If you were cashing out

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by lrbguy, Aug 19, 2022.

  1. lrbguy

    lrbguy Well-Known Member

    For your consideration:

    Suppose you had a collection of Roman Imperial silver and late Roman bronze numbering about 3000 coins, in a value range (based on cost) of $1-$2000, with about an even distribution over the range of $10-200 per coin, and as many below $10 as above $200.

    How would you take such a thing to market?

    % as:
    sale listings on eBay
    out right sale to Vcoins dealers
    out right sale to other online vendors
    consignment to vcoins dealers
    consignment to american auction house
    consignment to non-US auction house

    Sale by specialized groupings: e.g. Tetrarchic Bronze, Constantinian, campgates, late AE reverse types; Imperial women; collections by mint
    denominations: denarii, antoniniani, argenti, siliquae, LRB I - IV;

    Goal: full liquidation within 4 years at par value going as coming

    Are some venues better for certain types of material than others? What sort of breakdown might that be?

    Where does one begin with such a thing to keep it marketable over the entire interval?
    Voldemort, Carl Wilmont and expat like this.
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  3. tibor

    tibor Supporter! Supporter

    I would contact CNG and use them. Very knowledgeable and
    trustworthy. They would be my first choice. Depending upon
    your location, I would recommend visiting their office in
    Lancaster, PA. Call them first.
    tel: 717-390-9194
  4. Cherd

    Cherd Junior Member Supporter

    I've never dealt with something like this, so can't offer advice from experience. But there are some generalizations that can be made fairly easily.

    The easiest approach would be to sell them all to a coin dealer in one go. The obvious downside of this is that it will also net you the least money. I also have to admit that I generally have an aversion to "dealers" in collectables markets. There is something organically beautiful about people building collections of otherwise useless items just because you have some specific appreciation for them. People skimming profits as middle men in these transactions just makes it all feel a bit dirty.

    Ebay seems like a different option, but in this case, Ebay is serving as the middle man instead of some guy (CNG and other auction companies fit into this category). You will net more money doing it this way, but it will also require a lot more work (creating listings, packaging, shipping, etc, etc). Also, depending on whether your coins are raw or slabbed, Ebay may not be the place (people are overly suspicious of raw coins on Ebay). If you want to use an auction house for raw coins, then I'd personally use CNG or something along those lines (They take 20%+ though).

    Which brings us to the preferred, but also not ideal option, directly selling to other collectors. This will potentially net you the most money, but involves all of the work stated above while also being the riskiest choice. It's risky because there aren't any convenient, free, online resources available for selling coins where one person doesn't have to trust the other to not rip them off (CoinTalk Sale forums for example). You can avoid having coins stolen by not shipping until payment is received, but the pool of buyers will be smaller unless they know you can be trusted.

    In any case, I personally would break the coins up into different pools and figure out how each grouping should be handled. Your $2000 coin should be treated differently than your piles of $10 coins.

    Anyway, probably not anything in all that rambling that you didn't already know, but that's my 2 cents :shame:
    Voldemort likes this.
  5. geekpryde

    geekpryde Husband and Father Moderator

    "full liquidation within 4 years " = You have time on your side.

    Assuming you are remotely good with coin photography, I would list 20 coins per week on eBay and see how it goes. No need to rush, you don't need to suddenly do 500 listings.

    See what sells for full price and what doesn't. After the end of year 3 of listing these 20 per week, you would have listed about all the coins.

    Assuming 20 coins x 52 weeks, x 3 years = 3,120 listings. Take a few weeks off, and we're at 3,000 listings.

    Anything left at the 3.5 year mark, you dump all the unsold coins at a single dealer for 50% of the value and walk away in one go.

    This hybrid approach would seem to maximize your money, selling the best / easiest stuff for full value, without really stressing you out too much trying to list 3000 coins in one go.

