You have old coins laying around the house. They aren’t taking up much space, but you know they’re worth “something.” And now you’re finally serious about trying to sell them.
But eBay is a pain in the neck. Sellers get bombed with lowballers who don’t know the real value of what you’re selling…or they do know but are hoping you don’t! Either way, it’s a hassle.
If you want to sell for top dollar, use a site dedicated to selling coins. The process will be smoother and should increase your odds of getting the amount you want for them. So let’s get started with some tips on how to sell those coins for what they’re worth!
Discover the value of your coins
How can you sell your old coins for a good profit if you’ve got no clue what they’re worth? You can’t! But there are ways to figure out a reasonable asking price.
Whether you have gold coins, silver coins, or rare US coins, you need a realistic ballpark asking price, not some uninformed “guesstimate.” Start your research at Professional Coin Grading Services. Their online price guide lists “average dealer asking prices” for all kinds of coins. Another site that helps determine the worth of your old coins is APMEX.
These types of sites do most of the legwork for you, but they’re only guides. Like any collectible market, coin values can fluctuate a lot.
Sell only what coin buyers want
After you’ve learned the general value of the coins you want to sell, focus on those with the most sales potential. It’ll keep you motivated to continue. Imagine if the first coin you put up for sale just sits there. What are the odds you’ll want to keep trying? But if the first coin you post sells instantly, you’ll keep going until all those old coins are finally gone.
One word of caution—if your coins sell too fast, you may not be asking enough.
Get to know your coins
When it comes to rare coins, the devil is in the details. List as many details and specs as you can. Basics will cover the physical description elements, i.e. what the coin is made of (gold, silver, copper, nickel, etc.), its condition, and what is depicted on the obverse (head) and reverse sides of the coin.
Next, cite specifics such as the denomination and year (if applicable), grade, thickness, diameter, any mint marks, and the exact metal content. You don’t want to sell a coin for less than its melt value (the value of the metal it contains), but of course many US coins actually have a higher face value than melt value.
Just remember—rare coins are usually sold because of their rarity, historic value, and state of preservation, not their face or intrinsic melt value.
Sell your coins like a pro
If you want to fetch professional prices, you can’t sell like an amateur. So think like a marketer and put a little sizzle in your coin’s story. Write a short sentence or two about each coin you sell, using historical trivia. Is there anything unusual or distinctive about it?
Take the time to do a little research on sites like Mint.com so you can tell the coin’s story to potential buyers. For a deep dive into history, check out the American Numismatic Society’s MANTIS objects database. Coins featuring some minting error from the production process are often highly sought after. Let’s say the planchet (the blank metal disk that the coin’s image is struck onto) bears some visible defect. See if you can find out why, then highlight that fact as a selling point.
Also include plenty of well-lit, high-resolution photos of your coins, with close-ups from all angles. Rare coin buyers love close-ups!
Manage your expectations when selling coins
Okay, you’ve done all of the above and yet…no bites on your ad. There’s either no buyer out there currently in the market for your coins, or your ad isn’t compelling enough. Or you’re asking too much!
Don’t fret if your coins don’t sell in the first 24 hours. Give it time before you lower your price. If the right buyer doesn’t come along, try beefing up the ad then wait a bit more. Not every coin sale sets the world on fire, but you will sell when you hit the right combo of selling price and buyer’s interest.