Top Five Things to Know Before You Sell Your Coins

Top Five Things to Know Before Selling Your Coins


When selling gold and silver coins, you can increase your advantage by understanding how things work behind the scenes. One of the biggest problems we see is the wide gulf between what the average consumer expects from a coin dealer, and what the average coin dealer believes s/he should provide to the consumer. The majority of these differences boil down to trust.

the coin co ottawa buys old victorian silver coinThe average consumer thinks s/he can trust the coin dealer to give him or her an honest appraisal and pay a fair price for their coins. The average dealer feels it is right to pay the lowest price s/he can for the coins, to maximize profit, and that it is up to the consumer to do their homework.

Selling coins is more challenging than buying them. The first thing to remember is you cannot force anybody to buy your coins. There is no automatic process. You have to work at it. The smarter you work at it, the better the result. There are do’s and don’ts to follow. There are five tips to keep in mind as you prepare to sell your coins and there are five popular methods of selling coins.


Tip 1: Know prices

When you want to sell coins, you usually cannot obtain retail coin prices listed in Coin Digest. Dealers have to make a profit on what they buy and you must expect them to offer less than the prices printed here in this book.

How much less?

the coin co ottawa always uses the most recent commodities price chart for buying gold and silver coinsThe answer can be a shock. For accurately graded and described material, offers will come in depending on how long the dealer expects that he will have to hold the material in inventory before he can in turn sell it to someone else. For coins that might hang around for awhile, you are likely to get no more than 60 percent of retail. Coins that contain precious metals trade at far less of a discount to retail. Because metals were hot as this is written, many Canadian and U.S. coins that trade close to bullion prices were actually trading at premium prices. These include many of the common circulated Canadian and U.S. gold coin dates. Knowing what is easily traded will help you accurately determine what has the higher values.

Most circulated dates are just returned to the bank. Even the Mint State grade coins are not in particularly high demand. If your collection contains classically rare coins, the prices you will get for them will be closer to retail value. Age does not automatically translate to value, but it has given the hobby time to establish pricing relationships that hold up year after year. Learn what these are and profit from them.


Tip 2. Complete Inventory

It is crucial to have an accurate inventory of what you are trying to sell, whether it is two coins you want to get rid of because you have others, or whether it is a lifetime collection.

A buyer needs solid information on which to base his calculations of what he will pay. An inventory is usually a starting point for discussion. It doesn’t mean the dealer doesn’t want to see what you have. He will ask if and when he is ready for the next step. A look at an inventory list will give him the opportunity to say that even if the coins are as you represent them, he just doesn’t have a need for them. That saves you the trouble of hauling them around.

Specialists in a certain coinage, for example, are less likely to spend time analyzing the value of coins outside of their area, but a generalist, which coin shop proprietors usually are, might be interested in everything.


the coin co ottawa buys olympic coin setsTip 3. Complete Sets Are Better

It is far easier to sell complete sets of various Canadian or American coins for better prices than hodgepodge accumulations. Accumulations can have some good values hidden in them, but it is harder for a would-be buyer to make that judgment.

A complete set of large cents speaks volumes in a few words. These are easier to evaluate and to sell to others. Thus, prices offered to sellers will tend to be higher. But that doesn’t mean your single coins aren’t worth anything. Quite the contrary!



Tip 4. Be Up-Front and Honest

If you don’t know something, the would-be buyer will figure this out in a hurry. If your lack of knowledge paints you as an unreasonable person, say trying to pass off AU-58 coins as MS-65, the buyer will not want to do business with you, or he will lowball you to protect himself.

Just being honest won’t make a deal happen, but it is a critical foundation to eventually making a satisfactory deal happen.


Tip 5. Don’t Ship Coins Without Permission

Shipping coins to someone without being asked is a frequent mistake and a stupid one at that. Make sure that the recipient knows something is coming to him, that he knows precisely what is coming and that he wants them to come.

Nothing is so irritating as getting coins in the mail that are unexpected and perhaps unneeded. Think about this for your own protection. A dealer who doesn’t need something is going to offer you less money if he makes an offer at all. A dealer for whom you’ve made things difficult is going to discount his prices to pay for the trouble that is caused. A would-be buyer might not want your coins at all and you are on the hook for the return shipping costs.


The Bottom Line…

It is your choice which way you choose to sell your coins. There is no right or wrong way. It is a matter of getting the best prices possible. The above tips can certainly go a long way when applied properly.

You can choose to sell in multiple ways over time. You can break collections up and sell your best one to the specialist, your bulk circulated silver coin sets to a shop owner and put a few medals online to see what they will bring. But remember one final bit of advice. As a collector, it is up to you to be ready to sell when the time comes. This means test your sales skills from time to time. Even when you are most interested in buying, plan to sell a piece here and there just to see who treats you the best and who gives you the best prices.

Desirable outcomes aren’t always a given, but if you practice, the odds tilt in your favor. People change over the years as old-timers leave the business and newcomers enter. A bitter divorce might change the nature of a dealer’s business dealings. He might become less pleasant to deal with.

You might hate dealing with online buyers, but you won’t find this out if you don’t do a little advance preparation.

It is up to the collector to be ready to sell his collection when the time comes. A part of this process is to do some test runs with a few pieces over the years.

If you do that when the time comes, you will be ready to get the best prices for the collection that you have built. That is the name of the game. We collectors are merely custodians of our collections. Sooner or later, we have to give them up. A properly prepared collector will achieve the most satisfactory result.

At The Coin Co. we believe that paying a FAIR price, and not lowballing, is a more ethical way to run our business. Treating people and their items with respect; communicating all our findings; and never trying to ‘close the deal’ creates a pleasant working environment and a customer experience worth sharing.



If you have old, unwanted gold and silver coins and want to find out how much they are really worth, contact The Coin Co. today and set up a free in-home or office evaluation. You’ll be glad you did!



1150-45 O’Connor Street  @  Ottawa, ON K1P 1A4  @  613.668.5123  @



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