There are a bit of a controversy about the “alt coin list” and who has access to it. There have been several lists released over the past few years that purport to be a complete list of all coins and their respective values. But, in truth, only half the list is true.
Most lists will show you the list of current United States coins that are available for purchase. However, when you get to that point, there is another piece of information that is not shown. The bottom line is that you may find some coins that are being sold as specimens, but they are actually commemorative coins. This means that they have no real value and the seller is trying to make a quick buck.
So, what happens if you do find some gems on these lists? First, you must understand that there is no central organization that maintains this information. Instead, each state government is responsible for maintaining such a list. It is up to the states to decide whether or not to share this information with the public. The best practice is for the US Government to keep the information confidential and only give access to those people involved with the coin collection or grading.
When you look at the different elements that go into a complete alt coin list, the first thing you need to see is how they were created. Most lists are created by coin clubs or related organizations. These organizations work together to gather information about the different coins that they collect and report back to their central committee. The committees then work out the criteria for the “Alts” that are listed on their list. Each “Alte” will meet a certain standard of quality and appearance.
The “grading” process can be quite lengthy. For example, a coin might be graded from its original state (Mint condition) to the present state (Extremely Fine), back and forth. Another aspect of grading is that there might be a certain monetary value assigned to the coin depending on the condition it is in. There might also be a set monetary value that a coin is supposed to return to the owner in the event that it should be stolen or lost.
When a coin is added to a particular “alphabetical” list, it is changed to an “A”. The next factor that is used to determine the coin’s grade is rarity. This is a list that was created by individual collectors long before coin catalogs and lists were even created. A rare coin is one that is extremely difficult to find. Many people believe that they have a rare coin but in reality they do not. There is no central authority to verify or guarantee the existence of a rare coin.
Many times a collector will start out with a coin list and then wonder how to continue and develop their collection. The answer is to keep adding to the list and cross reference it. This is especially important for those who have spent time acquiring a large number of coins. They should then add to the older lists that have more recent information about them.
If a person has an incomplete and coin list then they might not be aware of some of the coins around the world that might still be available. A person can keep adding to the list but it is not going to be a complete list. In order to develop an accurate and comprehensive list a person should consult many different sources that are available. They should also ask as many people as possible about the coins they are considering buying.