Assessing the Value of Your Military Coins: A Reference Guide for Collectors
Military coins have soared in popularity in recent years. While once only popular in military circles, the collectability of these coins has made them sought after items by historical, military, and general memorabilia collectors worldwide. It has become increasingly common to see military challenge coins being sold in collectors’ shops and auctions across the United States, and around the world.
Collectable military coins can sell for as much as thousands of dollars, or as little as ninety-nine cents. The significant range in value between these coins depends on a variety of different determining factors that are also used to assess other kinds of collectible items. These determining factors include:
• Sentimental value
While some of these factors are more influential than others in assessing the collectible and resale value of military coins, they all have an impact when determining challenge coin pricing.
The rarity of certain military coins can be evaluated by asking the following questions:
• How many were made?
• How many are still in existence?
Coins with limited or exclusive manufacturing runs are usually some of the most difficult to find. These military coins are, in general, the most coveted due to how enormously difficult it is to find them. As such, they are also some of the most valuable, and command very high prices when put up for sale.
As with other collectible items, some older military coins are considered to be highly valuable due to the limited number left in existence. While these coins carried significant sentimental value and purpose to those awarded them, they may not have carried the same value to those who received them as part of an estate. Because military coins were not widely collected in the past, they did not carry the same monetary value. As such, they may have been lost or discarded, making them very difficult to find, and highly valuable to collectors in today’s market.
Not all military coins are considered to be equally significant. In general, the significance of these coins can be determined based on either the unit for which the challenge coin was made, or the rank of the officer or official that gave out the coin. The greater the significance of the coin, the more it is worth.
For example, the Bulldog challenge coin is one of the most coveted and valuable of military coins. The coin was distributed to B-52 gunners in World War II, and represented strength and courage. Because the gunner position no longer exists, the bulldog challenge coin has not been manufactured for some time. It is rarely seen for sale, as most families of the B-52 gunners have used it as an heirloom to represent the person’s legacy rather than sell it on the open market.
Military coins for other units are also highly coveted due to their significance, and are thus more valuable. An example of one of the more highly coveted significant coins is that which is made for the Black Ops unit.
The value of a military challenge coin also greatly depends on the rank of the officer or official that distributes it. For example, coins given out by the Secretary of Defense or President carry exceptional value.
The condition of a collectible is always considered to be an important factor in determining value, regardless of the industry. Military coins that are in better condition tend to be worth more than those in fair or poor shape. With military collector coins, the condition is evaluated based on whether or not it has scratches, or any other noticeable defects in its appearance. Coins that have holes drilled into them or have a badly scratched surface are not considered to be overly valuable due to their less than stellar condition.
Perhaps more than any other collectible, most military coins have an unparalleled amount of sentimental value. The coins signify the blood, sweat, and tears of those in the military. For those that were active members during times of war, these coins serve as a representation that they were able to make it out alive. As such, military challenge coins are often considered to be priceless in value to those that received them.
While not a major factor in determining value, the design of a coin can affect its popularity and thus have a minimal impact on pricing. Those that display their military coins may place a greater emphasis on design, and will likely pay more for those that are more intricate and appealing to the eye.