Colorized coins are coins that have had a colorful design added to them, or coins in which the designs have been colored in. There are two primary classifications of colorized coins:
(1) Coins in which the colorized process has been added to an existing coin; and
(2) Coins in which the colorizing is part of the original design intention.
In addition to the two classifications of colorized coins, such coins come in several different types:
(a) Coins in which the colorized design has been applied via a decal or sticker which is glued or fused to the coin;
(b) Coins which are painted with enamel or acrylic-based paints; and
(c) Coins which are a hybrid of the two, in which a polymer-based inked decal is fused to the coin using high heat, which results in a coin that looks both painted and stickered.
Legitimate and Spurious Colorized Coins
Colorized coins can be classified into two types, as noted above. In class 1, the colorized process is applied to an existing coin, such as when State Quarters are colorized, or Presidential Dollars are made into Obama coins. These coins are spurious perversions of official issues, and they are numismatically worthless.
In class 2 are the coins that were always intended to be colorized, such as certain coins made by the Royal Canadian Mint or the Royal Australian Mint. These coins come out of national mints in colorized form, and are therefore considered to be legitimate numismatic collectibles.
A third category of colorized coin is the unofficial minted variety; coins which are struck from private dies and then colorized, such as coins made by the Franklin Mint or Bradford Exchange. Most of these coins will never be worth more than the bullion they contain (if any.)