Six Direct Questions to Ask When Requesting a Coin Appraisal
On the surface, a coin appraisal appears to be a straightforward endeavor. However, if you’re new to coins and bullion or haven’t had a coin appraisal conducted in the past, you might be surprised to find that it’s slightly more involved than it appears on the surface.
To begin with, there are a few different appraisal options available to most sellers. We’ll highlight the various appraisal options available and will also share with you six essential questions to ask when requesting a coin appraisal.
Types of Coin Appraisals
The types of coin appraisals can vary from a simple price quote to a detailed itemized valuation for estate purposes. Considering that everyone’s situation is different, we’re going to highlight the various coin appraisal options available to determine which best fits your needs.
1. Website Quote – Some coin dealers post live buy rates on their website, which is the most straightforward appraisal. While technically a quote as opposed to an appraisal, this may be the extent of the information that you need for your purposes. If this option is of interest to you, check out our Online Automated Selling Tool.
2. Email or Phone Quote – Assuming that you only have a few items, it’s acceptable to send an email or call a coin dealer to request a quote. Some coin dealers will want you to bring the item(s) in before providing price information, which shouldn’t be necessary, especially if you have standard items, such as gold eagles or silver eagles.
3. Appraisal with the Intent to Sell – An appraisal with the intent to sell is the most common request. These evaluations may consist of several, hundreds or even thousands of items. When requesting this type of appraisal, we recommend that you obtain a price indication on commonly traded items to confirm that you’re on the same page with your selected coin dealer. This doesn’t guarantee that you’ll reach a consensus on any collectible items that you might have, but it’s a good starting point.
4. Appraisal for Informational, Insurance or Estate Purposes – You may be seeking an appraisal to obtain a valuation of your collection for informational purposes, insurance purposes, or related to probate or estate purposes. In these situations, your intent isn’t to sell the coin collection, at least at that time. These appraisals may take anywhere from an hour or two upwards of a couple of days and can be costly; especially if travel is involved.
Typically speaking, the first two appraisal options can be provided at no cost to the seller. It’s important to obtain clarification with respect to the third appraisal option, as most coin dealers will charge an appraisal fee if the coins aren’t sold following the evaluation. Lastly, appraisal fees always apply for the fourth option, unless it’s agreed in advance that the coin dealer will waive the fee if a portion of the collection is sold.
Now that we’ve covered the types of coin appraisals, we’ll share with you six essential questions to ask your selected coin dealer before moving forward with your coin evaluation.
Can I Drop the Coin Collection Off?
While coin dealers are surrounded by coins all day long and if they’re in the business for the right reasons, thoroughly enjoy evaluating a large and diverse collection that may take hours, that’s not necessarily the case with everyone.
Additionally, most individuals have other obligations, such as family, work, school, etc. and don’t have hours to dedicate to sit through a long collection while a numismatist thoroughly evaluates all your valuables.
In cases where you can’t dedicate the time nor have the interest in sitting through an evaluation, dropping the coin collection off with the coin buyer may be your best option. However, be sure to do your due diligence before doing so, as it’s important that the company you choose is trustworthy and operates with transparency and integrity.
An experienced coin dealer should be able to eyeball the collection and provide you with a rough idea of the time it will take to complete the evaluation.
How Long Will the Appraisal Take?
Whether you choose to drop off your coin collection or sit through the evaluation, it helps to identify in advance how long the coin appraisal and evaluation will take. While it’s difficult to provide an exact time frame, as mentioned above, most experienced coin dealers can provide a general sense as to the length of time it will take.
Coin collections that have been dropped off for an appraisal may take slightly longer than an in-person evaluation; especially if the coin collection consists of thousands of coins. However, it’s important to ask the coin dealer to commit to a reasonable length of time so that you can share this information with any other parties that might have a vested interest.
Also, don’t settle for an extended or delayed coin appraisal. While most coin dealers don’t have large staffs, they should be able to dedicate the time and resources necessary to provide pricing information in a reasonable amount of time. In most cases, we complete coin appraisals, even for large collections, in less than 48 hours.
Is There an Appraisal Fee?
