Coin collecting was once a popular pastime. These days, however, even the most robust coin collections are more likely to collect, well, dust than anything else. Whether you are a “retired” coin collector or inherited a relative’s collection, chances are you no longer want or need your untended coin collection. If that’s true, you may be wondering about how to sell your old coins.
Read on to learn more about what makes coins valuable — and what you should do if you want to sell your collection.
What Makes Coins Valuable?
The vast majority of coins are simply worth their weight in gold or (less commonly) silver. However, when a coin is collectible, it has numismatic value, which means that it has worth over and above its precious metal value. The precise value of a collectible coin is determined by the following factors:
- Coin type, year, mint mark, and mintage. Some types of coins are more valuable than others. This depends on where they were minted, when they were produced, and their mintage (the total number of a certain kind of coins produced at a particular location during a given year). Certain coins from particular years and mintages are more valuable than others — sometimes by a long shot.
- Condition. Coin condition ranges from uncirculated mint state to so worn out that you can’t read the date or mint mark. To be rated as mint state, a coin must be as perfect as if it just came off the press. It should have no flaws in the way it was struck and no post-production blemishes, either. Dents, scratches, blemishes, wear, dullness, and other imperfections all serve to degrade a coin’s condition — and value.
- Scarcity. The rarer a coin is, the more it may be valued (though this isn’t always the case, as you’ll see below). For example, the rarest of all collectible pennies, the 1909 SVDB penny, may be worth thousands.
- Demand. In order for a coin to have numismatic value, it must be in demand. Not all rare coins are in demand. For example, so-called “large cents” are low mintage, but few people collect them, so they still aren’t worth much. On the other hand, Morgan silver dollars (produced from 1878 to 1921), twenty dollar gold pieces, and pre-1933 US gold coins are generally more valuable than quarters, nickels, and dimes of any vintage.
Should I Sell or Save My Old Coins with Numismatic Value?
Unfortunately, as the “king of hobbies” becomes less and less popular, the value of collectible coins is steadily degrading. That means the value of collectible coins is unlikely to go up anytime soon. From an investment standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to hang onto your collectible coins in the hopes that they will someday fetch a higher price. The truth is that the price your numismatic coins fetch today is probably the best you will get, now or in the future.
You might be surprised to learn that coins without numismatic value are actually more likely to hold or gain value over time. The truth is that precious metal prices are more likely to remain steady — or rise — than even the most in-demand numismatic coins.
How to Sell Your Old Coins
Use the following tips if you’ve decided to sell your coin collection.
- Don’t try to calculate your coin’s value online. While you may be able to get a rough idea of a particular coin’s value based on year and mintage, only an in-person inspection can reveal the true value of any individual coin. There are many subtle differences that affect a coin’s grade and condition. These small differences can have a huge impact on a coin’s value.
- Touch your coins as little as possible. If your coin collection is stored in a booklet or in individual sleeves, do not remove the coins before bringing them in for evaluation. Touching and handling coins improperly can quickly damage their condition — and degrade their value. You should avoid holding the coins in your hands, rubbing them together, or wiping them with a cloth or paper towel. Whatever you do, don’t attempt to clean your coins. A seasoned coin expert can tell the difference between a properly preserved coin and one that has been cleaned. Attempts to clean your coins will only harm their value. Ironically, if your coins are dirty, they are probably worth more in that condition than they would be cleaned up.
- Preserve all notes and packaging that came with your coins. These documents may add to the value of your collection.
- Don’t mail your collection to an unknown coin dealer. If you do, you risk falling prey to fraud. Whatever you do, plan to sell your coins in person and locally. Make sure to go to a reputable dealer with a high BBB Rating and excellent online reviews. The more knowledgeable your buyer is about coins, the better.
Which Coins Does JewelRecycle Buy?
At JewelRecycle, we are pleased to buy gold, silver, platinum, and palladium coins and bullion, as well as numismatic coins. For a full list of the coins we purchase, check out the coins page on our website.
Note, however, that we do not buy “loose change” coin collections from international travel, unless those coins are made of gold. Most coins in these collections are made of low-value metals such as copper, nickel, and zinc.
How We Calculate the Value of Your Coins and Make an Offer
When you bring your full or partial coin collection to JewelRecycle, our highly trained staff will start by assessing your coins right in front of you.
Our first step is to screen your coin collection for coins that are still considered collectible and have numismatic value. We then closely evaluate those coins to determine their worth.
Next, we take the coins that are worth their metal value and put them through our usual process. First, we use our non-destructive X-Ray fluorescence technology to determine their exact purity. Second, we weigh the coins to identify their precise weight. Finally, we make you an offer based on the current price of gold, silver, platinum, or palladium.
Ready to find out what your coins are really worth? Come into one of our four JewelRecycle locations and let us make you an offer.