How can I sell these silver coins and not get robbed?
July 6, 2013 11:40 AM   Subscribe

I know nothing about coins. These look valuable but I don't know what to do with them.

In 2002, someone gave me a 20-pack of silver dollars from the US Mint - walking liberty on the front, eagle on the back, says "1 oz. fine silver". I opened up the package and touched some of them because I'm an idiot. Ever since, I've been holding onto them because I don't know what to do with them. Use them as tiny coasters for shot glasses? Very expensive pogs? Tip very good bartenders with them?

So I should probably sell them. The question is: How can I sell these things without getting robbed? I'm afraid if I go to a coin store the proprietor will see that I'm an idiot and say, "Oh, these dollar-coins are worth a dollar, of course!" while stroking his evil goatee meaningfully.

Should I sell them one at a time on eBay and hope to get an honest price for them through competition? Or are they more valuable in their sleeve? (It has the US Mint logo on the cap.) They have a couple fingerprints on them, but otherwise, they're shiny and new-looking.
posted by sarling to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Go to several dealers just to see what they all say. Can't get ripped off by just talking.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:47 AM on July 6, 2013

Wikipedia has some general information on these dollars. It sounds like it would be best to see if you can find a reference website or book and to keep an eye out for ones that are "proof" or "uncirculated", as they are worth three times or more the value of the silver itself.
posted by FJT at 11:54 AM on July 6, 2013

If you go to a dealer and they say "yeah, these are worthless, but I'll take them off your hands" there is a chance they are scamming you. Get a variety of quotes and better yet, find your local numismatic society and shoot them an email with a picture. Hobbyists, IME, are usually pretty honest.
posted by blnkfrnk at 11:55 AM on July 6, 2013

Look them up on this. You can get a general idea this way, although you will be offered less.
posted by semaphore at 11:56 AM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can get the spot price online and day maybe some trend. Apmex, Provident metals are some stores that might buy your coins. Granted, they won't give you the asking price though. Alternatively you can check current prices for the batch that you are trying to sell on eBay. I would think that they would be more valuable as a pack rather than individually. But check a coin catalog online such as NGC to see how much they are worth (these would be for professionally graded coins mostly, but you can get an estimate)

At the very least you should get close to the price of the silver in them.
posted by ssri at 11:56 AM on July 6, 2013

It looks like they run anywhere between $25-$100 depending on the price of silver.

The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation has a table specifically for Silver Eagles which can be found here.

The current price of silver per ounce can be found here and is updated hourly.
posted by donut_princess at 12:01 PM on July 6, 2013

And I know this is kinda obvious, but when you go to all those dealers for your multiple quotes? Don't leave your address or other traceable info. It won't matter to the honest guys, and you don't want the dishonest to have it: the only person who gets even just your name is the one you eventually choose to sell to.
posted by easily confused at 12:58 PM on July 6, 2013

Where are you located? I can recommend a couple of specific places in Southern California that have treated me very fairly in the past selling coins as an acknowledged neophyte (we checked after we got home and we got very fair prices - not retail, of course, but fair for a reseller).

I'm usually the first to suggest craigslist or ebay, but with silver coins I'd strongly recommend going with a local expert.
posted by arnicae at 1:16 PM on July 6, 2013

You aren't the only one trying to sell bundles of silver coin. Look at "sold listings" on eBay to get an idea of what people are paying. I'd expect at least $200.
posted by oceanjesse at 2:06 PM on July 6, 2013

I showed your question to my reputable numismatist friend (previously). A few things he asked me to add:

-- What you have are likely uncirculated coins, rather than proofs.
-- Don't clean the coins you've handled, as that will bring the value down.
-- Do not let the dealer take the coins out of your sight.
-- A reputable dealer will have both a PNG and an ANA sticker or sign on their door. (Both links also have dealer directories.)
-- Unless they're from 1996, my friend estimates you are likely to get a small premium over the current silver price, for a total of $23-25 each. (1996 are worth a little more.)
posted by gnomeloaf at 5:48 PM on July 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

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