Advice Appreciated: Selling Coins

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by RScott, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. RScott

    RScott New Member

    Greetings---This looks like a great site for coin questions and answers. I apologize if this has been asked before, but I searched many threads in this forum and could not find a question/answer quite like mine.

    Over many years my family and I received collectible coins as gifts from a relative who was an enthusiastic coin collector. It was such a nice gesture to include us in her hobby, and we always carefully stored the coins, thinking that someone in the family might take up coin collecting as a hobby someday. I collected as a child, but didn’t keep it up--and now I just have too many other hobbies to take on another. So now our family has quite a number of coins, but nobody to appreciate them. So I would like to look into how I can sell them.

    I’ve done quite a bit of research over a few weeks, and it looks like some of the coins are quite valuable. There are many coins (probably over 100), with a wide variety. A few random examples include: Many Morgan Dollars, Krugerrand 2001 1oz Gold, British Royal Mint 2000 Millennium Gold Sovereign 1st Strike gold PCGS MS67, etc. I randomly looked up a few of my PCGS-graded Morgan dollars, and PCGS says some are worth well over $2,000 each. I won’t bore you with a full inventory, and I’m sure some aren’t worth nearly that much, but the point is that many have significant value---so I want to be well-educated.

    It seems there are many different options for me, such as: sell to a coin dealer, bring to a coin show, auction them online, etc. The most appealing to me is auctioning them online, since I can sell them one by one on my own time, and since I'm not an expert, seems like I should be able to get more fair prices in an auction versus trying to sell them to a coin dealer. Better to have more than one bidder.

    The only problems I can see with the online auction approach for me are these: 1) Most of the coins have not been graded (though some have grades, and at least all of them are in some kind of slab). I can certainly take decent photos, but seems like even good photos are no substitute for a PCGS grade, or for actually holding a coin. 2) I have only bought and sold a few things on eBay (none of them coins), so don’t have anywhere near a “Power Seller” reputation built up. So I’m guessing these factors would quite negatively impact the bids I would get.

    So I have a few questions, please:
    • If you were in my shoes, would you sell them through an online auction site---even with the drawbacks mentioned above?
    • If online auction, would you use eBay? (vs. some other auction site)
    • If online auction, does the “no grade” issue matter a lot if you have decent photos? (Would it be worth the $30 per coin to send all the obviously valuable ones to PCGS to get them graded/slabbed?)
    • Do you have other ideas that I’m overlooking for a better way to sell them at the fairest price?
    Keep in mind that I am in no particular hurry to sell the coins...I just want to get a fair price for them. I think coin collecting is very interesting, and have learned a lot over the past few weeks, but with family/work obligations and other hobbies, I just can’t afford the time to become a collector---and I think others would get more enjoyment out of the collection.

    Sorry this is such a long post. Any and all advice greatly appreciated!
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  3. SapperNurse

    SapperNurse DOD enhanced

    Wow that is a loaded post, as a relatively newbie to coin collecting still, I can let you know how I feel.

    I have a feedback of 110 on ebay, most of it buying, but I have never had a problem sellign raw (ungraded coins) The higher end PCGS and NGC coins could also be consigned to heritage for auction.

    Stick around cointalk for a while and share what coins you have, ecspecially the ungraded coins, as there are som peoplel who are members here who are great graders with a set of good pics.
    Because of the fees associated with Ebay, another selling option is to list them here with us in our open forum (after you have 10 posts) as it is free. However you decided to proceed, be sure to keep us in mind when the sales begin!
  4. mrbrklyn

    mrbrklyn New Member

    While online auctions don't necessarly guarantee you the best pricing, I'd try Heritage. Auction houses do take there fair share of profit. Keep that in mind.


    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Howdy RScott - Welcome to the Forum !!

    First of all, forget the PCGS price guide - it's worthless. For your coins that are slabbed, I would suggest that you register at Heritage, it's free and you can check actual realized auction prices. Then you will have some idea of true value. I will tell you right now that most find out that the coins are not worth what they thought they would be.

    Your post was well thought out and you are correct in most comments about you selling them on ebay. ou might do OK on some and not so well on others. ebay can be a crap shoot in that regard unless you are an established and trusted coin seller.

