Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ addresses the most common queries asked by site visitors. It also provides information about the site's purpose and design. If your question isn't listed, or if you have a suggestion for another FAQ entry, please let us know with the Contact Form.

General
What's the purpose of CoinArchives.com?
CoinArchives.com is a repository for coin auction catalogs in the digital domain. Its goal is to make entire auction catalogs, including textual lot descriptions, images, and prices realized, available to Internet users after each auction's completion.
What is CoinArchives Pro?
CoinArchives.com gives you free access to all auction data added to the database in the last six months. To access older data, along with advanced search tools and other improved features, you can subscribe to CoinArchives Pro, our service for professionals and researchers.
What kind of coins do you archive?
The focus of the site is on catalogs issued by some of the most prestigious coin firms in the world. As such, coins from these sales tend to be of high quality, value, and collector interest. CoinArchives.com might not be the best place for researching very common or low cost coins.
Why does CoinArchives exist?
In the last 10-15 years, most of the major coin auction firms have begun posting online versions of their catalogs. These online catalogs usually offer the same high quality photos and lot descriptions as their paper counterparts. Typically, after each auction, coin firms remove their auction data from the Web. The goal of CoinArchives.com is to prevent the loss of this valuable digital information by preserving and storing it for future use.
I'm having trouble searching the database. Do you have any tips?
Yes, several! See the Search Tips page. The CoinArchives.com search engine isn't hard to use, but it is strict. Individual terms separated by and or not usually work best (rather than phrases). Be careful when choosing your search terms, and remember that most of the database content isn't in English. See the section called "The Language Barrier" on the Search Tips page.
Coin Identification/Valuation
Can you identify my coin?
We don't provide coin identification or valuation services. If you need detailed research or require an authoritative source, you might try contacting one of CoinArchives.com's contributing firms.
I know nothing about my coin. Can your site help me?
You need at least some concrete information about your coin to use CoinArchives.com. Try to read any words that might be written on your coin and type them into the search engine exactly as they appear. You might be able to find a similar coin based on the resulting photos.
I want to sell a coin. Will you make me an offer?
No. CoinArchives does not sell coins or act as a broker. If you're interested in selling a coin, try contacting a coin firm directly.
Auctions
How do you decide which auctions you'll archive?
A certain auction must meet several requirements before we can archive it. The auction must be of high quality and issued by a reputable firm. It has to be available in an electronic format that I can process and import. I also must have permission from the firm that produced the auction (for copyright reasons).
Your auction archive doesn't include many old sales. What about previous auctions?
Online auction catalogs are a relatively new thing in the world of numismatics. Although we'd love to include every auction issued by all major firms, much of this information simply isn't available in an electronic format (and never was).
Why don't you have any auctions from [insert firm here]?
We'd like to include as many auctions as possible. If you would like to suggest a firm that we should consider, please contact us. Keep in mind, though, that technical reasons occasionally prevent us from including certain auctions.
What does the three-letter abbreviation after each price realized mean?
The three-letter abbreviation stands for a currency:
  • USD = United States Dollar
  • EUR = Euro
  • DEM = Deutsche Mark
  • CHF = Swiss Franc
  • FRF = French Franc
  • GBP = Great Britain Pound
A good site for currency conversion is www.xe.com.
I've found an error in an auction lot description. Will you fix it?
The vast majority of lot descriptions in CoinArchives.com are written by experts and checked for accuracy before publication. However, errors do inevitably occur. To preserve the integrity of the CoinArchives database, we don't correct any original lot descriptions after a sale date has passed. Why? Because we want to preserve a true archive of the material the auction firms produce, just like a library would do.
Does the price realized for each lot include the buyer's fee?
No. Prices realized are just the hammer prices achieved at an auction. As such, they don't reflect any post-sale fees. Most firms charge a buyer's fee, which can be a considerable cost to keep in mind when bidding in auctions. Currently, the buyer's fee in many auctions is 15-20% of the hammer price, but this number can change and differs among auction houses. Also keep in mind that firms typically add bank, credit card, shipping, and insurance fees to your invoice. Check each firm's Web site and carefully read their conditions of sale before bidding.
Copyright Issues
Can I use some images from CoinArchives.com for my publication/Web site/research paper?
We don't own the copyright for any of the material in the CoinArchives database, so don't have the authority to let you use it. You need to contact the firm that originally produced the material and ask them for permission. Most firms are more than happy to allow the use of their material for non-commercial purposes.
Interface
How does your search engine work?
The search engine tries to match a user's query with text in coin lot descriptions (as taken from online catalogs). Please see our search tips page for a complete explanation with examples.