Your Ultimate Guide to a Successful Estate Coin Collection Appraisal
Until you take on the role of executor for a substantial estate, it may be hard to imagine everything that job entails. Often, the most challenging task is determining the value of all the items left by the deceased.
If the estate includes a sizeable coin collection, then you are faced with an array of questions, beginning with “What are these coins worth?” Of course, the best way to find out is to have them appraised, but where do you begin? Here’s everything you need to know about estate coin collection appraisals and how they work.
Do I Need an Estate Coin Collection Appraisal?
The first question you should ask is, “Do I really need an in-depth estate collection appraisal?” After all, not all estates contain collections with many valuable coins. First, yes, you do need an appraisal if you have coins, bullion or paper currency that might be worth more than their face value.
If there are only a few coins, you may be able to take them in to be evaluated by a local coin dealer. Even if your collection includes a rare coin or two, it shouldn’t take long to complete the valuation. On the other hand, if the coin collection is larger or contains many old, rare or collectible coins, it is usually best to make an appointment to have a coin expert conduct a thorough estate coin collection appraisal.
How Do Estate Coin Collection Appraisals Work?
An estate coin collection appraisal takes place in a set location, either at the coin appraiser’s place of business, at the estate, in an attorney’s office or in another secure place, such as a bank. Prepare the coins for the appraisal so that the appraiser only needs to view and evaluate the coins.
In some cases, it might save time to prepare an itemized list for the coin appraiser in advance of the appraisal. This helps the appraiser prepare for their evaluation, and possibly price up some coins in advance, thus reducing the amount of time they need to spend in person evaluating the coins.
Once the appraiser arrives, they systematically view each coin, including identifying dates, determining its rarity, underlying precious metals value, and examine its condition. They keep notes of their findings. When they complete their assessment, they will prepare a formal written appraisal. This documentation will help you to complete your responsibilities as the executor of the estate.
Some appraisers may choose to have a meeting with you to present their findings. At that time, they might make you an offer to buy a portion or the complete collection. In situations where you decide to sell the collection, the coin appraiser may be willing to waive his or her fee. What you do next is entirely up to you and the family.
How Do I Find the Right Coin Appraiser?
Finding the right coin expert to prepare the coin appraisal is extremely important. The truth is that you wouldn’t want to trust such a potentially valuable collection with just anyone. You need an expert, someone who has a good reputation and an excellent track record.
Start by finding several coin appraisers. You can search online, look around in your local area, or ask someone you know for names of coin appraisers. Depending on where you are located and the options that you have available, you may want to reach out to a coin expert from out of state who is willing to travel to conduct an appraisal.
Look for coin dealers who have demonstrated their expertise through published materials, such as articles or blogs. These individuals are experts in the field and have shown a desire to share their knowledge with the public. The next step is to narrow down the list to find the best ones.
View the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website and see if any of the appraisers have had significant unresolved complaints. Read their online reviews and ratings on other review sites, including Google, Yelp, and others. Find out if they have any certifications, designations, or are members of well-known numismatic organizations, such as the American Numismatic Association, NGC, PCGS, Certified Coin Exchange, CoinNet or Roundtable Trading, just to name a few.
Finally, contact the appraiser and ask them for references. If they have been conducting estate coin collection appraisals for any time at all, they should be able to provide you with the name of someone they have served that you can talk to for more personal insights.
How Do I Set Up a Coin Appraisal?
Once you have chosen a coin appraiser, the next step is to set up your estate coin collection appraisal. Simply call the appraiser and discuss when and where you would like them to conduct the evaluation of your collection. They should fit you into their schedule at a time that is convenient for you.
The rest depends on where you would like to have the appraisal completed and where the coin dealer is located. If they need to travel to come to you, you might consider renting a place for them to stay near the estate. Discuss this with the appraiser when you are making the appointment.
What Does it Cost for a Coin Appraisal?
The price for coin appraisals will depend on a few factors. The first is the level of expertise that is needed. If your collection consists merely of bullion, a coin consultant for the company should be qualified to evaluate the collection. If it consists of more collector or numismatic coins, a senior numismatist, or possibly the business owner may be needed to accurately assess the collection.
If you are traveling to the coin dealer’s place of business, a rate of $150 – $200 per hour for a written appraisal is reasonable. If the collection will take more than a few hours, or possibly half a day to properly evaluate and appraise, a flat rate may be assessed. If you simply need a verbal appraisal, the cost may be slightly less.
If you request that the coin expert come to you, expect to pay for other expenses, such as travel time, mileage, and food. If traveling outside of the coin appraiser’s regular service area, or if the trip will require an overnight stay, additional expenses, such as flights, lodging and full day consulting fees may apply.
If you believe that a coin appraiser outside of your local area is your best option, and would like for them to travel to your location, we recommend that you take into consideration the estimated value of the collection and the expenses to bring the coin expert to you. The cost to appraise your collection shouldn’t be more than 5% of the value of the collection.