    My honest opinion of what would be best would be for you to sell them to a trusted & respected dealer. There are many here, including myself, who could make a recommendation of some who are.
  6. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

    welcome, and the advice above is very good.
  7. andrew289

    andrew289 Senior Analyst

    I would say that the first step is to bore us with a complete list of what each coin is and the date/mintmark if there is any. This will give us a better idea of what you have and that may drive the selling reccomendation one way or the others. There are just to many variables to consider in 100 random coins to give you solid suggestions. Also, indicate if that are slabbed by PCGS, NGC or another grading company as opposed to being in an airtite holder for protection. If there is a grade available on the packaging , please indicate that as well. Don't try to guess a grade for the raw (i.e. loose coins).

    Oh, and pictures would also be extremely helpful. The members here seem collect everything from coins run over by trains to proof 70 issues they can offer up opinions on grades. But remember the opinions will most likley vary widely know what they say about opinions
  8. Cloudsweeper99

    Cloudsweeper99 Treasure Hunter

    Selling the third party graded coins and bullion coins like Krugerrands through Ebay or Heritage would probably net you the most money for them if you can take really good photos. But I don't think you will necessarily get full value for the rest by auctioning them. It might be best to ask here for the name of an honest dealer in your area as suggested above. I wouldn't sell to a dealer who was not recommended here because my experience has been that most will lowball the offer price. So if you just walk into a random coin shop, chances are you will not get a fair price. I think it would also be valuable to get a Redbook and separate the coins into two rough categories - common and better date - using the prices in the book. The prices in the book are not accurate representations of what you can expect to get, but they are pretty accurate is distinguishing between common and more valuable coins. If you know ahead of time which coins are potentially more valuable, it will help ensure you get a fair deal when you sell them.
  9. andrew289

    andrew289 Senior Analyst

    Even if he walked into a coin shop that was recommended here doesn't mean that he will automatically be treated fairly. Dealers treat long term customers and one time sellers very differently. Chances are that he would still get lowballed because, in theory, he is walking into a random coin shop and has no relationship with the dealer. I know several so called "honest dealers" who are honest with their cronies and regulars but owe no loyality what so ever to anyone else that walks through the door. Especially a guy looking to unload some coins and not offer up any regular business.

    Dealers make their money one of two ways. For regular customers their profit is spread out over time ...undercharge here/over charge there. With sellers's a one time sale or maybe a 2-3 time sale depending on the size of the collection but it's stil not enough to build repeat business and a long term relationship so their is no motivation for the dealer to loose a chance at making rent for the month.

    Definately buy a redbook and get a rough idea of what you have.
  10. spock1k

    spock1k King of Hearts

    I would always sell online in your shoes no matter what. if you dont know enough other people can rip you but online these people bid against each other and cancel their effects

    i would use ebay . you get worldwide audience

    i ama susuming you mean the grade point that doesnt matter as much as being able to say uncirc gem choice etc. if you cant say anything then that will have a negative effect. for some good coins high end American mostly get them graded before you sell them you will make much more money that way

    i have advised 3 diff people in the recent past and all of them have gone on to sell very very profitably on ebay wish you best of luck.
  11. mrbrklyn

    mrbrklyn New Member

    That undercharge here and over charge there is called:

    Making a Profit on some things and giving a few loss leaders to regulars as an appreciation of their long term business or to drive sales.

    I just wanted to underscore that profits are not immoral.

  12. clembo

    clembo A closed mind is no mind

    Personally I would dump another hobby and replace it with coin collecting. Seems you have a hell of a start.
  13. Cloudsweeper99

    Cloudsweeper99 Treasure Hunter

  14. RScott

    RScott New Member

    Thank you all very much for your replies, and for welcoming a newbie like me. Seems like I innocently stepped on a bit of a hornet’s nest here with the dealer vs. do-it-yourself auction topic! Sorry, didn’t mean to be controversial (but I can see why it would be), and I can definitely see the potential benefits and costs of both approaches. I certainly have no problem with someone making a FAIR profit. I may try a little bit of both approaches to start to see which feels better. I have also ordered a 2008 redbook based on your suggestions…just to get ballpark estimates.

    A point of clarification: Regarding the “slabs” I said I have, I think I may have used the wrong term. While some of the coins are enclosed in a true sealed slab produced by PCGS, most of them are in what a newbie would call a plastic protective container. Here is a sample of the non-PCGS container I’m talking about:
    Looks like I can just open it myself, but I’m kind of afraid to break something by trying.

