Executors have a lot of responsibility on their hands when liquidating an estate. If you’ve been left with an estate coin collection, you may have many questions about the best ways to organize, evaluate, and sell the coin collection. The Diamond Room’s experienced coin buyers can assist you with some tips and tricks to make the process easier.
Step 1: Organize Your Coin Collection
Once you receive the coin collection, you should do some research before beginning the organization process. It may be helpful to purchase a copy of the most recent United States Blue Book, which provides detailed information about U.S. coins, their value, denomination amounts, and key dates. Having the most recent copy will also reflect accurate pricing adjusted for inflation.
When organizing, first separate foreign money from any U.S. coins and bills in your collection. Then, use your guidebook to help separate the coins into smaller categories, such as denominations, metal types, dates, and mintage. If your collection is especially large, with thousands of coins, you may only have time to sort the most valuable pieces. In these cases, we recommend separating coins that meet these parameters:
● Pennies minted in 1909 and earlier (including Indian Head pennies, Flying Eagle cents, and Large cents)
● Nickels minted in 1938 and earlier (including Buffalo nickels, Liberty nickels, and Shield nickels)
● Dimes minted in 1964 & earlier (90% silver coins)
● Quarters minted in 1964 & earlier (t90% silver coins)
● Half dollars minted from 1965 – 1970 (40% silver coins)
● Half dollars minted in 1964 & earlier (90% silver coins)
● Silver dollars minted in 1935 & earlier (90% silver and may have rare dates)
● Assembled albums, packages, folders, and coin sets
● Any gold, silver, platinum, or palladium coins, bars, and rounds
● Any certified or professionally graded coins
● Old U.S. large notes, individual bank-issued, state-issued and Confederate bills or paper currency
If your coins are already in cases or albums, leave them be; this makes it easier for a coin dealer to identify them by dates and mintage. If your coins are loose, consider buying coin tubes or albums to store them safely. For especially rare coins, coin folders are helpful. Do not clean the coins, as this can alter their appearance.
Step 2: Evaluate the coins
Once your coins are organized, your guidebook can also be a helpful resource for evaluating them. Using the price guides, go through each group of coins and identify which ones are especially rare and valuable. Get an approximate count of each type, or for large collections, get an approximate weight.
At this point, you may want to contact a dealer and set up an appointment to get an estimated value for the collection. The coin dealer will need to know the size and composition of the collection to determine the potential value and time it will take to evaluate. At the appointment, they will thoroughly evaluate the collection and itemize the coins and currency, individually pricing rare, key date, and uncirculated coins.
Step 3: Sell the coins
There are several different methods for selling a coin collection, but online auction sites, auction houses, and coin dealers are typically the safest and most profitable. Learn the pros and cons of each option:
● Online auction sites: These sites expand your customer base to potentially thousands of interested buyers, who may bid higher than the approximated value from a coin dealer. However, setting up the listings can be very time-consuming, as you must photograph each coin and price it yourself. These sites can also add fees and commissions that subtract from the final price, not including shipping and handling. You are also responsible for communications with the buyer, packing and shipping, and possible returns.
● Auction houses: If your collection is very large, an auction house can help sell it more quickly. Typically, auction houses require the collection to be valued at $1,000 or more. Similar to an online auction, you may get a larger price than initially anticipated, but you also risk losing money if there are no interested buyers. Additional fees may also be required to cover commission.
● Coin dealers: These buyers allow you to sell your collection at competitive rates quickly. You will likely receive an offer similar to those found in your pricing guide, though you may want to check out a few different dealers to ensure you get the best deal. Before selling, always check the dealer’s reviews to ensure they are a trusted source.
The Diamond Room offers coin dealing services from experts you can trust. We can help you evaluate your coin collection and simplify the liquidation process. Contact us today to learn how we can help with your estate coin collection.