As an established Coin collector and seller on ebay, it does irritate me seeing other peoples` listings, whereby they describe very common Irish coins as "RARE"
Just because the seller states "RARE" in the title, doesnt mean it is actually rare.....often enough these sellers use the word "rare" to coax new collectors,and buyers with little knowledge of Irish coins into buying them.....at at silly prices.
For you, the buyer, there are some things you MUST do BEFORE YOU BID if your knowledge is limited.....
1. Search for other coins of the same denomination, date and condition on ebay, and see what they are currently going for........
---for example ---
A 1928 irish penny in average grade is very common, and not rare at all......as 9 MILLION were made!
A 1928 Irish Penny in GEM UNC RED....could be described as rare, as its harder to find this coin in this condition.
2. Do some research, find out how many of these coins were made, by checking out the irishcoinage website, which also gives a "rough" idea of the value....NOTE...this is not the EXACT value of the coins, its merly a figure to go by....ebay market values differ alot compared to the rough value listed on the irishcoins website....some going for more on ebay and some going for less.....it all depends who is bidding, how many people are looking for that coin, at that particular time etc. BUT...I do find the irishcoins website to be very informative for those who have little knowledge of irish coins.
MY TIPS for when you are looking for that special Irish Coin :
- Dont just rush in and bid, just because the word "rare" is used....it takes less than a minute to study the picture.......if the picture is NOT clear, then run a mile!!
- If there is NO picture.....run a mile !!
- Generally, I personally would consider a coin with a mintage of less than 950,000 "scarce" if in average condition (average condition would be F-VF to me)
- If the mintage is less than 950k, then pay attention to the type of coin it is (florin, penny, shilling etc), the date, and the condition (should be clear enough to be able to judge). use the irishcoinage website to help you with the condition - there is a special page on their website which gives an example for each step in the grading system, and what to expect in the picture etc.
- For pre-1942 Irish florins,Halfcrowns and shillings, as these were minted using 75% silver, many of these coins were later melted down for their high silver content......from 1951 onward,as a result, the coins were made using a new metal - CuNi (cupro nickel)..........The pre-1942 silvers are usually easy enough to find in poor/lower grades, but are rare in the higher grades, as mintage numbers were low also.
- For pre-1940 Sixpences, and Threepences, many were also melted down, but for their Nickel content...when the nickel market prices began to rise....thus why the metal used in these coins changed to CuNi (mix of copper and nickel) after 1942. Pre 1940 examples are described as rare in the higher grades, when also reflecting on the mintage numbers.
- Farthings are increasingly hard to find, and rare in unc grades pre 1953.
- There are certain dates in the other coppers which are rare, esp in higher grades.
- The 1943 Halfcrown and florin are quite rare also, as are the error coins, including, the "MULE" halfcrown from 1961
- BUY FROM THOSE WITH CLEAR PICTURES, BUT....make sure the picture is NOT a stock photo, and that the coin you see in the listing is what you will receive if you win the auction!!! ( bad sellers seem to copy other peoples images....its happened to me,and makes me quite cross, as sellers like myself spend hours perfecting each picture and uploading it to ebay, so watch out for that! )......if the seller doesnt state that the image in the listing is the actual coin, then ASK before you bid!
I could have made this guide more extensive, but it is aimed not at the serious collector/buyer, this guide is for those who are not used to buying irish coins who may need one for a gift, or, for new collectors who are looking to collect irish coins.