If you are a beginning coin collector, or even an experienced collector, you may be wondering what numismatic/coin magazine or numismatic newspaper you should subscribe to. The first question is whether you want a weekly or a monthly. While you may find you need both, the purpose of this article will be to examine the monthlies. Specifically, we will examine COINS magazine, COINage and Coin Values. There are other publications dedicated to just price information such as COIN Prices which are not in the scope of this article. Note: While Coin Values, provides price information, it also contains feature articles where as Coin Prices, is strictly pricing information with various advertising.
All three magazines offer feature articles about different coins and coin collecting. And as one might expect, some of the same writers appear in more than one magazine. Many of the articles published in the magazines are not staff writers, but outside writers/collectors that make a few bucks on a published article. This by no means implies poor quality of articles; in fact, the contributions by the outside writers are excellent sources of information. With that in mind, let’s look at the publications in detail.
Coin Price Data Comparison
If you are looking for monthly coin price information, the three publications differ slightly. For example, COINS offers a Comprehensive price guide with mintage figures and has prices for most lower grades, but in mint state, COINS only reports only MS60 and MS65. Early coins, two, three and twenty cent pieces are published quarterly. Each quarter, the magazine includes a different feature such as colonial, Mexican, Canadian or Paper Money prices. Quarterly issues have nearly 70 pages of coin values with no advertising on the pages. Regular issue contains 20 pages of coin values (no advertising). Some issues show various grades for each series.
Coinage also provides a comprehensive guide for all US coins but does NOT include mintage figures. Coinage provides a better breakout on ranges showing MS60, MS63, MS64, MS65 and sometimes MS67 and MS68 depending on the coin. Coinage also has more Proof pricing. Coinage provides 65 pages of price information but each page is nearly 1/2 advertising.
Coin Values provides a smaller guide showing only key dates for some series (no Lincoln Cent, Jefferson Nickel, Roosevelt Dime pricing in the issue I reviewed.) No mintage figures but shows pricing for wider group of MS and PR than COINS.
Coin Dealer Comparison
If you are looking for coin dealers, COINage and COIN VALUES seems to have more advertisers. In fact, when comparing December issues, COINage had 97 advertisers listed in their index, COIN Values had 80 advertisers while COINS had only 60. On the other hand COINS magazine has a classified section catering to smaller dealers while the other two do not. Very often, if you find a small dealer selling what you need, you might get a better deal. It is interesting to note that while COINage had more advertisers listed, it also had the least amount of pages as shown below. It seemed every page had an ad of some sorts. In regards to advertisers, as one might expect, some of the bigger dealers advertise in two or more of the publications while some dealers can only be found in a specific magazine.
Number of Pages Comparison
The number of pages in no way related to the quality of the content, but for comparisons sake, here the page counts for December issue:
COINS 130 pages
Coin Values 130
One of the more interesting features found exclusively in COINS is the COIN FINDS section. This is where your every day collectors can write in and brag about what older coin they found in circulation. While finding a rare coin in circulation is quite rare, it is interesting to read about what other collectors have found still in circulation.
Both COINS and COINage offer editorial commentary while Coin Values does not. Additionally COINS has several other features that give it the edge such as Q&A section and a specific coin focus (last page in COINS)
All three publications offer some Coin Market information.
In summary, my opinion is that COINS and Coinage offer substantial value while Coin Values offers less coin pricing info and less content. While offering less content, the content that is offered is good. Additionally, Coin Values does offer a cheaper subscription rate than the others. Additionally, in the issues that I reviewed for this article, COINS magazine seems to have more information that is of value and/or more interest to the average collector and is my personal favorite. Since I love reading about and learning more about coins, I subscribe to all three.
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