    This approach also means you will only be mailing out say 5-10 packages a week, as opposed to suddenly getting bombed with sales and needing to manage 500 orders in a month.
    rrdenarius and Trish like this.
  6. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately you have to take as much care selling your collection as you did buying it. My own experience has been spotty. I have used private treaty, auctions, selling to dealers, and even in some cases donations to museums. All have their place. As @geekpryde indicated you should have photos of your coins. This would help a lot. If you want to sell on eBay that would be necessary. It also would be a good idea if you want to dispose of the collection at auction to send them some pics and get their response.
    One thing though when doing your evaluations of the value of your coins you need to be absolutely ruthless. Comparing your coins to those which sold at auctions such as CNG or AC Search can be useful however Auctions can be crap shoots. I have seen some of my coins do extremely well and others die. You have to be prepared for that. Overall I have been happy with my results. Though coins do die overall given what I thought the group would be worth I invariably did better. Good luck.
    A couple of my coins that I had sold.
    Tetricus II Ae Antoninianus 273-274 AD Obv Bust right radiate Rv sacrificial implements RIC 259 2.09grms 18 mm CNG E Auction 433 Lot 475 November 28 2018 Paid $125 Back in 2010 Got $360 Minus fees.
    Tetricus I Ae Antonininus 271-274 AD Obv Bust right radiate. Rv Tetricus II stnding lef. RIC 115 2.39 grms 18 mm CNG E Auction 453 Lot 610 Bought this coin for 125 Euro on MA sold coin for $575 Minus fees.
    Both coins are common but they were better than average for Tetricus. The Tetricus I actually caused me some concerns. I knew that it was a good coin with a strong reverse, however I was fully prepared for this coin to die. I knew that it would have an estimate at $100 and it was entirely possible it would make a grand total of $60. Fortunately it did not.
    El Cazador and Bing like this.
  7. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    A reputable auction house in the states and over a period of time, not all at once.
  8. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Have to agree with this. Ebay can be atrocious in prices for sellers, Vcoins and the like have no guarantee anything sells. An auction is an auction, it will move. An ancient coin auction is where the buyers you wish to see them will be at. I am sure I miss deals on Vcoins and Ebay all of the time, I simply do not have time to peruse everything. I go for the best value for my time, that being ancient auctions.

    CNG is where I have instructions for my wife to send my pile if the kids don't want them. Tell them no rush, and eventually they will mail my wife a check.
    Carl Wilmont and Silphium Addict like this.
  9. El Cazador

    El Cazador Well-Known Member

    @lrbguy , if you have 4 years, anything sub $1,500 i would put on Ebay - eventually you will sell it at prices you control; anything above $1,500 - potentially auction house, if there are no seller fees or those around 5%
  10. Carausius

    Carausius Brother, can you spare a sestertius?

    You're gonna have a very tough time unloading the sub-$100 material except in large, group lots at auction. Keep in mind that some auction houses (like CNG) have minimum fees, which make really cheap coins impossible to sell individually (unless you want to eat the fee) - group lots are the only option for such material. Dealers aren't likely to buy the low value stuff outright and they'd sit a long time on eBay retail. Perhaps you could sell larger group lots on eBay auctions. I would try that in small doses first to gauge interest. Good luck!
    DonnaML and El Cazador like this.
  11. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    From my experience, Leu does incredibly well with job lots; hammer prices make me think that it's collectors competing, not dealers as is normally the case.

    Budget's a bit tight at the moment with inflation, but definitely shoot me an email if/when you're considering selling that Cornelia Supera!
  12. Iepto

    Iepto Active Member

    Plenty of dealers competing at leu. See lots of flips from them, particularly to roma and cng.
    El Cazador likes this.
  13. Cherd

    Cherd Junior Member Supporter

    Seller's fees and buyer's fees are essentially the same thing, buyer's tend to pay the total that they want to pay regardless of where the fees are being skimmed. Auction houses just like to use buyer's fees because they know that some people are bad at math (and they are willing to exploit that).
  14. El Cazador

    El Cazador Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately it is not the case, typically auction houses are double-dipping: there are seller fees + there are buyer fees, which in combination can reach 40% of a coin value…some, allow for 0% seller fees if the quality of a material is there and seller continues to deal with the auction house
  15. El Cazador

    El Cazador Well-Known Member

    Moral of the Story = buy low - sell high
    Silphium Addict likes this.
  16. romismatist

    romismatist Well-Known Member

    I would echo a combination of what others have already stated. The high value stuff will do better at auction (but you will have to deal with seller's fees and sometimes quirky bidding) and the low value stuff is probably better through EBay or other sites. There are specific auction houses which specialize, so you may want to research that aspect (ie Artemide Aste for Magna Grecian coins, or Stephen Album for the Near Eastern stuff). Catawiki may be another option for the better quality material or Facebook, which I haven't really explored myself yet.

    I did once try to sell a small subset of my collection to a local dealer but he only offered some crazy low number which would have put me significantly underwater. I did wind up selling to another dealer but still at a slight loss. In retrospect, I probably would have made more money selling those coins individually through EBay, especially if I would have waited.

