Understanding the options available to you for
coin selling and executing them effectively will net you the most cash
for your coins.
After we finish walking through the guidelines,
we delve into the some of the options you have for
coin selling: marketing coins on the Internet, approaching coin
dealers, coin auctions, and more.
Selling your US coins shouldn’t be a problem, assuming you own coins of marketable quality. (See our Bullish US Coins and Coin Value Tables sections for selecting high demand coins and our Coin Buying page for advice on where to find them. The key date recommendations in the US Coin Types pages also highlights outstanding coins). There are many potential coin buyers out there, but let’s first talk about some basic guidelines. By taking them to heart, you will increase the chances of selling coins on your terms. Then we'll follow up with some of the best selling options available to you.
Learn to grade coins. Grading
accurately is essential to success in all aspects of the coin hobby.
Moreover, as an honest coin seller, you must properly describe your
coins to prospective buyers, utilizing numismatic jargon where applicable. After you've
gained some confidence in coin grading, pay attention to how the pros
describe their coins. Meander over to eBay
or any other fine coin selling
sites to get a feel for the adjectives used, key explanatory phrases,
etc. With some practice, you too will be writing good, accurate
In the opinion of many collectors, coin selling is generally not as fun as coin buying. Fortunately, with all the avenues available today for the coin seller, it needn’t be a frustrating experience. If you own Bullish US coins to start with, observe these common sense guidelines, and become adept at one or more of the coin selling options described below, you should have no trouble finding an eager buyer.
At any given moment in time, hundreds of
thousands of US coins are being auctioned off on eBay.
The "Buy it Now" eBay feature is also quite popular, whereby sellers
set a price, and if someone meets it, the item is instantly sold. Yes,
there is a lot of competition, but the coin buying traffic on eBay is
immense and motivated. The acceptance of transacting business online,
most notably through eBay, has improved the liquidity of collectible
coins, which in turn is partly responsible for the strong coin market
we’ve witnessed ever since Internet usage became widespread. eBay
is fast, convenient, and a powerful apparatus for the coin selling
A big advantage of coin selling on eBay is that you have a good potential for realizing better prices than the wholesale amount you’d have to settle for if selling to a dealer. This is especially true if you are attempting to sell a coin on the Bullish US Coins list or have utilized the Coin Value Tables to identify other coins of proven high demand. Also, eBay charges relatively small fees for access to their tremendously popular website. Here are a few basic points to keep in mind when selling coins on eBay:
Make sure you understand the
The best way we know of to get familiar quickly with all things eBay,
including selling, is to invest a little time at the eBay
University Learning Center. You should not list your first coin
until after you have taken the excellent tutorial on selling,
where the essentials of eBay selling are laid out in simple terms.
Also, we suggest you read our
Coin Buying section, where, nestled in with other topics, we lay
out a few pointers on the purchase of coins on eBay. Understanding what
prospective buyers are thinking will help you to become a better seller.
Some eBay coin selling folks are a bunch more
successful than others. If your goal is to become one of them, we
recommend reading eBay For Dummies, written by eBay expert Marsha
Collier. This is a straight-forward “how-to” manual in the typical
"Dummies" style, to get you started selling (and buying too, for that
matter) effectively on eBay. It is justifiably one of the hottest
selling books about the eBay. Collier's affordable book demystifies any
trepidation you might have over tapping into the Web's #1 auction site.
|Amazon Collectible Coins|
While eBay is still the 800 pound gorilla in the
room, Amazon dove into coin buying and selling in May 2014. Anytime an
organization with the platform the size of Amazon's starts doing
something, people in the business take heed.
|Other Internet Auctions|
When it comes to coin auctions on the Internet,
eBay isn't the only game in town. Some of the biggest names in
numismatics sponsor live auctions for traditional "in person" buyers,
with Internet accessibility for bidders who wish to participate
remotely, either live or in advance. A few coin auction companies
operate solely over the Internet.
Expect to pay up to an 18%
commission. As you might have guessed, it's expensive to publicize
and conduct a worldwide, high class coin auction. Naturally, seller
commissions is how the auction company keeps things going, and the cost
to the coin seller can be substantial. The trade off, of course, is
that you can get top dollar for your coins.
