Coin Collecting Can Offer Enriching Experiences-Like Yesterday

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Publius2, May 20, 2022.

  1. Publius2

    Publius2 Well-Known Member

    My wife has a friend (a professional woman and a person of some capability and intelligence) whose father passed a few years ago and left a large collection/accumulation of coins to his four children. During the estate probate, their attorney recommended that the basis of the split between the four kids be based upon solely the gold bullion value. That certainly made the split simpler and easier to administer but no doubt did not result in a genuine even distribution since it ignored all numismatic value. That said, the lady recently asked for my help in figuring out what to do with her portion of this trove. We met yesterday and spent 4 hours looking at about 10% of what she had. That 10% occupied a large (24" x 16" x 16") Rubbermaid tote. I had asked her to bring a representative sampling which consisted of pre-1933 US gold, French gold Napoleans and Roosters, Austrian 4 Ducat gold, modern US gold, a ton of ASEs, a couple of complete Franklin Mint proof sets, and some miscellaneous other stuff.

    Well, this was no "grandma's shoebox" accumulation. Rather than spend our time looking in depth at each coin (Oh, how I was tempted), we spent most of our time talking about her goals. I think I really helped her with developing a framework for moving forward towards her goals of retaining a portion for sentimental and family legacy (estate) purposes and selling off the portion that didn't meet that criteria. She had so much stuff that the whole enterprise was overwhelming and confusing for her. So I laid out some strategies for how to think about these things and how to satisfy her desire to involve her children in the decisions without having it turn into a free-for-all. Basically make 3 piles: a "keep" pile, a "sell" pile, and a "too hard" pile. Let the adult children make recommendations out of the "too hard" pile. That way she keeps control.

    I also talked about venues for disposal, discussing the auction houses most appropriate for her coins (Heritage, Great Collections), how they conduct their business, buyers versus sellers premiums, eBay pros and cons, and local dealers pros and cons. She thinks her sister sold off her inheritance at a pawn shop (ouch).

    Talked about the TPGs, the basic services they provide (authentication, grading and encapsulation), and why slabbing enhances a coin's marketability and value. Explained when it made sense to get coins slabbed or not. Discussed the basics of grading, why it is massively important and showed her how a coin's value is significantly dependent upon grade. Showed her PCGS and NGC websites for slab certification and explained about those sites' price guides. Looked up one of her coins (1855-O $1) on NGC and then showed her Greysheet's wholesale bid. Then I explained about auction prices and we looked up that coin on Heritage's auction database and what that coin went for there. Also explained why two coins of the same grade can have markedly different values. All to illustrate that there is no simple answer to the neophyte's first question "What's it worth?"

    She had a tube of 1993 $10 Eagles. I talked about Chinese counterfeits and we weighed a few of them (they were all good). I also explained that if she took them into a local reputable bullion dealer (I named the one I have used and she had seen the shop) that they would use their machine to validate the gold before making an offer.

    At the end of the day, she said she really learned a lot, found it very interesting, and felt a great deal more positive about how to go about organizing towards meeting her goals. She also wants to meet again and bring another package of new material.

    I found the whole experience very enriching and satisfying myself. Not only did I get to look at some neat stuff but I was able to help a friend. Who knows, there were a couple of coins I might make her a fair offer on.
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  3. charley

    charley Well-Known Member

    Ohoh, not the best opening for a story....suggestion: redo without the word "some".... Because, well, the consequences of God's gift to the male reading it will quickly become God's wrath on the male. She won't care at all about intentions or good will or innocent word placement. I know stuff. Edit faster.

    Other than that, a very enjoyable story.
  4. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    What a great service you provided for this lady. some years ago I friend of mine in church knew I was an avid coin collector. After his father passed, he asked if I could come help him make sense of his fathers coin collection. I went over... And then he opened a closet door... The entire closet being dedicated to his daddy's collection and my eyes glazed over... I spent every evening for the next two weeks in his daddy's coin closet. Hundreds of rolls of walkers, Mercury dimes, on and on. I inventoried as best I could, though I didn't take coins from their tubes to look for rarities. That just wasn't practical. I sent the list to a couple of dealer buddies that responded with offers and we carried his daddy's collection to one of them that paid cash on the spot.... Anyway, I said all that because the next week I received a thank you card with an envelope containing a proof set (in the mint mailing envelope!) from my birth year enclosed. I sure wasn't expecting that..... When folks happen upon a problem like that I believe they appreciate our help and guidance. I'll bet you will hear from her again for the fine service you provided to her.
  5. Publius2

    Publius2 Well-Known Member

    I know you're trying to be amusing. But I will still point out that use of the word "some" in this context means "more than normal".
    Scott J, Paddy54, spirityoda and 2 others like this.
  6. charley

    charley Well-Known Member

    Got it. I m not trying. I am warning (now that is funny). I will refrain, though, in the future, to avoid any need on your part to instruct in word usage.

    I know you're trying to be condescending. But.....the story was enjoyable, regardless.
  7. BuffaloHunter

    BuffaloHunter Short of a full herd Supporter

    I have done a few jobs of this nature, though not to the extent you tell of here. What a joy to go through something like this.
  8. kazuma78

    kazuma78 Supporter! Supporter

    Job well done! It's fun to do that and help. A friend of mine who is not a collector asked me to help a client of his with this very same thing. For once the collection was fantastic and I gave her the same advice you did. I told her the collection was probably worth $20k-40k depending on how coins were graded and she said she would contact me in the spring for more help. In the spring my friend said she took it all to a local coin ship where she proceeded to sell it for $10k. It was extremely disheartening, partially because I was looking forward to getting them graded for her or consigning them, partially because it ended up being a massive waste of my time and partially because I would have happily forked over far more than $10k for them had she offered them to me. Lots of 1800's proofs and gold were in the collection, all bought in the mid-late 80s.
    Mr.MonkeySwag96 likes this.
  9. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Even for a well experienced collector, an accumulation like this can be overwhelming. Some people might think that dealers make low ball offers compared to when the coins ultimately bring, but there is more involved here.

