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Key Dates, Semi-keys, etc...

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bobby131313
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6463 Posts
 Posted 04/11/2011  09:13 am Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add bobby131313 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

Is there a definitive list of what is and what isn't that most go by?

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 Posted 04/11/2011  09:27 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Wei Fun to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Semi-keys are the coins you can't find. Keys are the coins you can't afford even if you could find :)
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 Posted 04/11/2011  09:54 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GR58 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Most times it is just the lowest mintage for a series.

You also have to factor in availability, grade and other factors.

For example, In Lincoln cents the 1909 S vdb is considered the key.
But, IMO, a 1922 No D or 1955 double die would be harder to find and may cost
more in the higher grades.

Another example is Washington quarters, the 1932 D is considered the key.
The 1932 S has lower mintage, but being a S mint more seem to be have saved
by collectors back when they were first made. So depending on the grade
one can be higher then the other.

Best thing to do is look at a Red Book, it will show the mintage and prices.
By seeing which has the most value you can tell the keys for that series
Forum Dad
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 Posted 04/11/2011  10:07 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bobby131313 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I understand the concept, that's not really the question. The question is... Is there an industry standard somewhere that most go by.

Sure, I could get out the Red Book and go through the Coin Facts section on the site and mark what I think are keys and semi-keys based on mintage. But who the heck am I to decide?

I mean are the 5 lowest mintages keys and the next 5 semikeys? Are the top 5% lowest mintages keys and the next 5% semi-keys? Does there have to be a certain percentage drop off in mintage before the key designation stops and semi key starts?

I'm certainly not qualified to make these decisions. Who is and have they done it?
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 Posted 04/11/2011  10:16 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mycrob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Can't go solely on mintage. Seated dimes have many low mintage dates that are not considered keys, because there is not enough collector interest. So no buying pressure.

I think you take a series and look at a combination of mintage and availability along with collector interest and these all are important factors. There are also conditional rarities- common in low grades, but key or semi-key in higher grades- many Buffalo nickels fit this, some Morgan dollars also fit this.

I think in some cases, key dates are overpriced due to apparent scarcity that really doesn't exist, but the seller just doesn't want to sell it below a certain price. So many eBay auctions on keys/semi-keys anymore are buy-it-nows for inflated prices.


Here are some that I would consider key dates (not all-inclusive):

Cent: 77 Indian, 09S Indian, 09S VDB, 14D, 31S
Nickels: 13S Type 2 Buff, 21S, 50D Jeff (thought mintage is not super scarce- this may be an example of an over-hyped key)
Dimes: 16D Mercury
Quarters: 16 standing liberty; 32 D, 32S Washington
Halves: 21P 21D Walking Liberty halves
Dollars: 89CC Morgan, 93S Morgan, 94P Morgan, 28 Peace

Here are some that I would consider semi-key dates (not all-inclusive):

Cents: 08S Indian, 09S Lincoln (might be considered a key), 24D
Nickel: 26S Buff (lowest mintage, but apparently saved enough), 31S Buff (2nd lowest mintage, also saved)
Dime: 21P & 21D Mercury, 96-W Roosevelt
Quarter: 27-D and 27-S Standing Liberty
Half: 38-D Walker; 70D JFK
Dollar: Most of the CC Morgans, 21 Peace (could be considered key by many)
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 Posted 04/11/2011  10:23 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add SDcoinguy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
i dont know if there is a definite list. I am sure if you did more research on google or contact your local coin shop they might be able to give/make you a list. good question.

i wonder if keys/semi keys change over time. for example one mentioned Seated dimes. although many are low mintage, under 1 million, I wonder, what would then determine a key/semi key date in that regard
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 Posted 04/11/2011  10:32 am  Show Profile Check Prethen's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Prethen to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I think there was a thread like this before listing out all the semi-keys. There's tons, especially in virtually all of the 19th century series'.
Specializing in 2-3-20 cent pieces and 19th Century Proofs
Did someone mention 3CN?
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 Posted 04/11/2011  10:43 am  Show Profile Check SsuperDdave's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add SsuperDdave to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Is there a definitive list of what is and what isn't that most go by?


In terms of easy public availability, all issues in one place, no. The closest thing are the TPG Registry Set definitions - you determine keys by point value assigned.

There are hundreds (thousands?) of people who could accurately list their particular specialty off the tops of their heads, and many of them have already done so repeatedly at dozens of websites, here included. But all in one spot? Nope.

The solution is simple, and obvious.
The best thing about a bicycle is that it uses no gasoline, therefore the chance of fiery death is greatly reduced.

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 Posted 04/11/2011  11:42 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add delaner to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
! Dave, does that mean somebody might be making one?

It wouldn't take that long to run through a Red Book and pick them out. If you need help with the list, let me know and I'll do some! =)
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 Posted 04/11/2011  12:31 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rjkingston to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I don't know if there's an industry standard as much as collectors of each coin type have a consensus on which are the keys and semi-keys in the set.

For me, I've listed in a spreadsheet all regular issue US coins from 1793 to 2011. If it's value at grade G passes $100, it's a key to me That does make a lot of 18th and 19th Century coins keys, I have that spreadsheet list if anyone wants.
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 Posted 04/12/2011  9:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add just carl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
As to a list of what is a key and what is a semi key coin, no such thing exists at all. You have to remember that such terms are what dealers usually use to justify their prices on coins. The quantity minted, grade, availability all mean nothing really. Mostly it's all popularity.
Examples are such coins as the 1931D Mercury dime with the 4th lowest quantity in the series minted. Yet no big value as with the 21 or 21D. Popularity.
The 1931S Lincoln Cent is another example of no popularity interest so although very low mintage, no big thing in values.
Then look at the 1955 Lincoln Cent Double Die. There are Double Dies in almost every year of the Lincoln Cent yet except for the 72 and the 83 reverse, not much is said about any of them. Popularity.
There are many coins like that where popularity makes them what they are and there is no list except in the minds of dealers.
Such things are true of many items all over the world I suppose.
With cars everyone wants a 1957 Chevy Convertible and it sells for a fortune. Yet many other cars have much lower quantities made and no interest compared to the Chevy. Example is a 1962 Chrysler 300 Convertible with only 123 made. So what, no one wants those. No popularity. I've got a car that only about 477 were made and probably couldn't sell it for the price of new tires. No popularity. Looks like this:

just carl
Edited by just carl
04/12/2011 9:09 pm
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