It’s important that everyone is on the same page when it comes to appraisals; especially as it relates to any fees. We’ve previously discussed the types of appraisals and situations in which you can expect to pay a fee, but remember that everyone operates differently, so it’s important that any price-related questions be settled in advance.
What is the Appraisal Fee?
The price of coin appraisals can differ drastically, so if a fee applies, we recommend that you inquire as to the expense. Some coin dealers may assess an hourly fee while others will charge a flat fee. Since coin dealers are highly skilled specialists, commonly referred to as numismatists, you should expect to pay somewhere in the range of $100 – $200 an hour. While not cheap, most estates require a professional appraisal; especially those in probate.
In situations where the coin expert is required to travel for the evaluation, expect to pay for his or her travel time, room, and board, including other miscellaneous fees, especially considering that they are unable to operate their coin dealership while away.
One other quick note with respect to appraisals; not all coin dealers accept credit or debit cards, as we operate on extremely thin margins, so be sure to specify the acceptable forms of payment prior to the appraisal.
Am I Obligated to Sell the Collection?
Much like the fee-issue, it’s important to discuss in advance if you are selling the coin collection or will be obligated to sell the coin collection? If prices are agreed to in advance by both parties, then the coin dealer will be under the impression that he or she will be purchasing the collection. If for some reason you choose not to, then it’s reasonable to pay the coin expert for his or her time.
On the other hand, you should never feel pressured or obligated to sell your coin collection. While a coin dealer may have had their heart set on buying the coin collection, this is no excuse for pressuring the customer to sell. This should always be a decision that you make without any undue influence. Furthermore, other heirs may need to be consulted before moving forward with the sale of the collection.
We’ve heard horror stories over the years of coin dealers pressuring customers and threatening to withdraw their offer if the customer doesn’t accept it then and there. This isn’t acceptable behavior and shouldn’t be tolerated under any circumstances.
How Long is the Appraisal Good For?
Not everyone is able to immediately sell a coin collection following an appraisal. If you find yourself in this situation, you should inquire as to how long the price quote will be honored. This can vary depending on the type and quantity of coins evaluated, and may be anywhere from the day of the appraisal up to a week or two.
Market sensitive coins, such as United States 90% silver dimes, quarters and half dollars, American gold eagles, American silver eagles, Canadian gold maple leaf coins, Canadian silver maples, etc., can vary drastically in price in a relatively short period of time. The market can change in a matter of a few hours in response to geopolitical issues, inflation, economic news, trading volume, etc. If your collection primarily consists of these coins, the price quote may only be good for that day.
On a positive note, market sensitive items can re-priced relatively easy, so if you decide to sell the collection a day or two or even a couple of weeks later, it shouldn’t take the coin dealer much time to provide updated pricing for the collection.
Coins that tend to move less in lock step with precious metals prices include Morgan and Peace silver dollars, Carson City silver dollars, paper currency, bank notes, numismatic or rare coins and professionally graded coins. If your collection consists of these types of items, it’s not unreasonable for the dealer to honor his or her initial price quote for up to a week.
In conclusion, do your best to identify the type of appraisal service that you need for your specific circumstances. Once you determine which appraisal option most applies, we recommend that you reach out to a vetted coin dealer to ask several questions prior to proceeding with a coin appraisal.
Before looking into coin auctions, remember that auction houses usually take a large fee from your proceeds. Contact a local dealer first.
Be sure to discuss the logistics with your selected dealer, such as if the coin collection can be dropped off and how long (approximately) the evaluation will take. If the length of time doesn’t sound reasonable to you, we recommend that you consider another coin dealer.
Also, agree in advance if your evaluation will be subject to a fee, and if so, the approximate cost. Granted, the actual length of time may vary slightly from the original estimate. We recommend that you never choose to deal with a coin expert that pressures you to sell, and before leaving, be sure to confirm how long the coin appraisal is good for.
Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers has nearly a dozen years of experience buying, selling and appraising coin collections of all types and sizes. We have the knowledge and expertise to properly conduct coin appraisals regardless of the size or complexity of your collection. We conduct business in a safe, friendly, comfortable, and pressure-free environment. Contact us today at 404-236-9744 to see why we’re the leading coin dealer in Atlanta and beyond.