Valueing/Selling Ancients

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Obone, May 25, 2020.

  1. Obone

    Obone Active Member

    Hi Everyone,
    I hope this post finds you all well. I'm a part time dealer, mostly collector, and sometimes I sell coins in hopes of funding other purchases. When it comes to world coins or US coins, its relatively easy to sell them on ebay, (strength of prices aside lol).

    When it comes to Ancient coins however, I have trouble pricing/selling them. I see them sell in auction records for a lot, but I can't seem to get any views or any hits, any advice on how I should price the coin, and how I can possibly sell it?
    Thanks in advance.

    PS, This is the denarius I'm trying to sell to fund an aureus.

    73AD Vespasian AR Denarius
    IMP CAES VESP AVG CEN, Laureate Bust Right
    PONTIF MAXIM, Vespasian Seated Right template Final.jpg
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  3. IdesOfMarch01

    IdesOfMarch01 Well-Known Member

    You will not find any information or help in the Ancient Coins section of Cointalk for pricing and selling ancient coins. The discussion and advice in this forum focus on the collecting aspects of the hobby, not the valuation and financial aspects.

    It is straightforward to do your own research on pricing via the Internet rather than asking others to do this work for you. You can visit and use its search function to find coins similar to yours, and estimate its value from those examples. Likewise, you can visit and use its search function in a similar manner. For a fee, you can research prices of sold coins on

    With a little effort you'll be able to do your own research and come to your own value and pricing decision. Good luck!
    dougsmit, DonnaML, ominus1 and 4 others like this.
  4. Obone

    Obone Active Member

    Thank you for the advice!
    Inspector43 likes this.
  5. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    I certainly think going with low starting bid auctions on eBay gets more eyeballs to the page then "Buy It Now" or "$XYZ price or Best Offer".. but that is just a guess as these are the sellers that attract me.

    If I see nice coins starting low I save the seller, check back frequently, place some bids, get sniped at the last second, rinse and repeat...:(. But the chase is fun!

    Some of these sellers then mix in some "Best Offer" coins once they have a following.. I think their prices realized are quite strong in the end.

    Perhaps PM a few of the sellers here for advice.. another option is consigning them with @John Anthony or someone else.

    Also - very nice Vespasian!
    ominus1 and Obone like this.
  6. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    it looks like a good/fine PONT/MAX of ole Vesp. a Flavian fanatic could ring in, if one wished..i appreciate your honestly of this thread, but as Ides said, we don't specialize in that sort of stuff on the average here...i'd say, off the top of my head, it'd be worth $60-70 anyway..(you'll be getting my bill in the mail for appraisal:smuggrin:)
  7. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    If you aren’t getting views or hits, the price isn’t the problem.

    eBay is no longer an auction site. Currently there are 56k items for Roman Imperial. Only 2.4k are auction items. 4.3%. Most of the “auction” items have a start bid set so high that they don’t attract any bids. (For example I looked at the next 50 items to hammer — right now — and only 3 out of 50 (6% had any bids). Thus only about 0.3% of eBay’s Roman Imperial is true auctions.

    Most eBay sellers would rather pay listing fees forever than take a small loss and buy new inventory. Your coins are getting lost among the no-turnover turkeys.

    Your coin looks good. It is currently listed on eBay. Your listing says “Provenance: Ex Halan J Berk”. (Spell it right.) If it was in one of Harlan’s sales, give his auction and lot number. Give the sales/ticket price if it is higher than what you are asking. You are in Canada. You explain your shipping method: good. Many Americans don’t like to import because of customs difficulty.

    You are listing only 11 items. If I stumble across a coin with bids I usually look at the seller’s other items. Put many coins up together to get folks who want to save on shipping. Also, if you have one coin, people will look to see if you are selling any fakes. You only have one ancient coin so I didn’t look at the other ones to judge your competence. There isn’t a lot of crossover between slabbed Canadian coins, Chinese charms, and Roman denarii. This makes it hard to cross-sell.
  8. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    I buy almost all my ancients from eBay, and in my opinion, it is a terrific buyer's market. Which may indicate it is not such a great seller's market.

    You'll see on Coin Talk a lot of people who are unhappy about eBay, mostly because of the fakes that can be found there. For my part, the thing that characterizes eBay ancients is the vast number of lots that have a too high opening bid. For my part, I like all these too-high auctions because they make the real bargains harder to find. Of course that means I spend a lot of time wading through expensive stuff.

    Which brings me to the coin in question. I found your auction on eBay - the OP is indeed a nice coin, and much higher grade than I normally pursue. That being said, your opening bid is sort of what I would consider a full-blown Vcoin retail price, or even an auction (non-eBay) auction price. Since I don't buy high-end stuff, I am not really sure what this particular coin is worth - I just know it is out of my scope. A more discerning collector might find this a good deal, I just don't know. Start the bidding at $0.99 and you are sure to get bids - the risk is that bidding will stop at $22.44.

    The only real advice I'd offer is that I suggest including the diameter and weight of your coin in your auction. Also, I see you note in the "seller notes" section that yours is a rare variety with CEN instead of CENS. This is indeed important, but I would put it in the main text of your auction - I've never liked the "seller notes" feature on eBay, as the print is tiny and easy-to-miss.

    I do have one of these - but with the more common CENS - it is not as nice as the OP, but I got it for $25 on eBay in 2013. I think that is a pretty good deal. But the wear might make it undesirable for a more serious collector.

    Vespasian - Den. PONTIF Vesp seated 2013 (0).jpg
    Vespasian Denarius
    (73 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    [IMP CAES] VESP AVG CENS laureate head right / PONTIF MAXIM, Vespasian
    seated right on curule chair, holding scepter and branch.
    RIC 546; RSC 387; BMC 98.
    (3.14 grams / 18 mm)

    While I was working on this, Ed posted - great comments there. I like "turnover turkey" - that is exactly what they are!
    Clavdivs, Obone and Bing like this.
  9. Obone

    Obone Active Member

    Thank you all for the great advice! I'm going to revise my listing, upload weight and diameter, and list some more ancients as well. And apologies for misspelling Mr. Berk's name, no disrespect intended.

    Thanks again!
    Kentucky and DonnaML like this.
  10. Obone

    Obone Active Member

    Solved This problem I hope, I listed a couple more Ancients, maybe that attracts more people. Thanks for your help once again!
    Clavdivs likes this.
  11. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    Free auctions at Forvm Ancient Coins... no fees - lots of views...not a bad option..
  12. Nathan401

    Nathan401 Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Supporter

    Nice portrait on the OP coin. In my opinion, you have it listed at maybe 3 or 4 times it’s value. I’m not any kind of expert, but I do enjoy watching auctions and eBay sold prices.
    ominus1 and Marsyas Mike like this.
  13. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    I see you have added another Roman Imperial, a Greek, and a Roman Provincial.

    The Greek was, I believe, minted in Amphipolis. That city is part of present-day Greece. The United States has a Memorandum of Understanding with Greece and ancient Greek coins cannot be imported from Canada into the United States unless they were on the market before June 2011. You describe this coin as having "Ownership History Not Available". Your listing should include information for American buyers to reassure us that your know how to comply with Customs requirements.

    I have collected for 20 years but haven't sold coins. I am curious about the level of profit you see. Do you make profits on your coins? What percentage?
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