One of my favorite online resources is Coinflation.com, a site that will show you the metal value of United States and Canadian coins. The site has calculators to find the value of silver and base metal coins.
I really like the Coinflation calculators because it takes into consideration the value of all of the metals in the coin. So if you have a U.S. coin that is 90-percent silver and 10-percent copper, the calculated value includes that 10-percent copper. Comparatively, adding the value of the copper will not significantly increase the value of the coin, but if you have an obsessive curiosity streak, this will satisfy your inescapable need to know.
On July 19, I received a press release from Collector’s Universe and PCGS, owners of Coinflation, announcing the availability for the Coinflation App for Apple iOS devices. I immediately went to the iTunes App Store and downloaded the app to my iPhone and iPad to give it a test drive.
First and foremost, you cannot argue with the price: FREE. As a free download, you have to put up with some amount of advertising. In this case, the app will display eBay listings relevant to the type of calculation performed. These ads are part of the eBay affiliates program where money is paid for impressions and click-throughs. You can decide for yourself how much to support the development of this app.
When you start the app, there is no splash screen, or what I refer to as someone’s ego trip. The app starts right up with the up to date silver and gold prices and four calculator options for U.S. Silver Coins, U.S. Base Metal Coins, Silver Scrap, and Gold Scrap. There is a circular arrow on the top-right of the screen to refresh the price data.
The first thing that I noticed is the silver and gold scrap calculators which are not available on the website. When you enter the scrap calculator, you can enter the amount of metal you have, the current price will be filled in, and then you can select the purity. For gold, the purity is provided in karats, silver is one of three choices of .999+ pure, sterling silver (.925) and coin silver (.900). Lower silver values are not available.
A nice feature is that you can tap the “selected unit” button and get a popup of weights you can use for the calculations, so you are not limited to one. For silver, you have to know that Avoirdupois Ounce is the English system that we use on a daily basis. This will allow you to put your silver on a home scale to learn what your metals are worth. For some reason, this option is not available for gold.
Enter your metal weight and press the “Calculate” button at the bottom of the screen and you know what the metal value of your gold or silver is worth. A nice touch is that the line with the value is highlighted in yellow, so your eye can be directed to the information easily.
Two taps on the back arrow at the top of the screen will bring you back to the home screen. Maybe in a future version, there will be a “Home” button to bring you directly back to the home page.
The silver and base metal coin calculators are much the same as on the website but in a format for the iPhone. To select the coin, spin the virtual wheel on the bottom half of the screen. On top is the type of coin you selected and a nice, clear image of the coin reportedly from PCGSCoinFacts.com. Enter the number of coins and press the “Calculate” button and get the melt value highlighted in yellow.
For base metal coins, you will enter the face value of the coins. The resulting screen will tell you the melt value highlighted in yellow and the basis for the calculations. I was surprised that 8 Sacagawea Dollars have only 48-cents of metal in them. I thought it would be a little more!
For a version 1.0 app, it is very well done app and one that I will continue to use. Future improvements I would like to see is a home button to jump directly back to the home page, a calculator or reference to gold coin values as available on the website, and an expansion into foreign coins—at least the ones on the website.
Another change I would like to see is for it to be a native iPad app. If you load it on the iPad, it will run in compatibility mode meaning it will get lost in the middle of a big screen or pixelate (not look as smooth) when running it at double size. As an iPad app, it could provide more information, such as the total breakdown of metal values for War Nickels, and better interact with an external keyboard.
Even with these flaws, I grade this app as MS66 with room for improvement. Adding some of the reference information and becoming a native iPad app are the improvements I think are most important. This does not mean I am deleting this app. I will be using it while waiting for the improvements.