Estate Coin Collections – 4 Reasons Why We Love Purchasing
We’ll soon be celebrating our 13th anniversary and enjoy our business today just as much as the day we began. Over 13 years you tend to see many of the same type of coins. While we’re always happy to purchase the more traditional coins, such as American gold and silver eagles, there’s something about purchasing estate coin collections that is truly captivating. In fact, it has had such a profound impact on our business that we have written numerous articles on the topic to assist individuals who find themselves in need of liquidating an estate coin collection.
Up until now, we really haven’t put our finger on exactly what makes these collections so attractive, but the more we thought about it, the more we realized that there are several aspects that continue to draw us to coin collections. Granted, they take more time and work than buying bullion coins, we believe that the additional time and effort is well worth it.
In this piece, we’re going to share with you from a coin dealer’s perspective, at least this coin dealer, what specifically makes purchasing coin collections both interesting, exciting and rewarding.
Coin Collection Stories
Without a doubt, the most interesting part of purchasing coin collections are the stories that we hear from the individuals that meet with us. Just like a good movie or TV show, a good storyline is compelling and tends to draw you in.
Some of the most fascinating stories have been those that accompany multi-generational coin collections. As an example, we met recently with a gentleman who had a multi-generational collection that began with his great grandfather. His great grandfather owned a grocery store in the late 1800’s and would go through the coins and currency from each day’s business and set aside high-end condition coins and/or coins that he was missing from his coin collection.
Over the years, he amassed an impressive collection of coins, including many key date or low mintage coins, which if you attempted to purchase them today would cost hundreds of dollars. Considering that coin collecting wasn’t as prevalent of a hobby in the 1880’s, there was a much greater opportunity to acquire low mintage coins by going through your change.
A coin collection doesn’t necessarily need to be multi-generational to be interesting. In fact, everyone has a story, so we get to learn more about the person that took the time and effort to assemble the collection. We’re able to find out what made them tick, what their interests were, including when and why they began collecting coins. In many respects, they live on through the stories that are told.
Many of the individuals selling the coin collection are concerned about what will happen to the collection once it is sold. They want the items to go to someone that will treasure the coins much like their loved ones. We take this seriously and never destroy or melt coins that we purchase. We feel much like an adoption agency, as part of our efforts involve finding the right home for their valuables. To the extent we recall the details, we share stories associated with the new owner of the coin, which makes it that much more meaningful.
The stories behind the collections are without a doubt the most interesting part of our job. Some of the collections began as a hobby, some as an investment, and others as a hedge against inflation and a depreciating currency. No matter the reason, it’s always interesting to learn more about the history of the coin collection that we’re purchasing.
Coin Collections are Like Treasure Hunts
I remember growing up as a child in Southern California and seeing my pediatric dentist, Dr. McGavin, every six months. I recall hating to have my teeth cleaned and the putrid taste of fluoride afterwards, but there was one saving grace in visiting the dentist, and that is that I was able to select a toy from the “treasure chest.” If I had a particularly difficult appointment, such as needing a filling, I would occasionally be allowed two toys. I remember rummaging through this big treasure chest of toys looking for the perfect item.
That same sense of excitement and enthusiasm exists with coin collections. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a multi-generational coin collection to have treasures. Furthermore, treasures don’t always necessarily need to be those that have significant value. For example, one of my son’s favorite coins are superhero-themed coins. He has less interest these days being that he’s less than a year from starting college, but every time I come across a superhero coin, I instantly become excited – especially if it’s one that he doesn’t currently have in his collection. My wife, on the other hand, loves owls and cats, so anytime I come across these coins, even if they’re modern-issued, I know that she’ll be excited.
In some cases, we meet with customers who believe that they have a collection of common coins, only to find that they have something of significant value. In one such situation, a customer scheduled an appointment to sell some pre-1933 $2.50 and $5 Liberty Head gold coins. These are coins that we frequently purchase, but once the customer arrived at our office, we realized that he had something quite significant.
As always, we inspected the reverse side of the coins for a mint mark and were pleasantly surprised to find a few coins from the mid 1800’s with a “D” and a “C” mintmark, which indicates that they were produced at the Dahlonega and Charlotte mints, respectively. As we’ve highlighted in a previous article, a mintmark indicates where the coin was produced. The Dahlonega and Charlotte mints had a short lifespan and in general, produced significantly fewer coins than the Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco and New Orleans Mints. This was indeed an unexpected treasure, which excited both us and the customer, as it resulted in a significantly higher payout.
Coin Collections Provide Variety
Let’s face it, most jobs can be boring and mundane if you do the same thing day in and day out. For us, while never boring, it’s always nice to have some variety in the type of items that we buy and sell. They say that variety is the spice of life, and that certainly applies to coin collections as well. No matter the size, coin collections consist of different types of coins that you don’t see in your typical bullion coin transactions.
