I inherited a coin collection. Now what?

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If you have inherited a coin collection, selling the collection (either as a whole or as individual pieces) can be lucrative. But in order to get as much money as possible in exchange for your collection—money that you can use to pay down debt, become more financially secure, or simply buy something you’ve had your eye on—it’s important to know what you’re doing.

There are many places online and near you that buy gold and silver coins, including pawn shops, gold exchanges and jewelers. Our No. 1 recommendation is CashforGoldUSA which has an A rating with Better Business Bureau, pays within 24 hours, and insures every shipment round trip.

Below, I’ve answered some of the most common questions that people have about selling coins, including an overview of how coins are valued, the best places to consider selling your collection, and more:

What is the best place to sell coins?

If you’ve got coins to sell, the good news is that you will have no shortage of potential buyers, including:

  • Individual collectors: If you’ve got an exceedingly rare or valuable coin, selling that coin directly to an individual collector is likely to get you the most money for your coin or collection. Of course, finding the perfect collector can take months or even years, and requires you to do a lot of work on your own to make the sale happen.
  • Coin dealers/coin shops: Selling your coin to a coin shop or dealer is likely to get you your money much quicker than if you were to try to sell directly to a collector yourself. But it is important to note that the dealer will likely not pay as much as the collector would. After all, they need to make money when they make the final sale. In general, it is not uncommon for a coin shop to purchase a coin at 60%-80% of the price that they themselves will sell it.
  • Auction houses: An auction house can be a great way of selling valuable coins or collections, because it allows multiple bidders to drive up the final price. Auction houses also tend to have relationships with collectors, which can make it easier to sell the piece. Of course, the auction house will take a cut of the final sale price for their work, and most will have strict limits for the coins they accept. This is likely only a route for exceedingly valuable coins. 
  • Online marketplaces: An online marketplace like Ebay, Etsy, or countless other sites can put you in touch with thousands of potential buyers online. However, as the majority of these sites tend to charge a fee to list each individual item (on top of the percentage of each sale they take) this can be an expensive way of selling your coins — as well as very time-consuming.
  • Metal buyers: If your coins consist of precious metals like gold or silver and are not otherwise valuable as collectibles, then selling them to a metal buyer like CashforGoldUSA is likely to be your quickest path to getting the most money in your pocket. 

Ultimately, where you sell your coins will depend on the status of your collection. Coins that are truly valuable as collectibles may warrant being sold to dealers or through an auction house. For other coins that consist of precious metals and which do not hold value as collectible, though, a metal buyer like CashforGoldUSA is an excellent alternative.

Want to learn more about selling through CashforGoldUSA? Read my review here>>

Searching for where to sell coins near me?

If you are searching for local places to sell your coins, then your most common options are likely to be pawn shops or local coin dealers. Depending on where you live, you might have many buyers to choose from, or your options may be limited. 

The good news is that the internet has made it much easier to find potential buyers for your coins even if your local options are limited. 

What is the best place to sell a coin collection?

At the end of the day, you can sell a coin collection (as a whole) the same way that you would sell individual coins. Coin dealers, pawn shops, auction houses, individual collectors, and metal buyers can all be excellent options, depending on exactly what you are selling. 

If you are not yourself a coin collector and don’t have a clear understanding of what your collection might be worth, working with a coin dealer or auction house can be a great way of learning about your collection so that you are sure you are getting a fair price when you sell. Of course, these options involve their own fees which will eat into your profits. 

If you know that your coins are not worth much as collectibles, but consist of precious metals, then going through a metal buyer like CashforGoldUSA is likely to be the fastest way for you to sell your collection. Because CashforGoldUSA pays approximately 95% of the melt price for gold coins, this is also an excellent way of maximizing your profits as well. 

Learn more about selling estate and antique jewelry safely and for the best price

How do I sell my old coins?

To sell your old coins, you’ll need to:

  1. NOT clean them: Cleaning old, collectible coins can potentially reduce their value. When in doubt, leave them as they are with their patina intact.
  2. Determine the value of your coin or collection: In order to be sure you are getting a fair price, you need to know how much your coins are worth. There are many websites and books that you can reference to determine if a particular coin has any value as a collectible. If it does not, but it consists of a precious metal like gold or silver, you can value your coins based on the purity of the metal and weight of the coins.
  3. Choose a buyer: Where you sell your coins will depend on the type of coins you have, their value, and how much work you want to put in yourself. An online metal buyer can be a good option for gold or silver coins with little to no value as collectibles. Coins that do have value as collectibles, or which do not consist of gold or silver, can be sold to coin shops, pawn shops, online marketplaces, or through auction houses. 

Read our overview of the best places to sell gold online.

How do I sell my old gold coins?

If your gold coins have value as collectibles, then you’ll need to decide how you want to sell your coins to get as much money for them as possible. 

If your gold coins do not have value as collectibles, though, selling them becomes much easier. Gold buyers use two factors to determine the price of items they buy: The purity of the metal, and the weight of the object. The closer you get to 24 karats, and the heavier your coin, the more it will be worth. 

