Sell Silver Coins

How do you sell silver coins for the best possible price? Silver coins are used in pretty much the same way as gold coins, as a hedge against inflation. However, the market for silver is a less stable than gold, so it is not as easy to make decisions on selling silver coins.

A bit of history

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.  Because of its long history and its relative durability, old silver coins are really old, and the more coveted ones are 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.

Selling silver coins

However, because silver is not as rare as gold or platinum, and the market demand is not as consistent, selling silver coins is not as straightforward. Before selling silver coins, there should consider some factors that will affect the selling price, including where to sell them.

Do your research

Granted you are in a rush to sell. This does not mean you should not take the time to do your research. It is easy enough to find the information you need online to know more about what you have on hand.  The first thing you have to do is find out the current market value or spot price of silver. Note that spot price is quoted in troy ounces for pure silver, and silver coins are seldom pure silver. Therefore, the next thing you need to find out is the purity of the silver of your coin and its weight.  This basic information will give you the market value of the silver content of your coin.

The next thing you have to find out is if your coin has numismatic value.  A good example is the denarius coin describe above. The silver content is pegged at $2, but its age and rarity makes it much more valuable.  For example, the 1804 Silver Dollar, which has a face value of $1, weighed between 24.72 and 26.98 grams. There were several strikes made for the same design, which were used for diplomatic purposes.  An interesting fact about it is that it was not actually minted in 1804, but in 1834 and later. A more interesting fact is it is currently worth between $3.8 and 4.1 million, depending on the class. It is one of the rarest silver coins in existence, with only 15 specimens known to exist.

It is unlikely that you have one of those without knowing about it, but stranger things have been known to happen. In any case, you still may have a silver coin with numismatic value. Check online for any mention of the particular coin you have to see if you are sitting on a goldmine. Well, it is actually a silver one in this case. Whatever you find, it will give you an idea if your coin has numismatic value or not, or if you should expect to be paid only for its silver content.  Typically, a regular bullion coin with nothing historical to it than the fact that the government minted it can fetch a little more than spot price. To be sure, get a quote from two to three coin buyers to get a feel for the market.

A note on slabbed coins

Many coins are slabbed, which means they have been graded and certified by a professional service, before being sealed in hard plastic, or “slab.” The slabbed coins include a label providing details of the coin. Provided the certification is from a reputable grading service, this assures buyers of the genuineness of the coin. In addition, the plastic protects the coin from substitution as well as most physical damage. However, the seal is not airtight, so it will not protect it from oxidation, which is usually a problem with coins with high silver content.  Many buyers will pay for slabbed coins they have not yet seen.

Where to sell silver coins

Now that you know exactly what you have on hand, and its probable worth, you can decide on where to sell it. Here are some options.

Coin dealers

Coin dealers are your best option. It is a specialty market, so they are more likely to appreciate the value of your silver coin more than regular silver buyers are. Find a local dealer that has been in business for several years, and has a good reputation in the community. You can get spot cash if you need to sell quickly. It may also be a good idea to sell your coin on consignment if you are not in a hurry to get a good price.

However, that only works if there is a coin dealer in your area. Online coin dealers are also an option, but you will have to go through the trouble of sending your coins for appraisal, getting insurance for it, and waiting for it to be sent back if you don’t like the offer. Unless you think you have a big-ticket item on hand, this may not be worth the trouble.


Pawnshops are your next best option if you want to sell silver coins quickly. There is usually at least one pawnshop within easy driving distance anywhere. They usually have some experience with valuing silver coins, and if you go to a reputable outfit, you should get a good price. You will not get the best price, but you will get cash on the spot.


You will probably get better value for a rare or numismatic coin from coin shows and auctions, and if you have time to wait. However, if you just have regular silver coins, local coin dealers or pawnshops are your best bets.