Essential Information That You Must Know Before Selling Your Coins

Selling Coins
Morgan & Peace Silver Dollars

As a coin dealer, we interact with individuals on a regular basis that have different levels of knowledge when it comes to coins and bullion.  Many individuals that are new to coins are in search of how to get started, but the amount of resources online and otherwise can be quite overwhelming.  The purpose of this article is to provide newbie’s with basic information on how they can go about selling coins, coin collections or bullion.  In this article, we’ll address five of the most frequently asked questions that we receive and will seek to provide individuals with the information that they need to not only sell their coins and bullion, but to also maximize the value of their sale.

What a Coin Is and Isn’t

This may seem like a basic question, but the answer may surprise you.  Coins are government issued legal tender coinage that can be used to conduct transactions.  Some coins, such as the Italian Lira, Spanish Pesetas, and Greek Drachmas are considered obsolete currency since the introduction of the Euro, and are no longer accepted as legal tender.  While coins make up the greatest portion of the coin and bullion market, there are many widely recognizable privately minted bars, rounds and ingots that are in high demand.  Four of the largest producers of privately minted bullion are Pamp Suisse, Credit Suisse, Engelhard and Johnson Matthey, but there are plenty of other highly reputable bullion producers and manufacturers in existence.

How to Know if Your Coins are Valuable

This topic warrants an article in itself, but there are a few simple ways that you can tell if your coins are valuable or not.  First off, does your coin contain precious metals content such as gold, silver or platinum?  If so, then the coin has intrinsic value above and beyond the face value of the coinage.  Secondly, is your coin old?  Age doesn’t necessarily equate to value, but if you have U.S. coins minted in the 19th century, there’s a chance that the items in your possession have some value.  Lastly, what is the mintage or production number of your coin?  This can be the largest determining factor in the value of your coin.  Low mintage coins are typically sought by investors and collectors alike, who are willing to pay a premium for these items due to their rarity.

How to Determine the Value of Your Coins

This is one of the most difficult questions to answer, as it depends on several factors, including the prevailing price of gold, silver and platinum at the time of your transaction, current demand in the marketplace for your item, and if you have a rare or common date coin in your possession.  The prevailing price of gold, silver and platinum can be found on www.kitco.com.  Adjustments will need to be made to the price of your item based on the precious metals content.  It should also be noted that coins with a low purity of precious metals content are in less demand, and therefore sell at a lower price than higher purity items.  Much like different styles in fashion, trends in the coin market change over time, so you’ll need to determine if your coin is in high demand.  At the time of this posting, Morgan and Peace silver dollars and 90% silver dimes, quarters and half dollars are some of the most sought after coins.  To determine if you have a rare coin in your possession, considering picking up the most recent edition of the “The Official Blue Book: A Handbook of U.S. Coins.”  This guide provides the mintage of most U.S. minted coins as well as an approximate value of each.

How to Sell Your Coins

Once you’ve determined if you have coins or privately minted bars, rounds and ingots, if the items that you have in your possession are potentially valuable, and a general idea as to their value, the next step is to organize your coins, bars, and rounds by like items to assist with the evaluation and appraisal process.  Set aside any coins that you believe to be key date or low mintage coins that may sell at an additional premium.  If possible, it’s recommended that you prepare a spreadsheet that includes an itemized list of your coins, including the type, denomination, year and mintmark so that an experienced coin dealer can determine if the collection has little or substantial value.

Where to Sell Your Coins

Once you’ve followed the above steps, you’re now in a position to sell your coins or coin collection, but where should you sell it?  There are many options available to sellers of coin collections, including antique shops, pawn shops, “we buy gold” shops, jewelry stores, in person auctions, online auctions, and coin dealers.  Each of the above options has pros and coins, but typically the best place to sell your collection is to a local coin dealer.  Coin dealers have the knowledge and expertise to identify for you rare or low mintage coins that should sell at a premium.  Most of the other dealers or shops lack this knowledge, so you could potentially be leaving hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on the table.  Additionally, you’ll receive payment at the time of the transaction when dealing with coin dealers, which isn’t necessarily the case with some of the other options.

In summary, we’ve addressed some of the most frequently questions that we receive as coin dealers, including if your item is a coin or privately minted bullion, how to know if your coins are valuable, how to obtain the estimated value of your coins, as well as how and where to sell your coin collection.  We hope that being armed with this information will help to increase the chances of success when the time comes to sell your coins, coin collection or bullion.

Tony Davis
Tony Davis