As a coin dealer who also has a national customer base, we purchase coin collections that were originally assembled from folks located throughout the United States. It’s interesting to see the type of coins that individuals collected based on when and where they grew up. For example, coin collectors from the 1970’s inevitably have Carson City silver dollars that were auctioned off by the Government Services Administration (GSA) in the early part of the decade. These were a large hoard of uncirculated coins that had been stored for decades at the New York Federal Reserve unbeknownst to anyone on staff. The coins are housed in a black GSA holder and are some of the most popular coins in the industry.
It’s safe to say that just about all serious coin collections assembled by Georgia natives include at least one 1925 Stone Mountain half dollar. The U.S. Mint reports a mintage of one million of these coins, and it feels like we’ve purchased about half of them over the past 13 years. Nonetheless, it’s always a treat to see these coins. The Stone Mountain half dollar was one of dozens of classic commemorative half dollars that were produced beginning in 1892. The coins were produced to commemorative a certain event, person or place. The proceeds from the sale of the coins were used to fund specific projects. For example, the proceeds from the sale of Stone Mountain half dollars were used to fund the carving of President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson on Stone Mountain, which still stands to this day.
Other especially interesting coin collections are those that were assembled in California, which oftentimes include California territorial gold coins, and of all places, Hawaii. Hawaii didn’t officially become a state until 1959. Prior to that time, Hawaii used their own coinage. Many of the coins were produced in low quantities and carry significant value. For example, a high-end example of an 1883 Hawaii Dollar can trade north of $1,000. Not too many Hawaiians have relocated to Georgia. After all, why would you want to leave paradise? But for those that have, these collections are truly a pleasure and privilege to deal in.
Coin Collections Provide the Opportunity to Exceed Expectations
While we always endeavor to exceed customers’ expectations, doing so with commonly traded coins and bullion is difficult, as we publish our buy rates on our website and share with customers in advance what we’re able to offer for these items. Coin collections are a bit different, in that they typically consist of less commonly traded items, many of which are condition-sensitive items that can only be properly valued with an in-person evaluation.
For example, one half dollar may trade at a significantly different price than another half dollar. As an example, common date average condition Walking Liberty, Franklin and 1964 Kennedy half dollars are what are commonly referred to as “junk silver” and trade primarily for their underlying silver value. However, this rate doesn’t apply to all coins, as some coins may trade at higher rates based on the year and condition of the coins. Furthermore, some of the earlier produced coins, such as Seated Liberty half dollars, trade at higher rates.
It’s always rewarding when we identify one of these coins that may trade at many times the value of a common coin. Part of our evaluation process involves looking for these diamonds in the rough so that our customers can realize the most value for their coin collections. We liken it to a qualified CPA who is able to identify opportunities to reduce your tax liability.
There’s no better feeling than to share with a customer that we’re able to offer them significantly more than what they were anticipating for some of their coins or coin collection. This is something that every coin dealer should strive for and one reason why it’s important to sell your coin collection to a coin expert as opposed to a pawn shop, gold buyer or jewelry store. Considering their lack of coin knowledge, they’re more likely to pay you for the precious metals value of your items as opposed to any type of collectible or numismatic value.
While many of our customers are liquidating estate coin collections due to a death in the family, with the need to distribute the proceeds to the heirs, some are selling out of financial necessity. It’s always a great feeling to know that you’ve helped someone in a time of need.
In conclusion, purchasing estate collections is rewarding and fulfilling. For one, coin collections oftentimes include interesting stories about the person that collected the coins, including how and when they began coin collecting. These stories make purchasing coin collections by far the most interesting aspect of our job.
Coin collections are also like treasure hunts. You never know what type of coins you’re going to find. The hunt is only secondary to hearing the stories surrounding coin collections. On occasion, we find especially valuable coins that the seller didn’t realize were in the collection. Looking for these coins is exciting, especially when you happen to come across one, if not more, in a collection.
The variety of items included in coin collections helps to keep things interesting. Even though we love what we do, it’s always nice when we come across coins and currency that we don’t frequently deal in. While we typically have a general idea of the type of coins that are included in the collection, we’re oftentimes surprised by items that we weren’t expecting.
Lastly, more than anything else, coin collections provide the opportunity to exceed customers’ expectations. Identifying coins that sell at a premium due to their year, condition or mint location is always rewarding. This is especially the case when folks are selling out of financial need and walk away with significantly more than expected.
The coin experts at Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers specialize in purchasing and evaluating large and diverse estate coin collections. If you’re in need of liquidating a coin collection, there’s no one more qualified to evaluate your collection. Whether you’re in metro Atlanta or beyond, we can help. We purchase coin collections from across the nation and look forward to earning your business.