Keep in mind that when traveling, coin dealers are unable to operate their local business; therefore, it should be expected that the coin expert will charge a higher flat fee in these instances.
What Are the Advantages of Having a Coin Appraiser Come to You?
Having a coin appraiser come to you is a good idea for several reasons. For one, it is a more secure way to have your coins seen by an appraiser. You do not have to worry that they will be lost, damaged, or stolen by transporting them or sending them through the mail. Besides that, you save yourself the work of boxing them up for shipment.
When the coin appraiser comes to you, the entire process is streamlined. After a little preparation on your part, the numismatic specialist only needs to come, view the coins, and complete their appraisal. This means both you and the appraiser spend less time and effort on unnecessary tasks.
How Do I Prepare for a Coin Appraisal?
You can prepare for an appraisal by first identifying how the coins are organized. Coins in albums are best left as you found them, as there may have been a specific reason for the way they were organized. The appraiser will take the coins out carefully if they need to do so. Improper removal of coins from albums or holders can potentially damage them.
The same applies to coins in miscellaneous boxes, containers, rolls or holders, such as those certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). Leave them as they are and let the coin expert decide what to do from there.
While you are looking at the coins, you might be tempted to clean them; especially if they have toning, tarnishing or residue. As is the case with improper handling, cleaning coins will alter the original surface and can substantially decrease their value.
Now, you might want to sort and organize any loose coins, although this might not be necessary. If you don’t have prior experience with coin collections, you might want to limit handling the coins. However, if you do sort them, start by putting each different type of coin into its own labeled plastic bag or container.
Organize United States commemorative coins, mint and proof sets by year, but again, leave them in their original packaging or holders if you have them. Likewise, sort and separate foreign or world coins from U.S. coins to reduce the time needed to do so at the appraisal. Separating the international coins by country is the best way to sort them.
If you do sort the coins, you may want to create an inventory of what you have. The appraiser could use this to give you a preliminary idea of what to expect from the estate coin collection appraisal with respect to time and expense. Or, if there was already an inventory included with the collection, you can send a copy of that to the coin expert.
Finally, be sure that there is adequate room and space for the appraiser to operate if they are meeting you outside of their office. It’s important to have excellent lighting and a large flat table, such as a conference room, so that they can spread out and properly organize the collection. This ensures that they can perform their appraisal without limitations.
What Is the Coin Appraisal Process?
The coin appraiser relies on their expertise to determine the value of each coin. The price they give for each coin will depend on several factors, including:
– Eye Appeal
– Minting errors
– Value of the precious metal
Of course, since a reputable coin dealer has plenty of experience, they should be able to separate any ordinary pocket change from coins that might have added value. Once they’ve identified the coins that have value, they’ll meticulously examine each coin and place a value on it. The final step of the appraisal process involves preparing a written report of their findings.
What Happens After the Coin Appraisal?
After the appraisal, you will receive a written appraisal document and possibly a formal presentation of the appraiser’s findings. The appraiser’s company might make you an offer to buy your coins, which you can consider and accept if you choose. At that point, you can ask the appraiser any questions you have before they leave.
However, the coin appraisal may not be requested or needed for the purposes of selling the coin collection; at least not immediately. You may need a coin evaluation for probate purposes as you settle the estate. Whether the collection is divided up or given to one heir, you will usually need to know what it is worth to ensure fair treatment for everyone involved.
Besides that, you may need the valuation of the coins for insurance purposes, tax filings, and legal issues. What you do after the appraisal is entirely up to you and what you need to do as the executor. Take advantage of the time that you spend with the coin appraiser and ask any question that you might have about coins, coin sales, auctions, and how to properly care for the coins while they’re in your possession.
The best way to have a successful estate coin collection appraisal is to follow the appraiser’s recommendations. Assuming you have chosen a reliable, reputable numismatic expert, they will know the most efficient way to conduct the evaluation. If you are unsure about how to prepare the coins or what the appraiser needs to prepare the evaluation, simply ask. By addressing questions and resolving issues before the appraisal, you can ensure everything goes more efficiently, securely, and productively.
What Is It Like to Have a Large Coin Collection Appraised?
A coin appraisal can be a lengthy process, but can also provide some interesting insight. For many executors, the appraisal is a welcome diversion from other stressful or time-consuming parts of their job. If you find coins fascinating, and are interested in history, you will likely enjoy the time spent discussing the collection with a numismatic specialist. At the same time, this event brings important results that will aid you in your tasks as the executor.
Where to Go for Estate Coin Collection Appraisals
If you need to have an estate coin collection appraisal, you can turn to Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers for help. We handle appraisals on everything from individual coins to multi-generational estate collections and are available to travel for large and more valuable estate coin collections.
Our experts have years of experience and a vast knowledge of old, rare, and numismatic coins, gold, platinum, palladium and silver coins, bars and rounds, as well as coin sets and paper money.
What’s more, Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers are long term members of several major numismatic organizations and are committed to providing the most accurate valuations possible. Talk to us today to learn more about estate coin collection appraisals or to set up your appraisal now.