I need help selling a coin collection
July 17, 2011 7:25 PM   Subscribe

I have an old coin collection that I want to sell. However, I know nothing about coin collections so I'm unsure how to sell this without getting ripped off. Is it possible to find a coin dealer/collector who will buy this collection from me at a "fair" price without me doing research in an area about which I presently know nothing? More (possibly boring) info follows...

The collection is not complete, and most of the coins are pretty worn. It consists of Lincoln head cents from 1909 to 1960; large cents from 1826-1854; Indian head cents from 1857-1908; mercury head dimes from 1916-1945; Washington head quarters from 1932-1945; liberty head quarters from 1907-1916. Oh, and one Confederate fifty dollar bill. I live in the Metro Denver area.

Any suggestions, but particularly from coin collectors, would be appreciated. Thanks!
posted by Rad_Boy to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Value in collecting is entirely determined by what someone else is willing to pay for your collection. The guides are useful only to the extent that buyers and sellers agree on them, but if that was the case nobody would make a profit from any sale and they're only be doing it for love.

Next to that, the question is what your time is worth in pursuing potential buyers - eg you could spend a lot of time selling each individual item and refering to price guides in doing so, but this would take a lot of time and effort on your part.

As you don't sound too enthused, I'd suggest you find at least three collectors or dealers (or better yet for your efficiency, find out when your next local coin show or convention is on). Show them your collection and invite them to make you an offer.

Consider photographing your collection and emailing that to a dealer from outside your immediate area (that you'd still be willing to travel to to show and sell your collection), to counter-act all your local dealers knowing each other and the local market.

Take the highest offer and be done with it.
posted by jjderooy at 7:47 PM on July 17, 2011

When I had to do something similar for my dad's estate, I went to a local coin collector's club meeting, and they both gave me ideas about value and some good reputable dealer names, all for the price of some homemade cupcakes.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 7:58 PM on July 17, 2011

I've had a pal who is a coin collector, and when I asked him about how much his stuff was worth, he made a point of telling me that there was virtually no chance of turning a profit on coins. It's a hobby to people who love coins for their inherent qualities, not their values. I would second jjderooy's suggestion. Unless you are immersed in the numismatic community, you're probably going to get about the same deal wherever you go. Pick three dealers, offer the entire collection only, and go with your best offer.
posted by Gilbert at 9:20 PM on July 17, 2011

If you want to be absolutely sure about value, look up the rare print dates on the internet and sort the coins to see if you have any lotto winners in there. Of course, these coins are rare for a reason. in coin collecting, the two things to look at are date and quality. worn is... not terribly good. However, on the positive side, many of the coins are made with silver, so are worth at least that much. Oh, and DO NOT CLEAN COINS. Period.

http://www.bestcoin.com/grading.htm (second link under google: coin prices)

A nerd like me would buy the collection just for fun. For best value/suggestions, I do agree with the coin collectors club (a lot in denver, according to google). Are you going to get rich? Unlikely.
posted by Jacen at 4:55 AM on July 18, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you all for the advice. I have photographed my collection in preparation for emailing it to some local dealers. I will also visit some in person.
posted by Rad_Boy at 8:11 PM on July 18, 2011

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