Inherited a coin collection? Here’s how to liquidate for the most money.

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“I inherited a coin collection, now what?” 

If you have inherited a coin collection, selling the collection (either as a whole or as individual pieces) can be lucrative — and is a hot hobby and investment at the moment. Marketwatch reports that some very rare coins have made headlines by doubling in price over the past year, while prices on index from Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS), have risen 16% since a year ago — and 6,315% since its inception in 1970.  

But in order to get as much money as possible in exchange for your collection, it’s important to know what you’re doing:

Where to sell a coin collection

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. Gold or silver coins that are not rare are generally worth the weight of the bullion. These coins make up the majority of coin collections and can be sold to a metal buyer like CashforGoldUSA.com, our No. 1 recommendation for selling coin collections.

What you need to know about CashforGoldUSA:

  • 35-year-old company that buys gold, diamonds and silver in any form
  • A+ Better Business Bureau rating
  • Fox Business investigative report found CashforGoldUSA pays 3X its competitors (!)
  • Pays within 24 hours
  • 100% customer satisfaction guarantee
  • Insured up to $100,000
  • 10% bonus if you send in your item within 7 days.

Check out CashforGoldUSA’s online gold calculator on their homepage accurately helps you estimate how much you will get for your coin, and easy steps for sending in your item, securely, for quick payment of cash.

Gold calculator from CashforGoldUSA.

Before you sell a coin collection:

1. Sort but don’t clean the collection

Harsh cleaning by a non-professional can actually decrease the value of your coin. When in doubt, leave them as they are with their patina intact.

2. Grade and value the coins.

Spend some time online on ebay, Reddit, visit a coin store and discuss with coin collectors to understand what is in the collection. 

Learn as much as you can about your collection, including from The Red Book, A Guide Book of United States Coins 2022 75th Edition.

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. If your coins are not valuable but are made of gold or silver, you can value your coins based on the purity of the metal and weight of the coins.

You can get your coins professionally graded for a fee.

3. Choose a reputable 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, pawnshops, online marketplaces, or through auction houses. If you’re selling gold coins, read our overview of the best places to sell gold online.

How to liquidate a coin collection by selling old coins online

There are many places online and near you that buy gold and silver coins, including pawn shops, gold exchanges and jewelers.

If you’ve sorted your coins and you believe they’re largely scrap, our No. 1 recommendation is to sell to CashforGoldUSA, which has an A+ rating with Better Business Bureau, pays within 24 hours, and insures every shipment round trip.

1. Get an estimate of what your scrap coins are worth.

Check out CashforGoldUSA’s online gold calculator on their homepage accurately helps you estimate how much you will get for your coin, and easy steps for sending in your item, securely, for quick payment of cash.

CashforGoldUSA calculator to find the price of gold.

2. Choose a mailer (FedEx is fastest!).

Your shipping materials will arrive within a couple of days by USPS, or print out a supping label from CashforGoldUSA and send in immediately.

3. Send in your coins and watch for an email or text for confirmation of PayPal payment.

CashforGoldUSA will send a text and email with a cash offer within 24 hours of you sending in your coin collection. Accept the offer and get paid immediately by Paypal, or chose a check which will arrive in 2-3 business days.

How to liquidate valuable coins: 4 more options

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. 

Related: Learn about auction houses and auction websites.

I inherited gold coins. 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. 

I inherited a collection of silver coins. 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. Learn more in this post on valuing and selling silver coins, as well as top silver buyers.

What is a coin collection worth? FAQs

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.

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.

Do coin collections go up in value?

Rare coins have historically increased in value over time, and the price of gold and silver also have gone up over the years.

Gold prices this year exceeded $2,000 for only the second time in 50 years. As of , the gold resale value in the United States was at a near-record price of $ per ounce, or $ per gram.

Prices of key rare coins have increased 6,315% since 1970.  

How do you get a coin collection appraised?

Coin dealing and appraising is full of scams, so be careful. Look for a dealer or appraiser who holds membership with the American Numismatic Association, as well as one who is listed as authorized by the Professional Coin Grading Service.

How much does it cost to get a coin collection appraised?

A rare coin dealer authorized by the PCGS can appraise or grade your coin collection. Expect to pay $100 to $200 per hour for this coin grading.

If your coins are not rare and you want to sell them for scrap gold or silver, a local metals buyer, pawn shop or jeweler can weigh and grade the quality of the metal, as can CashforGoldUSA.

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 I find out what my coins are worth?

A visit to a local coin dealer, reading about coins through books and quality internet posts, as well as info like on this video can help you get started learning about buying, selling and collecting coins — including selling coins:

Is there tax on inherited coins?

The federal government does tax any inheritance, including coins. However, three points to keep in mind:

  • Coins are taxed only when they are sold
  • Coins are taxed as an estate tax, paid for by the decendent
  • Some states also levy their own inheritance tax

Coin buyer FAQs

Who buys old 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. 

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

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.

Typically, you should be able to find these coin buyers in your community. A Google search “coin buyers near me” is a good place to start. Word-of-mouth is the best way to learn about quality buyers in your area.

  • Individual collectors
  • Coin dealers/coin shops
  • Jewelry stores (sometimes)
  • Auction houses
  • Local cash-for-gold shops or metal dealers

Searching for where to sell coins online?

There are a number of online outlets where you can sell your coins:

  • CashforGoldUSA is our No. 1 recommendation for all but the rarest of coins. 
  • ebay
  • Etsy
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. On the other hand, you might choose to value the coin collection as a whole.

Do coin collections go up in value?

Rare coins have historically increased in value over time, and the price of gold and silver also have gone up over the years.

How do you get a coin collection appraised?

Coin dealing and appraising is full of scams, so be careful. Look for a dealer or appraiser who holds membership with the American Numismatic Association, as well as one who is listed as authorized by the Professional Coin Grading Service.

How much does it cost to get a coin collection appraised?

A rare coin dealer authorized by the PCGS can appraise or grade your coin collection. Expect to pay $100 to $200 per hour for this coin grading.

Who buys old coins?

If you’ve got coins to sell, the good news is that you will have no shortage of potential buyers, including: individual collectors, coin dealers, coin shops, auction houses, online marketplaces, and metal buyers.

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. 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. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. More about Emma's credentials.

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