The popular online forum Reddit is littered with uninformed opinions and internet "hot takes"—on just about every subject imaginable. Nonetheless, it's also the near-ubiquitous "front page of the internet." Millions of us consult at least one or many of its endless sub-forums on a daily basis.

But how reliable is the coin collecting information on this widely trafficked website? Many Reddit users will start a thread with photographs of coins they have found or inherited and ask the community how much the coin is worth. Should you trust the information found in the replies?

The short answer is no. You must take the information you find on Reddit with a big grain of salt. Let's explore why.

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There are better sources for coin pricing than

Reddit Answers Are Crowdsourced

Look, Reddit is a totally fine place to start an inquiry into a coin’s value. At times you will find helpful and correct information from experienced coin collectors on Reddit.

Nonetheless, it’s only a starting point. It can serve as the beginning of your investigation, but should not be the end.

When you solicit coin collecting information on Reddit, you’re essentially “crowdsourcing” your research. While that will occasionally surface some useful info, it’s highly prone to error.

Think about it: If you had a question about finance or medicine, would you just ask 100 random people on the street? That’s basically what you’re doing when you pose a question on the internet. Make no mistake, numismatics is a niche subject that requires years to master.

In all fairness, yes, some Reddit users are legitimately coin experts. There are numismatists and coin collecting aficionados among them. But you are rolling the dice that one of these experts replies to your question.

More often you will find answers that reflect personal sentiment rather than any professional expertise. You should also beware of community bias: Just because a group of people all believe something, that doesn't necessarily make it true.

Beware of Incorrect Information

We live in an age of rampant misinformation. As shoddy data and even outright lies proliferate across the web, it becomes much harder to discern fact from fiction. Purported coin prices on Reddit are not immune from this.

Unless they have professional credentials, respondents to posts on Reddit are unfortunately liable to rely on hearsay, personal opinion, or misinformation. (Many myths exist within the coin collecting hobby!) They will very likely offer an inflated price for your coin. Let's look at a few examples.

reddit coin value

This post is representative of many coin-related questions on Reddit.

For the post above in the subreddit r/Coins, there is a huge grey area of nuance in making an appraisal. It's pretty straightforward to look up the "book value" of a 1922 Peace dollar graded AU-58, which is the grade this coin received from Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). In fact, the PCGS website has a handy price guide that puts the value for this particular coin between $48–$50.

However, the added piece of paper claims this coin is a special variety known as VAM-8, with a doubled die obverse on Lady Liberty's tiara. Again, the PCGS price guide reckons the VAM-8 version of the coin is worth closer to $80–$90.

The point is that the photograph provided is insufficient to determine if the coin is indeed the variety claimed. Normally, such a designation would be printed on the PCGS label inside of the coin holder. The fact that it isn't is suspect.

Another important point here is that, not only do different price guides offer somewhat different values for the same coin, but not all coins of the same type, date, and grade are valued exactly the same! Other considerations such as eye appeal and pedigree can greatly influence a coin's value to a prospective collector.

Here is an even trickier example with a Morgan silver dollar:

reddit fake coin

Do you believe you can determine a coin's authenticity from a photograph?

I don't know about you, but unless something is way off visually, it's nearly impossible for me to determine a coin's authenticity (and thus its price) simply from a photo. When professional coin graders at PCGS or Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) evaluate a coin, they do so in person. They are able to hold the coin in their hand. They also inspect it under magnification. All of these practices are necessary.

The coin collecting subreddits are littered with threads asking if a coin is fake, or what grade a coin would get. Even when armed with reference materials and clear photographs, determining a coin's condition (which is what a numeric grade indicates) is a rather inexact science, to say the least. The exercise becomes even more subjective when it's done by amateurs.

Trust Experts and Real Data When Valuing Coins

As mentioned earlier, there's nothing wrong with consulting Reddit to get some general information about a coin. However, you will probably be terribly disappointed if that's where your research ends. You're better served by seeing what experts have to say about a coin's value.

What are the alternatives to asking non-experts on the internet? I suppose you could consult an artificial intelligence tool. Keep in mind that all of our AI chatbots are trained on data from the internet that could be equally wrong! So that option is merely a shortcut to the same dead end.

Sadly, there aren't a lot of simple answers and shortcuts when it comes to properly appraising coins. You will need to combine research with the numismatic expertise of a professional. Finding data such as past auction results for similar coins or comparing recent "Sold Item" prices on eBay will give you a better estimate than asking the Reddit crowd.

Still, these methods will only give you a rough approximation. At the end of the day, what your specific coin is worth comes down to what an interested collector is willing to pay for it. Full stop.

Read more about the hobby of coin collecting from the expert authors at Gainesville Coins:

How To Sell Silver Coins For Profit

Coin Glossary: Most Important Coin Collecting Definitions

What Are Coin Mint Marks? All About Mint Marks

Most Asked Questions About US Mint Coins: Buyer's Guide

How To Sell Your Coin Collection

How to Buy Junk Silver Coins: Complete Guide

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Everett Millman

Everett Millman

Managing Editor | Analyst, Commodities and Finance

Everett has been the head content writer and market analyst at Gainesville Coins since 2013. He has a background in History and is deeply interested in how gold and silver have historically fit into the financial system.

In addition to blogging, Everett's work has been featured in Reuters, CNN Business, Bloomberg Radio, TD Ameritrade Network, CoinWeek, and has been referenced by the Washington Post.