If you aren’t sure about the purity of the coin you want to sell, you can likely determine this with a quick Google search about the coin. Determining the weight will simply require an accurate scale. Armed with this information, you determine the value of the metal content of your coins.

When it comes to selling gold coins (or any other type of gold) I recommend selling to CashforGoldUSA, for a few reasons:

  • They pay top dollar for gold coins: CashforGoldUSA pays up to to 95% of the melt value of the metal.
  • They pay fast: CashforGoldUSA apsy within 24 hours of an accepted offer.
  • 100% free shipping and insurance: Door-to-door free, trackable FedEx or USPS shipping, plus free Lloyds of London insurance up to $100,000.

How do I sell my old silver coins?

Selling silver coins is a lot like selling gold coins. First determine whether or not the coin has any value as a collectible. 

If it does, you may want to sell the coin to a dealer, collector, or auction house to maximize your profits. If not your profit will be limited to the value of the silver content of the coin. You will need to determine the purity of the metal and the weight of the piece. Once you have this information, you can determine the fair value of your coin and find a buyer.

Our No. 1 recommendation is CashforSilverUSA (CashforGoldUSA’s sister site), with high customer service reviews, guaranteed highest price and a 10% bonus if you send in your item within 24 hours of receiving the free FedEx mailer.

Which coins are worth money?

Coins can be valued in a number of different ways. For example, you might value a coin based on its:

  • Rarity: The rarer a particular coin, mintmark, or series, the more valuable the coin will likely be. Coins that were misstamped, misprinted, or which otherwise contain errors can likewise be worth significant amounts of money.
  • Grade: The condition of a coin can be graded on a scale from Poor to Mint State (with a number of steps along the way). The better the coin’s condition, the higher the grade will be, and the more valuable it is likely to be.
  • Metal composition: Many coins, especially older coins, consist of precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, and various other alloys. In addition to any value these coins have as collectibles, they also have an inherent value depending on the purity of the metal that they contain.
  • Face value: So long as the currency is still in use, every coin will be worth at least its face value, even if it has no worth as a collectible. 

How do you value a coin collection?

A coin collection can be graded in one of two ways. 

On the one hand, you might choose to value each coin individually. This is commonly done when a coin collection consists of random coins. In this case, you would likely base the coin’s value on its rarity, grade, and metal composition.

On the other hand, you might choose to value the coin collection as a whole. This is especially common for collections consisting of a particular type or series of coin. In this case, in addition to the factors listed above, the completeness of the collection can significantly affect how much it is worth.

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Frequently asked questions about gold coins

Gold coins are either gold bullion coins, for investments, or rare coins, which can be made of any precious metal, and are often of historical significance.

How much is a gold dollar coin worth?

The market price of a gold dollar coin considers several factors, including purity of gold, rarity, weight and condition. Your gold dollar coin’s price may vary from $200 to tens of thousands of dollars for rare, mint-condition gold dollar coins, including American Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs and Austrian Ducats.

The retail price for a 1 ounce American Eagle is about $1,800.

How to sell gold coins online

If you have gold bullion coins, or commonly held gold coins like the American Eagle, a site like CashforGoldUSA, a local jeweler or gold buyer is a fine choice. However, rare coins of any precious metal including silver are best sold through a rare coin buyer or rare coin dealer.

To sell a more generic gold coin through CashforGoldUSA:

  1. Go to CashforGoldUSA.com
  2. Plug in your information, and get a free estimate
  3. Receive a FedEx or USPS mailer (your choice) to your door within 24 hours. Send in your item, 100% insured for free.
  4. Within 24 hours you will receive an email or phone estimate

Pros and cons of selling gold and jewelry locally vs. online

Frequently asked questions about silver coins

What is the value of silver coins?

The value of a silver coin is dependent on its rarity, grade, and desirability as a collectible. If it is not worth much as a collectible, then its value is based on its silver content. This value can be significantly higher than the coin’s face value, depending on the current price of silver.

For example, a 1942 nickel has a face value of 5 cents. It’s silver content is worth approximately $1.47, however, when silver is at a price of $26.27 per ounce.

How much are scrap silver coins worth?

A scrap silver coin with no collectible value is worth its silver content. To determine that value, you will need to:

  1. Determine the silver content of the coin.
  2. Determine the weight of the coin (in ounces).
  3. Multiple that weight by the current price of silver (in ounces).

Do banks buy silver coins?

If you have silver coins and want to sell them for the value of their silver, a bank is likely not to be a good choice. Most banks will only give you the face value of whatever coins you turn in, regardless of their metal content. So, a silver nickel would be worth 5 cents, for example. An online buyer, such as CashforSilverUSA, is likely to be a better option. 

Get started selling your silver coins for cash within 24 hours with CashforSilver now >>

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Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist and author. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Emma's Top Single Mom Resources.

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