Since many of the members have asked this question reqarding a previous post, I thought that I would start a new thread and offer the options.
1. If you can determine the value of your collection, this allows more options. So lets start with that one.
If your collection contains highly commonly recognized or traded coins such as Morgan Dollars you can sell them to a dealer, shop the coins between dealers or use a various range of auctions.
If your collection is more high end material such as Key Dates, Ultra Grades, or Rare coins, your options are more limited as the collector base is smaller. While you may run across a better date St. Gauden in MS-66 on venues such as Ebay, you will find more buyers of this type of material with more mainstream auction houses such as Bowers or Superior. Collectors participating in these type of auctions are prepared to buy high end material, and there are fewer bargain hunters (as a whole).
Selling outright. A common myth among collectors is that you should shop your coins around to get the best price. This is often a downfall for those that have limited knowledge about how the market works. Now again, this is for large, valuable collections only.
If you contact a large dealer with an option to sell your collection, that dealer will begin to use the dealer networks to find potential buyers. None of us want material sitting around collecting dust. So as we shop these coins around to find the interest, if other dealers are doing the same thing, it can appear to dealers that you are trying to auction the coins to us. This is NOT a good thing.
When dealers are trying to put together a price for your collection, much of the price will depend on what we can get in return for our time and money. Now this does not apply to run of the mill coins. While there are quite a few dealers who have no issue with spending a hundred grand on a collection, we all have the same goal. To move the material in a timely fashion.
So if you are attempting to sell a large, valuable collection, start with a large dealer to begin with. Don't try the local shop in town, or a friend of a friend. What happens more often than not, is when too many dealers are attempting to "shop" the same collection, no one buys it.
Dealers make a living at selling coins. We all have a short list of buyers for high end material. Often, many dealers have the same list of buyers, so if we are all trying to sell a particular coin or set, it makes it hard if other dealers are trying to sell the same set or coin.
Now if you do not know much about coins, your options are still the same. First, you must find a dealer or well versed collector to help you determine value. Just because a coin is old and pretty doesn't make it valuable. Once you determine value, research is necessary to determine where the best venue is for your coins. It could be an outright sale, auction, consignment, or taking them to a show and shopping the coins yourself. The point is, you MUST know your collection.
Internet forums are a great place to learn, but often the visitors/members are amazed at high value items appearing on venues like Ebay. Even this forum has threads of high priced coins, with posts wondering if the seller has lost his marbles. Now to those of us that are more knowledgeable in the coin market are not shocked at high values as some coins routinely command high prices.
Now I understand that many will disagree with these options, and that is fine. My exposure to the coin market is different than most people as I am on the other side of the isle. I can only offer the advice of what I have learned making a living in this business. There are probably many other options available, and some may even be better. Again, I can only offer what I know, without regard to personal or professional gain. I am here to share what my experience has taught me in this business.