Don't consign your coins over to just any auction house. Does the company have expertise in numismatics? Do their sale catalogs and Internet presence appear professional? Get a copy of their consignment rules, and read all the fine print. If you still have questions, ask a coin dealer or experienced coin collector for an opinion. Red Flag Warning: If the company name is not recognizable to veteran numismatists, what are the odds that bidders know who they are, either?
|Community Coin Auctions|
Some collectors sell their coins at relatively small public gatherings, complete with live auctioneer and gavel. Under this scenario, owners consign their coins to an auctioneer, who in turn lists the coins on the sales bill of an upcoming event. Unless you live in a remote wilderness, the chances are good that an auction of this type will be held in a nearby community sometime soon.
Community coin auctions are usually
publicized in local newspapers. Check the local newspaper about
once a week to stay informed on upcoming sales. Don't be
surprised if your coin has to share the stage with bicycles and lawn
mowers also in the sale.
Community auctions also hold the promise of getting you acquainted with other coin enthusiasts in your area. These contacts can work to your benefit as you seek to purchase and sell other coins in the future. The importance of developing new friendships is something not to be overlooked either.
|Wholesale to a Local Coin Dealer|
Coin dealers, large and small, replenish their stock, in part, by purchasing coins from collectors wanting to sell. If you're in the mind to sell some coins, one possible buyer is a local coin dealer. You can find them listed in the Yellow Pages. This may be the fastest, easiest option for liquidating your coins. However, there are a few facts you should be mindful of before you approach a local dealer to ask for an offer on your coin:
Coin dealers are in business to
make a profit. Numismatics is their chosen profession, so they are
certainly entitled to one. Like other businessmen, coin dealers have
numerous overhead expenses, including salaries to employees, rent,
taxes, advertising, insurance, travel, and many other miscellaneous
items. Around 60% percent of the retail value of a coin is the what
dealers might offer, if anything at all. The percentage can vary
depending on what the dealer already has in stock, his cash position at
the moment, and how quickly he can "turn" the coin. It never
hurts to stop in for a friendly chat with a local dealer, but do not
expect him to pay close to retail for your coin. Indeed, buying coins
at wholesale is central to his survival.
Most dealers are honest, forthright professionals committed to helping their customers maximize enjoyment from the coin collecting hobby, but before selling your coins to them at wholesale, be sure to give some thought to the other options available to you for selling your coins.
|Wholesale to an Online Dealer|
There are at least a hundred very fine U.S. coin
dealers scattered across the nation who have online ordering websites
and mail order businesses. Most of them do a much greater volume
of selling than the average local coin dealer. Almost all of them are
interested in acquiring collectible coins from the public, buying at
wholesale and selling at retail. It's not necessary to have great
rarities to get their attention; most of their clients are hobbyists
whose tastes span the full coin pricing gamut, and they replenish their
Online coin dealers will buy a wide
range of collections. Because they usually have a large customer
base, they can justify purchase of just about any group of coins with
collectible value, in both large and small quantities. Whether
you have coins to sell by the handful or the bucket, they're ready to
talk. Be aware that some dealers don't want you to send them a package
of coins worth less than a certain amount (perhaps $100-$200).
Another good thing about being a coin collector in the internet age is that there are plenty of places where disgruntled customers can vent. Coin forums and consumer research boards will attract commentary regarding shady coin dealers. Sure, there are some people who will complain about anything, but if the same dealers are consistently blacklisted across numerous review sites by many different coin collectors, that should be a red flag warning to stay clear of their questionable practices.
If you’ve got highly merchandisable coins (see Bullish US Coins or Coin Value Tables) coin shows are fine for obtaining competing offers relatively fast from multiple dealers. Here are few thoughts to keep in mind as you approach the coin dealer table to request an offer:
Be organized and well prepared
when you approach a
dealer's table. Know what you have and provide a detailed inventory on
paper. Coin type, date, mintmark, condition, and quantity is what
the dealer wants to know. In a busy coin show setting, you'll win
instant respect if you display a businesslike demeanor.
Information about upcoming coin shows is found online at many places, including Coinshows and Numismaster. Check out magazines such as Coin World and Numismatic News, as they too publish dates, times, and places for most coin shows held in the United States.
Coin clubs, in general, seem to be enjoying a resurgence in popularity, even as new technology provides coin hunters with other means of finding desirable acquisitions. Chances are good there is an active coin club not far from you.
Coin clubs are great for selling
coins in person to other
collectors. With no commissions or fees to pay, you can afford to
sell or trade to other coin club members and still come out ahead.
If you’re the personality type who enjoys the camaraderie of others with similar interests and are open to learning new things, then maybe joining a coin club is the thing for you!