In the coin hobby, many new collectors believe that the older the coin is, the higher its value. This is not always the case, however, as there are many factors that contribute to a coin's value. Hopefully it comes as no surprise that those factors reach far beyond simply the age of the coin. To illustrate this point, let's talk about... dinosaur teeth.
According to carbon dating and scientists, dinosaur teeth are millions of years old. Yet, you can easily buy authentic dinosaur teeth, used by dinosaurs millions of years ago to devour their prey or chew on flora, for under $10 each!
How does this relate to coins?
Similarly, today there are coins that are over a century old that can be purchased very inexpensively. As an example, a worn circulated Indian Cent from the 1890s can be purchased for just a few dollars each.
Now consider a much more recent coin, such as the 1974-D Aluminum Cent that was recently discovered. This rarity is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars (we'll soon find out just how much when it hits the Heritage Auction block at the Central States Coin Show in April). In this example, rarity clearly outranks age.
Keep in mind that there are many variables that contribute to a coin's value. These can include the date, mint mark of a coin, its condition, its rarity, its popularity, availability, composition, series, the buyer and the salesmanship of the seller.
So if you ever wondered why dinosaurs roamed the earth, now you know. They were here to teach coin collectors one important lesson. That is... age doesn't always equal value!