Sell Collectible Coins

Collectors are in a league of their own, given any circumstances. They see the things they collect from a different perspective that non-collectors may have a hard time understanding. In most cases, the market value does not interest them as much as other things, such as associations with famous people, or the historical context, or simply its rarity. This creates a market for “collectibles,” and that applies to coins as well. The good thing with selling collectible coins is there are more or less established guides for their values. You do have to do your research, however, but it is the only way to ensure you get the best price for your collectible coins.

Coins in history

Back in the earliest days of trade and commerce, people used the barter system, but it was a difficult ay to do business. The first metals coins were produced in the 7th Century BCE on parallel developments in China, Greece, and India, and their use spread quickly. Coins were not always disc-shaped, however. Some were in the shape of ox hides, or cowrie shells.

The earliest coins were made from electrum and had no standard weights. Electrum was a natural mix of silver and gold, and further processed with silver and copper.  It is believed that the first Anatolia coins of the Iron Ages were used more for religious rituals and as badges than commerce. Most of these early coins had no writing in it, but mostly representations of animals, and sometimes Greek inscriptions meaning various things such as “I am the sign of light.”  The first coin to have Arabic writing on it was the St. Gall silver Plappart, minted in 1424.

Back in the day, gold coins were actually used for commerce. People would pay for goods and services using gold coins, which are usually solid gold. Since gold is so soft, savvy traders could tell the purity of a particular coin by biting it.

Silver coins are perhaps the most ancient type of mass-produced coins in history. It has been around since the time of the ancient Greeks with their drachmas, which were very popular as trade coins back in the day. Ancient Persians (modern day Iraqis) also used silver for their coins, as did the British, whose pennies were made of silver prior to 1797.

Numismatic value

In general, the numismatic value of collectible coins lay in its historic or esthetic value on top of its metal content. How much that is depends on many factors, most specifically its condition, the place and year it was minted, its rarity, and the history behind it.

Many coins are valued for their metal content, which are usually gold, silver, or platinum. These are called bullion coins. However, old coins are seldom just valued for its metal content. Some coins have numismatic value; that is, it has value to a collector or investors. This could be due to its condition, rarity, historical significance, design, or popularity.

A good example is the denarius coin, an antique silver coin used during the height of the power of the Roman empire. The silver content is pegged at $2, but its age and rarity makes it much more valuable.  Another example is the 1943 Copper Wheat Penny, which if in mint condition is worth about $85,000. If you happen to have inherited a coin collection (or unearthed a jar of coins you unearth from the basement of your turn of the century house), you may just have some bit of metal lurking in there that is worth more than your car!

It is very important to find out the history of any gold coin you may have bought, inherited or found before you sell it. It just may be a 1933 Double Eagle piece, which is valued at $7.6 million because it is so rare. It has a face value of $20, with 33.431 grams of 90% gold, so its selling price is definitely not for its gold content.  It may also be some rare coin worth far more than its weight in precious metal.

Sell collectible coins

When you have your collectible coin appraised, you should bring it to a professional grading service. You will have to pay a fee, but if it is a valuable coin, it will be well worth it. The assessor will give your coin a grade ranging from 1 to 70, with one being the lowest, as well as verbal grades which includes basal state, Almost or About Uncirculated, Uncirculated, and Brilliant Uncirculated. The grade is based on the following criteria: strike, luster, preservation, attractiveness, and color. The highest possible grade for a collectible coin is Brilliant Uncirculated 70.  It should be noted that attractiveness and luster are subjective, so grading may vary from assessor to assessor.

However, this type of grading may not be applicable for some antique coins, such as the Roman denarius. It was the most common coin in Ancient Rome, and had a value of 10 asses (the copper coin, not the animal). At the time of its circulation, it was equivalent to the daily wage of a soldier or laborer’s wage, or about $28 to $50 today. It contained about 3.24 grams of silver, which has a market value of about $2 in 2016. Despite its age, you can find quite a few denarii in circulation among collectors, and you can get one for less than $1,000. However, the rarer ones, such as the Ides of March denarius, regularly go for $100,000 apiece.

Sell collectible coins

It is important that you have your coin valued even if you have no immediate intention of selling it. This can help you make an informed decision of whether you should sit on it and collect more of them, or if you should sell immediately.  You can use coin price guides that quote the retail value of most coins, including many old ones, as a basis for your own selling price. These guides may vary from dealer to dealer, however, since they may have different markups.  Note, however, that coin dealers will not offer you retail prices, but it should give you a good idea of what the market can take if you choose to sell it to a private collector rather than a dealer.

However, if you find a coin dealer that knows the business and find trustworthy, it would be in your best interest to get on good terms with him or her. Dealers also have connections to coin collectors, so you are more likely to get a better price. You may even create a standing arrangement for any coins that come your way, so you don’t have to go through the whole process each time you have a collectible coin to sell.