Collecting Canadian coins is an easy outgrowth to those who began their hobby collecting U.S. coins. Canada is right across the border, and the denominations, in many cases, are similar to U.S. coins. Selling Canadian coins can be done through coin shops or online auction sites such as eBay, which also is a good way to ascertain value based on what people are actually paying for similar coins.
Before You Sell, Do Your Homework
Before you sell, do your homework and find out the estimated value of your collection. Consult a coin book, such as the "Catalog of World Coins," from Krause Publications (see References below). An even better way is to scan the listings on eBay, the online auction site, and see what similar coins have sold for in the past. You can get a pretty good idea by looking at several weeks' worth of completed auctions.
Most coin shops will buy Canadian coins from collectors, but don't expect to make a mint--or even get anywhere close to the retail value you've found coins similar to yours selling for on eBay. Coin dealers, after all, are in this business to make money. The best course of action, advises Canadian Coin News, is to take a careful inventory of your collection, talk to several dealers, and then arrange a showing. "If they make an offer urge them to take all or nothing," the Canadian Coin News website advises. "A dealer will generally prefer to take only the desirable items, leaving you with the common ones that are difficult to sell."
Coin shows are regularly held all over the country, and this is a great opportunity for you to show your collection to a group of dealers who might be interested. If you get an offer from one but aren't happy with it, shop your collection around to other dealers. If you've got some good items--and remember to sell your collection as a whole, not letting dealers cherry pick--you just might trigger a bidding war among dealers, with you the primary beneficiary.
If you've got the time and patience to list your coins on eBay, by all means do so. You stand to get the highest price by dealing directly with collectors. But be sure you describe your coins accurately, both in description and condition. Ideally, take and post a photo. Put a realistic starting bid on each coin or groups of coins--again, see what other dealers have done--and see what happens.
Online Coin Dealers
You also might want to consider selling to an online dealer, like Coin Mercantile Exchange (see Resources below). But, again, don't expect top dollar unless you have a true rarity, such as a 1899 silver 50-cent piece that, as of 2009, was going for $2,500 on eBay.
- "Collecting Canadian Coins," by James C. Johnson Jr., the Journal of Antiques & Collectibles, June 2004
- 2008 Standard Catalog of World Coins 1901-2000 , by Colin R. Bruce, Krause Publications, 2007
Thomas K. Arnold is publisher and editorial director of "Home Media Magazine" and a regular contributor to "Variety." He is a former editorial writer for U-T San Diego. He also has written for "San Diego Magazine," "USA Today" and the Copley News Service. Arnold attended San Diego State University.