    I used to sell regularly on EBay some time ago but have since stopped as it is a lot of work preparing and listing auctions. In addition, it's a real buyer's market as all the risks lie with the seller. If the buyer doesn't receive the coin, EBay can pull the money paid back from your account and refund the buyer, and you're out both the coin and the money. It may not happen often, but it does happen. Like auctions, sometimes the prices surprise you, both positively and negatively. I have had stuff sell for lower than I paid for it, and other stuff sell for much higher than I paid. If you have really low-value stuff, it's best to sell as a lot because with shipping costs and taxes automatically added in by EBay it may not be worth listing individual coins separately.

    So in summary: higher stuff at auction (research houses if you have specialty sub-collections), and lower stuff through EBay.
    sand likes this.
  17. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    If you’re like me, despite superior photos, you’ll sell 5% of your stock for anywhere close to break even. I’m just damn unlucky.
    rrdenarius and Voldemort like this.
  18. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    I think @Bing did a wonderful job selling some of his "excess" coins to collectors here .. he ran auctions via PM on this site .. similar to John Anthony (JAZ Numismatics) used to do prior to opening his VCoins store (I MISS the old auctions!!).. obviously with the recent changes I would suggest also doing this over at Numis Forums.

    I recall Bing stating that it was a bit too hard and he stopped.. but I don't know.. if you are serious about moving the material at a reasonable price, and you have time.. I think this would be a great method to get a fair price. If you do not want to do the work then take a lower price from a dealer and be done with it.

    I think it's worth a try.. you can always change course if it isn't working.
    Best of luck.
    sand likes this.
  19. lrbguy

    lrbguy Well-Known Member

    I don't get on the list much anymore, but I do wish to thank all of you who took time to reply. I was intrigued by the variety of approaches you were considering, but puzzled by an assumption that seemed to be applied to eBay selling.
    More than one or two of you related the experience of not getting as much for items you sold on eBay as you might have wished. Presumably you had offered it at auction.
    From my window it seems rather suicidal for an unknown seller on eBay to offer material for auction. I've been an eBay buyer since 1998 or so, and for the selling of this material would be inclined to offer all of it as buy it now, based upon what I paid for it whenever (adjusted for strength of economy). Some of it would certainly go as group lots, probably discounted a bit in aggregate from individual original prices. But, adjusting for economic flux, individual coins ought to be worth something like what I paid for them, except where I lost my head and got caught up in something at the time (you know what I mean, I am sure).

    But maybe there is something about buy-it-now selling I am overlooking. I assume that if something does not sell I can offer it again at a different price, but I do not know what happens to the eBay fee structure for offering an unsold at a new price. Do the listing fees start all over again for second offer of unsolds?

    On the other hand -
    If/When consigning to an auction house the one thing I don't want is cherry picking that dumps a high percentage of the consignment into the group lots at the end of the sale. Nonetheless, barring exceptional items, Roman imperial bronze and silver is not the sort of material that takes up a lot of catalog space in CNG (print), Berk, Leu, NFA, and such. Even CNG electronic sales might be a bit fussy when it comes to mounds of Tetrarchic bronze or imperial denarii/antoniniani even in good grade.

    So to learn how, I am inclined to limit my selling to duplicates and extraneous material until I get my wings. Does that sound about right?
  20. Cherd

    Cherd Junior Member Supporter

    I'm sure that I do not represent the average Ebay peruser in this respect, but I only search auctions and do not even bother looking at BIN (Buy it Now) listings on Ebay. This is because, in my experience, BIN = Overpriced. While I'm sure that there are deals to be had, they simply aren't worth the time spent finding them. Plus, I avoid getting extremely aggravated from repeatedly seeing coins that sold for $500 at auction last week being listed for BIN $900. I'm sure that I'm also an outlier in this respect, but that just seems like a scummy way to make money to me. I'm not going to risk rewarding those types of people.

    That being said, BIN would at least ensure that you get the price that you want. But again, unless your coins are slabbed, you probably won't get the fanfare that you might expect. Without the assurance of an auction house that specializes in ancient coins, most buyers will justifiably be suspicious of your coins. Then again, I may be wrong.
  21. lrbguy

    lrbguy Well-Known Member

    Hmmm. Has the balance on this shifted? Last I looked, most collectors of ancients frowned on slabbing. Cherd is a Junior Member who apparently prefers slabbing. Are collectors turning to experts in lieu of gaining the knowledge? If that is the case I may have to rethink my markets.
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