majority of people who collect coins do so for the enjoyment of the hobby.
However, some collectable coins can be expensive. People who are new to coin
collecting should spend some time getting basic information about the value of
coins before they start buying them.
demand control the value of all items, coins are no exception. To be valuable a
coin must be rare. However, for a given type of coin, the condition of the coin
is crucial in determining value. For example, a New Zealand 1935 threepence, in
uncirculated condition (put aside at the time of issue) is worth 10 times a
1935 threepence that was circulated (in our small change) for 30 years or more.
relates more to “wear and tear” than it does to appearance. A clean, shiny coin
is worthless if it is badly worn. Coins should not be polished and should only
be cleaned by experts (and then, only in unusual circumstances).
New Zealand decimal currency coins
few rare decimal currency coins. The most recent example is the 2004 5-cent
coin. Although 15,000,000 coins were made, an unknown number of coins (but
certainly less than 10,000) were issued for circulation. The first sale of the
coin on Trade-Me, on 8 August 2006, generated huge interest and a sale price of
$360. Subsequent publicity saw 50-100 coins put up for sale. Prices were
above $100 in mid August 2006, despite the large number of competing auctions, but subsequently more were found in an overseas dealer's stock and prices are well down.
This coin is still scarce in comparison with other modern New
Zealand circulating coins. It will remain a collector’s item.
recent interest are the 2005, 10, 20, and 50 cent circulated coins. These coins
are available in a “Small change” set that was issued by NZ Post (the sets sold
out rapidly; they also contain the new smaller coins). Five thousand sets were
issued, and they contain identical coins to those in circulation. Because of
this, the value of the individual coins will always be linked to the value of
the Small Change sets. The sets have sold for $100 or more. Individual coins
have also been auctioned. Sales prices have ranged from about $5 (50 cent coin)
to $100 (10 cent coin). These coins will remain collectable. Estimated numbers
released (but not necessarily for circulation) are: 10 cent, 28,000; 20 cent,
178,000; 50 cent, 503,800. These numbers include 5,000 in each case for the
“Small change” sets. Of course, most the coins released were returned to banks,
and will have now been destroyed.
rare decimal coins are:
- No date (1967) 2 cent “Bahamas
mule”: “Bahama Islands” instead of “New Zealand”;
- 1967 5 cent, “No sea”: Lines
representing the sea missing to the right of the tuatara;
- 1967 5 cent, “No tail”: Small
triangular area of tail under the tuatara’s chin missing;
- 1971 10, 20, 50 cent,
circulated: Differ slightly from those in sets. Only rare in
- 1967 50 cent, “dot over 1”: A
dot over the “1” in “1967”.
other minor “varieties”, e.g., many of the 1999 5 cent coins have an
unfortunate “wart” on the Queen’s nose (strictly speaking these are error coins
rather than a variety – there was no intention to alter the design).
are of interest to some collectors, e.g., blanks that were not stamped
properly, or, for example, 10-cent blanks which were stamped with a 50-cent
die. These can fetch in excess of $100.
As well as
circulated coins, there are presentation year sets available. These generally
contain additional coins that were never released for circulation. Such higher
denomination coins can also be bought individually. For example, there is
actually a series of New Zealand $10 coins. The year sets can be obtained in
two different grades: brilliant uncirculated and proof. Proof coins are works
of art, made from polished blanks which are individually stamped more than once
to achieve a coin of the highest quality. Brilliant uncirculated coins are
produced in a similar fashion to circulated grade coins. However, much more
care is taken in their production and they have a higher quality finish than
normal circulated coins. Depending on the mint which produces them, they may
actually be stamped more than once.
collectors believe that most value is obtained from collecting only circulated
coins and they avoid presentation packs. However, there are many collectors who
appreciate the beauty of the higher quality coins, and some of the presentation
packs, particularly those in recent years, are highly sought after and can be
hard to obtain.
Care of coins
care. Hold by the rim. Do not polish coins. Only clean them if you are an
expert. Use non-reacting “Mylar” plastic flips to store your coins, even if you
use a coin album. Never store coins in damp conditions.
Where to get information
several experts who will help out on the “Collectors Forum” message board on
TradeMe. But not everyone on TradeMe is an expert. Your best source of
information is a coin club or society. Buy a recent catalogue to get an idea of
value. Note, however, that catalogues show retail prices (these are not
what a dealer will pay you!).
collector should visit the Reserve Bank website for information on mintage
numbers and some history on New Zealand currency. The NZ Post website is a good
place to see what the latest coin issues are.
To find out
about how coins are made, visit the website of the Royal Australian Mint (who
have made many of New Zealand’s coins).
Bank, notes and coins
message board, Collectors Forum
New Zealand Coin Collectors Association (an online club)
See our links pages for more numismatic links.