J. Austin

In the last issue, we discussed jewelry appraisals in detail. How do coin appraisals work in comparison to jewelry appraisals?

This may seem strange, but coin appraisals tend to be much closer to the actual value of the items they represent, than jewelry appraisals. Coins are an investment for many people and the appraisals are done more for the purpose of settling estates or tax purposes.

But why are coin appraisals more accurate?

Most coin appraisals are done by professional coin dealers, not part-time buyers or non-coin professionals. This makes a big difference. This is not to say the jewelry appraisers are not skilled; they simply are not going to stand behind their appraisal and buy the item at the appraised price, or even half of the appraised price. They see no reason to, because they clearly state on most appraisals: “not an offer to buy,” — rather it is an estimate to rebuild the item at the stated price if you lose your original.

Coin appraisals do not include the cost of reconstruction, because that would not only be illegal, it would be unnecessary; most coins were minted by the thousands or hundreds-of-thousands, so if one was lost or destroyed, it could easily be replaced with another.  The coin appraiser can look at current retail prices of the same coin(s) in the same condition – that is basically the appraised value.

Does this make coin buying a better value than jewelry buying?

For investment purposes the answer is yes, but not always.  If someone needs a one carat round diamond and a setting made, the labor and markup will be over half of the price tag, but you can’t exchange the look of that jewelry with a bunch of Morgan silver dollars. Try handing your bride to be a handful of silver dollars instead of a diamond ring and you will quickly see what I mean.

Why is the labor so high on retail jewelry?

Before I was in the jewelry business, I attempted to make my own ring and set stones in it without any formal training. If you try to make your own custom piece like I did when I was a teenager, you will become instantly conscious of why quality custom jewelry is so expensive. You are not just paying for raw materials, but also for someone’s expertise and creativity.

What are the best times to come in for an appraisal and how long does the process normally take?

If you are looking to sell a diamond ring or loose diamond you should come in on a Saturday or Monday; these are the days our diamond specialists are present. In fact on Saturdays, we have two in-house diamond buyers. Normally, an evaluation takes about 15 minutes. There is no charge for this service if you are selling your stone to us.

Where are you located?

Our main store is in Ashland at 1642 Ashland St., located beside Sauce in the Ashland Shopping Center and across from the Ashland Cinema and two doors down from Radio Shack. Our second location is in Grants Pass at 217 SE 6th St., near the corner of 6th and G, located between the large white building that houses Evangel Bookstore and King Jewelers. Both stores are easily recognized by the golden Shakespearian lions on the windows.

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Mark Hutto

J. Austin & Company is a coin, jewelry & diamond buyer located in Ashland Oregon. The company is currently run by the Grandson of J. Austin, Mark Hutto. Hours of operation are from 10:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Saturday.

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