    After you have looked at the collection and purchased the coins, a dealer has to catalog them and prepare them for sale. Which coins should be sold raw? Which ones should be certified? Which coins should be sold as bullion or in balk?

    After all of those issues, you place the coins out for sale. It can take more than year to sell all of them. I once bought a group of Indian cents. There were a lot of better dates from the 1870s like 1870, 1871 and 1872. There was an 1877, but it had been cleaned, and would have been sent back to me in a body bag if sent to PCGS or NGC at the time I had it. I sent it to the old ANACS because I knew that they would certify it as genuine.

    When I put out the coins to sell, the better dates sold pretty well, often to dealers. There were not any Mint State coins in the group, but there were a lot of nice VF and EF grade coins. The common dates took a good deal longer. Many of them were nice coins in VF and EF, but the interest was limited. Overall it took me about a year to get Grey Sheet or better prices for them.

    “Low ball” offers on raw coins are not always “low ball.” There is more involved than you might think.
    Dynoking and kazuma78 like this.
  10. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Supporter! Supporter

    This post illustrates how important it is to leave specific instructions on how you want your collection to be dealt with. I have no one in my family, immediate or extended, that is interested in collecting, so without my instructions, they would probably sell it to the first offer of a few bucks and be done with it.
  11. Matthew Kruse

    Matthew Kruse Young Numismatist

    Thanks for sharing, most of the collections I look at are the “grandma’s shoebox” type. The most I’ve appraised was approximately 10k worth of coins. I’m sure it was a lot of fun to look through those, and it sounds like there’s more to come!

    If you’re up for the challenge, be sure to get in contact with the other family members who received coins and see if they would like you to do the same for them.

    In my experiences, I have found people are very grateful for this service and would typically give the “appraiser” a coin or some coins for their time. Just don’t expect it though, be happy if it happens ;)

    Looking forward to hearing the rest of the story and would love to see pictures if possible.
  12. Paddy54

    Paddy54 Hey brother can you spare a half dime?

    You know you alway hear about stories like this....and wonder how true they are....and not doupting the op at I ran across a lady who's dad had passed . He was in the military and she had no idea that her dad was pretty well off...
    However what happen ..her dad passed.... and was living up in the Pacific northwest.
    She sent her husband up to take care of the estate...
    Well long story short...he calls her...tells her he cannot bring it all back on a plane.
    That he thinks it be better if he came home....and the 2 of them rent a truck to bring his coin collection back to Kansas!
    Her dad had a box truck load of coins! They flew up and drove the truck back home.

    I was a dealer on ebay at the time looking for a deal....I found one.
    As this is how I met this lady.
    She began to list on ebay the coins...not knowing anything....sell gold ,key.semi keys...not priced correctly, as well offering shiping for $2 on $5 gold, and key coins.
    To be honest...I could made out like a she was ripe for picking!
    I messaged her...and introduced myself...and began to explain to her....that she was setting herself up for failure. Mailing a coin with no tracking or insurance. ....Im like your going to be picked clean #1 your prices arent in line with what your selling...and your going to mail a very expensive coin with out tracking and signed for....?
    I convinced her to buy a red book, I also gave her Fred Wienburg name and number.
    So yeah things like this happens quite offten, and from our prospective find it hard to believe that others don't have the knowledge to truly understand exactly what they have.
    I feel good about doing what I did...reaching out to her and advise her to the best of my abilities so she wouldn't be ripped off.
    She did thank me...and sent me about 6 common Jefferson a Thank You.;)

    But can you imagine a box truck full of coins? She did share that her fathers commanding
    Officer sent her father home off base one day with MP's as he had taken a larger amount of coins on base to show and tell his friends..
    When her dads head officer saw what he had brought to wise he sent him home with guards so he wouldn't be robbed.
    So yeah....stories like this does and do happen. When a large collection isn't liquidated pryor to the collectors death,or records kept explaining exactly what ,and value it represents.
  13. Publius2

    Publius2 Well-Known Member

    The lady I am working with had pretty good records and receipts that her father kept when he purchased at least some of the coins back in the 90s. It was interesting to see what he'd paid for them.
    Paddy54 and kazuma78 like this.
  14. tommyc03

    tommyc03 Senior Member

    I thought the very same thing. Ooooh, that's gonna' put a hurting on him.
  15. Paddy54

    Paddy54 Hey brother can you spare a half dime?

    Unfortunately this lady and her father lived far apart.... and as I said she believed that her husband could bring it back in a suitcase... that didn't happen... but as you are im happy to see the money stay within the family where it belongs.
    This lady kept saying all she wanted was a cruise vacation...what she had up on e bay value was enough to send her and her husband on a world wide cruise.
    She had no idea her father had this much money.
  16. ksparrow

    ksparrow Coin Hoarder Supporter

    Fascinating story. Publius2, this lady is very fortunate to have you for a friend! Well done sir!
    Randy Abercrombie likes this.
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