Coin collecting is a fun and fascinating hobby. The practice dates from about 2500 BC, almost as soon as coins became traded. The hobby is far larger now because people are able to collect items from many other countries. Most every family has a small collection of artifacts which can include various old coins.
Perhaps a decision is made to dispose of a collection. These items often pass to someone who is not particularly interested in them. If the decision to sell is made, there are immediate questions of price. While anyone can determine value to a degree, the true worth can only be established by consultation with standard catalogs and price guides. Condition of the items becomes very important, a quality which is not easy for the novice to determine.
Coin dealers can evaluate collections. Most every large town or city has a dealer or two. They are in the business of evaluating, and selling, pennies, dimes, quarters, etc, that one might find in the family. They can use their skills to match each item to the correct price. Most are willing to purchase entire collections, or even portions.
When you do research, you may find that there are a lot of coin dealers to choose from. A local coin club or an experienced numismatist can give a good referral. You may also find reputable dealers at an auction or a coin exhibit show. Those with coin knowledge are often at such events. They are often looking for new items to purchase. The Internet can also be used to find buyers.
Amazon Price: $7.95 $5.17 Buy Now
(price as of May 13, 2016)
Evaluating Dealer Offers
To be sure that you are getting a good offer on your items, it is an excellent idea to visit a couple of outlets willing to buy. You can evaluate multiple offers on the basis of the highest price. Hopefully you will receive quite comparable prices for your items. Be aware that these agencies are in business and that their time is worth money. Most will happily evaluate a small collection but may require compensation for reviewing large ones.
When you do receive a purchase offer, you must bear in mind the difference between buying and selling prices. Those in the business must buy items at a lower price than they sell them. The difference represents the amount that can cover the shop's overhead. Many times, the difference in price will be quite low, compared to what you will see in catalogs. As well, most catalogs list the price for various conditions. The higher conditions are worth more. A normal owner is often not capable of determining the correct grade, and price, of their coins.
When reviewing bids by purchasers, it can be helpful to know whether they are a member of a professional numismatist guild. Those who are reputable are members who operate under guidelines that protect both buyers and sellers. Many renowned dealers have memberships. Since there are strict rules to follow, you can be sure that you are being dealt with fairly.
Dealers are in business. They are not just intent on buying things. They must also sell items. They must gage the market to understand how valuable collectibles are to the buyers. The market price is reached through mutual agreement. If you get to know you dealer, you can gain an understanding of this market.
Everyone can potentially make a lot of money, even on a few rare coins. Knowing which items you have, and what they are ultimately worth, is vital. Novices cannot hope to correctly evaluate each factor. They need help. That's where reputable dealers really help out. They know the difference between low and higher grades, which is very subtle. They know how to determine, with certainty, certain varieties, such as mint marks. They also have experience with different compositions, knowing the difference between nickel and silver items.
There are many very expensive coins in collections. Unfortunately, there are far more very common ones. Certain rare examples are worth very high amounts. The USA 1916-D dime is one such example. This is a variety, made in Denver, which has a small "D" mint mark. Only these few from that year are really valuable. Similarly, many coins were produced in San Francisco. These are often much more valuable than those made in Denver or elsewhere.
Other very rare examples are valuable due to other factors. Real gold coins are worth a lot of money. Fakes exist, virtually for every real type. A novice can often not tell the difference. Obviously, fakes might be crudely made. They may also be made of base metal, not gold. Many silver, and even copper, ones are faked. Even the weight of the item may not be enough to go by. Expert counterfeiters can often produce items that are exactly the same weight. It is only a very seasoned expert who can spot very well made counterfeits.
The grade is another major value factor. A coin in really poor condition can be worth a very small amount of money. The same one, in top grade, can be worth many thousands. Most people can tell the difference between a poor example and a top one. The in between grades are far harder to differentiate. Unfortunately, even a small difference in condition can affect the value by hundreds of dollars, or more.
Because there is so much difficulty with grading, several certification services have been established. These agencies take regular pennies, dimes, etc, and establish the correct grade. The item is placed in a protective holder which is sealed, along with a certificate of grade. After, anyone can accurately price, and trade, these certified items. The grade becomes a standard which definitely applies to the coin.
By getting to know the experts in your area, you can sell your old coins, and be confident that you are getting the best value for them.