored fields and frosted devices. This technique produces a beautiful coin, which makes for a great gift or display piece.

Commemorative coins can either be uncirculated or proof. They are typically minted in silver or gold and commemorate a significant event, person or organization in history.

Finally, bullion coins are uncirculated coins commonly collected for investment purposes. These coins are often silver, gold or platinum. Bullion coins are sold at melt value, or what the metal of the coin is worth if you were to melt it down.

Long-term hobby

Coin collecting gives you the opportunity to pursue a lifelong hobby. In a world of instant gratification, coin collecting teaches patience. The best coin collections are built over time, even years. Keep in mind, coins are a long-term investment. That said, you will want to hold on to your coins for at least five to ten years for greatest profit.

People collect coins for personal pleasure or for investment purposes. Today, many people are looking for items of value that they can hold onto. While cars and jewelry can depreciate in value, coins become more valuable over time. This year, start a hobby that will make you happier and more profitable in the years to come!

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on 


What Drives the Price Gold?



Gold is one of the most fascinating discoveries of all time. The desire to own it has led to gold rushes and even worse, war. Today, gold is not only sought after for jewelry but also investment purposes. Here are some of the factors that drive the price of gold.

Central Bank Reserves

Central Banks are responsible for holding paper currencies and gold in reserve. In the U.S., the Central Banking System is known as the Federal Reserve System. Many of the nations throughout the world, including Germany, Italy, France, and Portugal have reserves that are primarily composed of gold. When these reserves buy more gold than they sell, the price of gold rises.

Value of U.S. Dollar

The price of gold is inversely related to the value of the U.S. dollar. For this reason, when the value of the dollar decreases the price of gold tends to increase. This is because people have a tendency to invest and trade in dollars when the dollar is strong. However, when the dollar is weak, people prefer to invest in gold. You can do this through gold coins.

Demand in Jewelrygoldjewelry

Jewelry accounts for the largest proportion of gold manufacturing and consumption. According to the World Gold Council, gold jewelry accounted for 42 percent of global gold demand in 2012. By volume, India, China and the U.S. are by far the largest consumers of gold for jewelry. Therefore, the price of gold can also be affected by the laws of supply and demand. As the demand for consumer goods such as jewelry increases, so does the price of gold.

Wealth Protection

People continue to invest in gold, due to its enduring value. For investors, gold is often sought after during times of economic uncertainty. For others, it’s sold off during times of hardship or depression. Gold can also be used to hedge against currency devaluation, inflation or deflation.

While the price of gold has dropped significantly since 2011, there is still a demand. The central banks’ reserves, the value of the U.S. dollar, the overwhelming desire for jewelry, and the global economy will continue to help drive the price of gold.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on 


How to Clean Roman Coins

ancientromancoinUnlike certain modern coins, Roman coins have significant intrinsic value. For most of its lifetime, Roman currency consisted of gold, silver, brass, and copper coinage. However, many Roman coins are more valuable than their precious metal content.

Due to their age, Roman coins often have patina, which is a colored layer, usually green or brown that has built up over the centuries. When cleaning your Roman coins, it’s important not to remove the patina. Removing the patina can decrease the coin’s value and you risk damaging the coin.

There are many ways to clean ancient coins. What may work for one, may not work for another. Here’s a list of cleaning techniques that can help preserve your Roman coins:

    1. Let your coins sit in distilled water for 24 hours. Note: distilled water is not the same as tap water. You can purchase distilled water at your local grocery store. After letting them soak, rub them gently with a soft bristle toothbrush.
    2. Next, categorize coins into good, average and worst. The coins that look the worst, or are still very dirty, should be returned to the distilled water. Let these coins sit for another 24 hours or until you start to see a change.
    3. Fill a bowl with olive oil – try not to use Extra Virgin olive oil as the regular stuff often provides better results. For the good coins, olive oil alone should do the trick. However, for the average to worst coins, add half a teaspoon of lemon juice to the mix. The coins can sit for up to 48 hours, or until the oil goes green and thick with muck. Then rinse the coins off with distilled water and return them to a new bowl of olive oil.
    4. After a few days of this process, you should start to see some good results. Once coins look in good condition clean them all off with distilled water and a soft toothbrush. At this point, you can probably pick the dirt and encrustations off with a tooth pick. However, be very careful so that you do not damage the coin.
    5. Finally, store your newly cleaned coins in protective gear. This may include individual coin holders or sleeves. For long term storage, use coin tubes or hard plastic holders. Make sure your coins are fully dry before storage. Dampness and pollution can damage valuable, ancient coins.

There are other extreme methods of cleaning Roman coins such as ultrasonic cleaning and electrolysis. While these are both effective coin-cleaning tactics, they can damage the patina or the surface of the coin. I would only use these methods as a last resort effort. That being said, if a crusty coin cannot be cleaned with conventional methods it may be best to leave the coin as is.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on 


What’s My Diamond Worth?

