Inheriting a large collection of coins or being tasked with selling off the coins for an estate can be a daunting prospect if you aren't familiar with rare coins. It can be tempting to just dump the whole lot on a coin collector and hope for the best. Instead, try the following tips so you can get the greatest value for the coins with the least amount of headaches.
Tip #1: Get a Guidebook
Sort through the coins first to get an idea of what you are dealing with. If you primarily have United States currency, a guidebook to US coins will be sufficient. For foreign currency, purchase a guidebook on world coins. These books are also usually available at libraries. Sort through the coins using the guidebook and divide them into categories – those worth more than face value and those only worth face value.
Tip #2: Check Online
At this point, the only coins you should be interested in are the ones with some additional value – the rest can be deposited in the bank. You can now check online rare coins sites to see the current going rates on the coins you have. Auction sites can give you a good guide to the current value of the coins to collectors. Just remember, these selling prices are going to be higher than what you will likely receive unless you try to sell each coin individually on your own. Instead, just think of this amount as a basic guideline.
Tip #3: Prepare for a Sales Call
Don't clean the coins before visiting a coin dealer, since the patina is part of the appeal of an old coin. Instead, simply arrange the coins in the way that makes the most sense to you so the dealer can sort them easily. This can be by denomination or value. If you have some coins that appear to be very rare or valuable, feel free to keep these separate. Also, bring your notes on the value so you have an idea of what you are working with.
Tip #4: Make the Sale
The simplest way to liquidate a large collection when you have no intention of entering the coin collecting hobby is to sell them as a lot to a rare coin buyer. Generally, you will be offered a flat rate for all of the coins. Since you should know the relative value from your research, it should be simple to tell if this is a fair deal. Rare valuable coins can be bargained over separately from the main lot. Selling as a lot does result in receiving less money overall for the collection, but it is the least time-consuming method to handle it so is likely worth it if coin selling isn't your passion. Contact a professional, such as Dr. Richard S. Appel, for more information.