Quite simply, a “cull coin” is any coin with flaws or in generally poor condition. Some collectors see cull coins as undesirable, while others find them an attractive option and worthy investments despite their impurities.
Here, we will take a look at what cull coins are as well as how and why collectors choose to invest in these flawed pieces.
Cull Coin Characteristics
As stated above, a cull coin refers to coins that present flaws. This term applies regardless of a coin’s design or the material used to create it, meaning that the term is not limited to a few specific coins. Also, the term “cull coin” may be applied to coins with a variety of defects. These defects may include:
- Scratches (minor or severe)
- Bent coins
- Tonal variances
- Severe retooling
- Signs of corrosion
- Other severe marks
On the Sheldon Scale, cull coins typically fall somewhere between Basal State/Poor (1) and Fair (2).
Circulated and Uncirculated Cull Coins
Just as there are differences between circulated and uncirculated coins, so are there differences in their cull versions.
Circulated coins are used as currency, while uncirculated are those that have not. Circulated cull coins are likely to have much more severe defects compared to uncirculated ones. Circulated cull coins generally have greater distortion in images and deeper scratches than their uncirculated counterparts. Uncirculated cull generally have minor flaws caused by manufacturing error since these coins were never in general circulation.
Experts use a different standard when grading circulated and uncirculated cull coin.
While cull coins have varying degrees of damage, they still retain their inherent metal value. For example, if you have purchased a damaged gold coin, it will always at least be worth the spot price value for its gold or silver composition.
Cull coins are sold, however, at lower premiums than undamaged versions. This means that coins valued for their design or historical value can be bought more cheaply than uncirculated or undamaged versions, which makes them attractive to collectors and investors with a restrictive budget.
Coin Care: Making Sure Your Coins do not Become Cull Coins
While purchasing coins already in cull condition may be an attractive option for collectors, turning already pristine coins into cull coins definitely is not.
It is recommended that coin collectors refrain from cleaning their coins. Cleaning can damage or take away from a coin’s original condition and decrease its numismatic value. Additionally, excessive cleaning can also create a cull coin out of a higher grade coin.
Instead of cleaning, it is recommended that you properly store your coins to avoid any damage to your coin.
Further reading: 6 Rules for Properly Handling your Precious Metal Coins
The Bottom Line
When it comes down to it, cull coins are great investment opportunities for collectors who are on a budget or are not concerned with the appearance of their investment. The precious metals that make up cull coins are still worth at least spot price, making them great investments.
While cull coins can be a great investment, most dealers do not carry substantial amounts in their inventory or actively seek cull coins to sell. However, if you are interested in cull coins as investments, Provident Metals has options for you.
For more information about investing in fine metals and coinage, check out our Knowledge Center - including: Which Type of Coin Collector are You?