How to Sell Silver Dollars

By Carmelo Montalbano

Selling silver dollars and getting top price means knowing the coin market and learning how to best distribute the coins. This article suggests modern magazines and the Internet to find current values. Selling coins is best done through coin dealers and Internet auction sites.

There have been seven different issues of American silver dollars. They are the Flowing Hair (1794), Draped Bust Small Eagle (1795), Draped Bust Large Eagle (1798), Gobrecht Silver Dollars (1836), Seated Liberty (1840), Trade Silver Dollars (1873), Morgan Silver Dollars (1878) and Peace Silver Dollars (1921). Since 1935, no American coin has been made of pure silver and alloy. The Eisenhower dollar was of a silver-clad copper manufacture.

Rank all silver dollars by date, quality, nationality, and condition. Use any of the online or magazine pricing guides to get estimates of value.

Review the grading system by which all coins trade. Details can be found in the Resources section but, generally, coin values rise proportionately to their ranking from good, to fine, to very fine to mint. Purchase hard plastic individual containers for storing and safekeeping. Morgan and Peace Dollars weighed almost 27 grams and were 38.1 millimeters in diameter. Silver dollars were 78 percent silver a dn 22 percent alloy. Go to on-line coin sellers and eBay auction websites and follow the prices of similar coins for sale. These prices should be close to the estimates found in the magazine sales.

Peruse the collection for rare dates, anomalies, cuts, wear, and scratches. Make your own general assumptions of the silver dollar's condition and worth. Do not clean the coins or attempt to alter their condition. To do so will leave tiny scratch marks which will degrade the luster. Using detergents or polish will begin to discolor and tarnish the coins within weeks. Be aware of any particular coin's popularity. Nearly all United States dollars trade higher than most Mexican and Canadian silver dollars.

Bring the silver dollars to a local dealer and see if he has estimates of buying any or all of the collection. Ask the dealer if you could obtain better prices if the dollars were "slabbed." Slabbed silver dollars are rated by experts for a fee and then enclosed in containers so as not to damage their condition or allow handling. Slabbed dollars, because of the expert rating, can bring higher prices, but the slab process will cost $50 or more. If the dealer is interested in any of the pieces, be prepared to bargain. Do not sell on the bid. He will negotiate by lowering the condition or quality of the silver dollars you offer. If pressured to sell, do not sell, but go to another dealer.

Decide what coins are best sold through the dealer network near you. Put coins on consignment if you do not need cash immediately. If your estimation of value is much higher than the dealer's, sell the coins on an online auction. Remember that you will have to go through the time and trouble to describe the coin, upload pictures and arrange receipt of payment.

About the Author

After an 18-year career on Wall Street as a trader of municipal and mortgage backed securities, Carmelo Montalbano developed a very large desktop trading application that managed more than 30 institutional portfolios. Technology and small business acquisitions continue to be his primary interest.