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Helpful Coin & Bullion Selling Tips During the Holiday Season

Coin Selling Tips
Image of 90% Silver Coins

With the holiday season in full swing, we thought we would take an opportunity to provide our readers with some helpful tips and suggestions regarding the sale of their coins and bullion.  As is the case with most other industries, the last two months of the year tend to be the busiest time of the year for the coin industry.  This is likely due, in part, to individuals looking to fund holiday purchases and executors of estates attempting to finalize the sale of assets prior to the end of the tax season.  Without further ado, below are some helpful hints in hopes that you’ll receive the highest payout for your coins and bullion.

Sell by the coin, not by the weight

Whenever possible, it’s recommended that you attempt to sell your silver coins on an individual basis as opposed to by the combined weight of the coins.  The reason for this is because most silver coins that were in circulation have some wear, so you’ll receive a higher payout when selling on an individual basis.  Of course, this might not be possible if the coin dealer that you choose to do business with doesn’t have a coin counting machine or if the coins have a substantial amount of wear.  Coins that have a good bit of wear are referred to as “cull” coins and are in less demand than average circulated condition coins.  If your only option is to sell your coins by weight, you should make note of the weight of silver dimes, quarters and half dollars, which are 2.5 grams, 6.25 grams and 12.5 grams, respectively.

Expect to receive a premium for old U.S. silver dollars

With the exception of highly worn coins, U.S. silver dollars minted in 1935 or earlier should not be sold for less than the melt value of the coins.  The reason for this is that the coins have some collectible or numismatic value, even if they were minted in large quantities.  Most coin dealers are willing to pay a slightly higher price for Morgan silver dollars, which were minted from 1878 – 1921, over Peace silver dollars, which were minted from 1922 – 1935.  Additionally, you should expect to receive an additional premium when selling uncirculated or key date (low mintage) silver dollars, as these coins are in higher demand.

Expect to receive more for government issued bullion coins

Government issued bullion coins, which are occasionally referred to as sovereign issued coins, are typically purer and in higher demand than silver coins that were minted for general circulation.   These coins typically contain .999 fine silver and are available for purchase directly from the U.S. Mint or approved distributors of the U.S. Mint, such as coin dealers.  While it wouldn’t be accurate to state that these coins have collectible value, the price that you can expect to receive when you sell your coins will be partially dependent on the coin’s condition, so be sure to keep your coins well preserved.  Proof silver coins, such as American silver eagle proof coins, sell at an additional premium over the coin’s silver value, and are more valuable when they are accompanied by the original government packaging (OGP).

Sell 90% silver dimes, quarters and halves to coin dealers

While this may appear to be self-serving, the fact of the matter is that you’ll receive a higher percentage of the melt value for your coins when going through a coin dealer.  The reason is that the end user for coin dealers is typically retail customers, not a refinery, as is the case with many “we buy gold” and pawn shops.  Refineries generally pay 90% of the melt value for silver coins that are less than .999 fine…and this is to industry customers.  We recommend that you hold out for at least 90% of the coin’s silver value when selling U.S. silver dimes, quarters and half dollars minted in 1964 or earlier.

Don’t sell coins minted prior to 1892 for melt value

While a decent number of low mintage or key date coins minted after 1892 exist, the fact of the matter is that all dimes, quarters and half dollars minted prior to 1892 should sell for more than the melt value of the coins.  In general, coins produced prior to 1892 had lower mintage runs and therefore contain collectible or numismatic value.  The value of the coin will be based on the coin’s condition as well as the number of coins minted in that particular year and from that mint.  A good book to pick up that will provide you with a ballpark as to what you can expect to receive for your pre-1892 coins is “The Official Blue Book: A Handbook of U.S. Coins.”  This book contains coin dealer wholesale prices, and is a commonly used resource in the coin industry.

Summary

In summary, we’ve provided some helpful hints that should enable you to realize more when you sell your coins.  Whenever possible, sell your coins individually as opposed to by the coin’s weight.  Additionally, don’t accept less than the full value when selling U.S. silver dollars minted in 1935 and earlier.  When selling coins, keep in mind that typically speaking, the purer the coin, the higher the value, so you should expect to receive more for government issued .999 fine silver coins than 90% silver coins.  Speaking of 90% silver coins, be sure to sell your coins to a coin dealer to receive the highest payout, and last but not least, expect to receive a premium for any dimes, quarters and half dollars minted prior to 1892.  We hope that you found this article to be helpful and wish you the best of luck when selling your coins this holiday season.

Tony Davis
Tony Davis