There are a variety of factors involved to generate a selling price or resale worth for a diamond – for instance, cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has come up with an International Diamond Grading System that is the worldwide standard for evaluating diamond quality.

The “4Cs”

Cut – This refers to the sparkle and brilliance of a diamond. The cut of any diamond has three attributes: brilliance or the total light reflected from a diamond, fire or the dispersion of light into the colors of the spectrum and scintillation or the pattern of light and dark areas and the flashes of light or sparkle when the diamond is moved. Popular cuts are marquise, pear, oval, rectangle, heart, and triangles.diamond_cut

Clarity – Diamond clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes. Diamonds without these birthmarks are rare, and rarity affects your diamond’s value. Keep in mind that every diamond is unique and absolutely no diamond is ever perfect. Flawless diamonds are an exception, and most jewelers have never seen one.diamond_clarity

Color – Unlike cut and clarity, diamond color is what you can’t see. Diamonds are valued by how close they are to colorless. Ideally, the less color the higher their value, with the exception of pink and blue diamonds. Most diamonds run from colorless to near colorless, with slight hints of brown or yellow.diamond-color

Carat Weight – Like other gemstones, diamonds are weighed in metric carats. One carat is approximately 0.2 grams, which is about the same weight as a paperclip. Moreover, carats are divided into 100 points – for example, a 50-point diamond weighs about 0.50 carats. The majority of diamonds you see today weigh one carat or less.diamond-carat-weight

GIA Certification

When you purchase a new or used diamond, be sure to obtain a grading report from GIA, as they are the leaders in independent diamond certification. All diamond experts and jewelers know exactly what a “GIA certificate” is. The GIA’s grading system is widely recognized throughout the jewelry industry as the most accurate and unbiased opinion when it comes to grading diamonds. There are many advantages to buying a diamond with a GIA certificate. First, you know exactly what you’re buying as every important factor is described in the certificate. Secondly, if the diamond comes with a certificate you won’t have to worry about buying a synthetic diamond. Finally, purchasing a GIA certified diamond will provide you with more confidence and value in your purchase.

We always encourage you to buy your diamonds in person. Looking at a diamond in first person with a diamond specialist the best way to evaluate a diamond before making a purchase.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on 


The Short Guide to Giving Coins & Paper Currency

When the holiday season rolls around, we all have that one person that’s a nightmare to give to. You want to get them an awesome present, but they already own EVERYTHING. You want to avoid giving a gift card, because there’s absolutely no holiday spirit in that! So what are you to do?

This year, consider something a little different. Something that’s not hard to wrap. Something that won’t cost a fortune to ship. Something really memorable that can start a growing collection. How about some coins or paper currency! But where to start? Read below.

Single Coins

Single coins make great gifts for a few reasons, the first being price. In your typical Yankee Swap, Secret Santa, or any other type of gift exchange, you don’t have a lot to spend. So you need to be able to get something fun and different in the $20 range, which is why one coin is perfect.

But what if your gift requires a little more thought? You can choose one that will be meaningful to someone special in your life. Lets pretend your grandmother was born in 1921. A 1921 Morgan Dollar might be the perfect gift!

The third reason for choosing a single coin is that it’s a perfect starting point for a collection. You might not want to give someone too many coins to start, because they’ll want to build the collection themselves.

Coin Lots

Even though giving just one coin has its advantages, there are also reasons to give a “lot” of coins. Lets take pirate coins, for example. How many pirate chests do you know of that have three coins sitting in them? None! They need to be full of gold! You can buy 100 shiny gold doubloon replicas, or something similar, as a great starting point at a very reasonable price. Lots of coins are great for giving that “Wow!” factor as well. When you give somebody 10 coins instead of just one, it feels like you’ve given more. It’s an especially good tactic for making children more excited.


A lot of people are coin collectors, but you’d be surprised how many of them completely skip out on collecting currency. Paper currency is a fascinating part of history! And you can give it in single bills, or in lots, just like coins. For example, a 1929 Federal Reserve note from the Depression Era can be given to someone who’s really into history. Or if you need something a little more lighthearted, give them a lot of 50 trillion dollar notes from Zimbabwe. Just make sure you record their reaction on your phone!

Coin/Currency Holders

If you’re giving valuable coins and currency to a new collector, chances are they won’t know how to take care of their money. Placing the bills and coins in a Ziploc bag isn’t going to cut it. Make sure your gift receivers have some Air-Tite holders for their coins, or some BCW currency holders for their paper currency. And if you’re giving some pirate themed currency, make sure you top it off with a Skull & Crossbones pouch!

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on