How to Sell Coin Collections

By Elizabeth Chaplin
your coin collection, research, knowledge, pricing
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Selling your coin collection can be lucrative if you know how and where to sell. Although you typically will not get the full book value for your coins, there are several outlets that pay large amounts, depending on the rarity of the coins. There are also a few different ways to prepare your coin collection to make it easier for dealers and auctioneers to determine pricing.

Preparation

Step 1

Sort your coins, separating the common dates from the less common dates. It’s also a good idea to separate rare or valuable coins from the rest of your collection. This will make determining pricing for rarer coins easier for dealers, who often do not have the time to sort through every coin in the collection.

Step 2

Consult a coin pricing guide, such as the National Coin Grading Service (see Resources), to get the retail value of the coins. It is good practice to understand coin pricing before attempting to sell a collection.

Step 3

Discount the value of each coin by at least 35 to 40 percent. Retail coin shops purchase collections wholesale so they can turn a profit. This is not being “ripped off,” but a normal part of the coin business.

Selling

Step 1

Take your coins to an auction house if you find that the coins in your collection have values of over $50 each. A typical auction house will take a 15 percent cut of the total auction price of the collection. Auction houses market rare coins, giving your collection more exposure and more likely buyers.

Step 2

Visit a bid board associating with an established coin shop. This is an online board where coin collections are displayed and sold. Potential buyers can post on the board with offers for up to two weeks at a time. Keep in mind that the dealer will take a cut of the final profits. Talk to the dealer first to determine the percentage he will take from the price of the coins.

Step 3

Find a coin dealer who will work on a consignment basis. This allows you to set the minimum amount you want to sell your collection for and lets the dealer make more money from selling large sets of coins. This is a much slower process than an auction, and you could be waiting for the collection to sell for a long time.

Step 4

Go to a coin show and offer bidding on your collection. Shows will bring many people interested in purchasing rare coin collections, so bids are typically quick and reasonable. Check to see if coin shows in your area also are associated with an auction.

Step 5

Auction your coins online with reputable, coin-specific auctions such as Teletrade and Roy Reynolds (see Resources). Non-coin specific online auction sites are also an option, but keep in mind that you may not receive the full value of your coin collection.