    More questions, if you don't mind:
    • I’ve heard conflicting advice on whether it makes sense to get the coins graded or not if I want to auction them. Would love to hear more thoughts on this. Seems like $30 (appears to be the going rate) could be a decent investment for coins that appear to be worth a lot. And does everyone feel comfortable shipping very valuable coins to PCGS and assuming they’ll come back with no hitches? That’s placing a lot of trust in PCGS (and the US postal service for that matter).
    • If I wanted to sell coins on an auction site (or on this site) without getting the coins graded, I obviously want to have good photos. Here are a couple samples I just took. Do you think these are good enough, or do you have suggestions for improving them? (I took them with a Canon 5 megapixel digital camera on tripod in “macro” mode): and
    • Regarding finding a good dealer, I am in the Marin County area (just north of San Francisco). Is there any consensus on a few honest and knowledgeable dealers in this area?
    Thanks again for your advice!
  15. wallyblackburn

    wallyblackburn New Member

    eBay. Yeah, definitely eBay. I am a relative newbie to coins, but I know eBay. Even an "honest" dealer is going to give you wholesale price - that's just what they should give you. EBay is going to get you about 70% of retail from what I am seeing.

    Your pics are OK - maybe brighten them up a bit and crop them. If you don't have software, there is a nice free one called Irfanview (stupid name, nice program).

    Couple of hints: have your auction end on Sunday or Monday evening, around 6PM PDT (eBay time). I don't know why, but they seem to do best then. Don't bother with "professional sounding" descriptions and all that - tell them the truth. Auction/eBay buyers love estates and such.

    As far as grading, I'll leave that to the more experience coin guys here. One thing I would consider: does the grading have the potential to really add to the value of the coin? The pic you show seems to be a good example - the 1886-O Morgan is retail $750 in MS-60, but jumps to $4250 in MS-63 like yours! WOW! Unfortunately, an inexperienced person like you (and me!) usually has a tough time grading MS coins. Telling the diff between a G-4 and a XF-40 is one thing, but between an MS-60 and MS-63 - whole other beast IMHO.

    OK, I've rambled on long enough. Hope I added something to the discussion.

  16. spock1k

    spock1k King of Hearts

    my 2 c4nts only get the expensive coins graded
    i ship very valuable coins to pcgs and never had a problem they wouldn't be in business if they couldn't take care of your coins
    send your stuff via registered mail with delivery confirmation and insurance thats what i do package it well and that way usps is taken care of
    whatever you do don't improve your pics with software people can call that misrepresentation if you use the pics to hide flaws and use lighting to your advantage
    no matter how good a dealer is if you don't know your stuff they can and will make an extra profit out of you know ledge is power and lack of knowledge is powerlessness
  17. wallyblackburn

    wallyblackburn New Member

    BTW - when I suggested using software, it was only for cropping...
  18. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author Thalia and Kieran's Dad

    First, welcome to Coin Talk.

    With respect to the photos, based on the time it took to load them, I would say that they are too large for the typical auction venues (and I'm on broadband!).

    I would suggest getting an inexpensive or free program to crop photos and create three views of each coin:
    1) A shot of the obverse of the coin in the slab, to show buyers that it is indeed slabbed and graded by PCGS.
    2) A close up of the obverse of the coin inside the slab. It's OK to crop out the rest of the slab as long as you have Photo #1.
    3) A close up of the reverse of the coin inside the slab.

    I would think that each of these images would have to be something less than 20 or 30 KB for purposes of an auction listing in order to faciliate loading, with larger versions of the same images available ("click for large photo").

    I agree that a small number eBay feedback rating, even if it's 100%, is going to be considered a "discount factor" to many potential bidders. My personal feeling is that once someone is past about a 100 they should be safe, depending on what is being sold--but I still read the comments if I haven't dealt with them before.

    I echo those who've already said that if you're in no rush, the best approach would be to learn as much as possible about the coins. You might decide to keep them after all!

    I'm sure our seven year old daughter Thalia Elizabeth would like to make you an offer on the First Strike Sovereign-- it meets her criteria: 2000, the year she was born; Queen Elizabeth, and gold! But she doesn't have quite enough in her piggy bank for it!

    Whatever you decide to do, good luck. I think your asking questions is the best approach.
  19. spock1k

    spock1k King of Hearts

    i know and i wanted to make sure it stayed that way and we dont put ideas into peoples heads ;)
  20. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Wally, where are you getting those prices ? The best I can find for MS60 is $575 and $2500 - $2600 for MS63.
  21. mikenoodle

    mikenoodle The Village Idiot Supporter

    welcome to the forum, rscott

    I hope you will hang around.
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