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Complete Newbie Question

Greetings,
Some time ago I inherited a large (to me) coin collection. I'd like to go about having it assessed and start the selling procedure.
However, I have no clue how to do this. The little info I found mentioned having it appraised by a universally trusted organization whose name escapes me. Given my lack of knowledge I'm not going to go into some random shop and inquire.

Any advice on how to get the collection appraised and sold would be welcome.

Comments

  • ajaanajaan Posts: 17,030 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Where are you located?


    DPOTD-3
    'Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery'

    CU #3245 B.N.A. #428


    Don
  • AlanSkiAlanSki Posts: 1,657 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 28, 2023 7:23AM

    You could always post images (good) of the coins and ask opinions. It’d be best to see if they are worth the process of paying for services.

  • FrazFraz Posts: 1,546 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 28, 2023 7:24AM

    Welcome. Perhaps a list of the types of coins, old, modern, U.S., silver, gold, denominations, albums, tokens, commemoratives will help members here give you more specific advice.
    Good luck.

  • jonathanbjonathanb Posts: 3,386 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 28, 2023 7:28AM

    You might get better advice if you can give a little bit more description, or maybe a bird's eye picture.

    Unfortunately a lot of inherited collections contain nothing more than loose change from trips abroad, or schlock peddled in late night commercials. Nobody can give an accurate price without seeing the coins in hand... but lots of folks here would be able to give you a ballpark that could help you plan your next steps.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,305 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You can go into a random shop and inquire. Just get more than one opinion. You can also request a paid appraisal- tell them it is for insurance- and you'll likely get a reasonable assessment.

    But I would start with pictures here. There is no point in paying for an appraisal of coins that are going to end up in a Coinstar.

  • TomBTomB Posts: 20,612 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Howdy and welcome.

    Buy yourself a Red Book. They cost $15 or so, can be found at many large book retailers and can be easily ordered online. Even though they come out yearly, you only need one of these. It will give you some background on how to grade coins and what they might be worth in various grades. It is truly the beginner's textbook, yet one that most all of us keep and refer back to on occasion.

    Then go to a few local coin shops and bring some material with you. Get appraisals on the material, which may or may not cost a few dollars out of pocket. See how realistic these appraisals are vs. what you thought they would be. Take some example shots of your pieces and start a thread with them on these boards, but have an idea what you think they are worth and their grade before doing so in order to check how much you have learned.

    If you have lots of circulated silver then the value is likely to be intimately tied to the metal content. Sites like APMEX can tell you the prices of metals and what they sell for from a large dealer while Coinflation can tell you how much bullion value is in each coin. They are below-

    https://www.apmex.com

    https://www.coinflation.com

    Good luck and, as always, the amount of effort, time and work you put into this will go a long way toward how much money you receive in the end.

    Thomas Bush Numismatics & Numismatic Photography

    In honor of the memory of Cpl. Michael E. Thompson

    image
  • AlanSkiAlanSki Posts: 1,657 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The more I read this, the more the writing comes off as scripted scam material. My guess is they are attempting to solicit PM’s to get someone to buy it.

  • mikee999mikee999 Posts: 328 ✭✭✭✭

    @TomB said:
    Howdy and welcome.

    Buy yourself a Red Book. They cost $15 or so, can be found at many large book retailers and can be easily ordered online. Even though they come out yearly, you only need one of these. It will give you some background on how to grade coins and what they might be worth in various grades. It is truly the beginner's textbook, yet one that most all of us keep and refer back to on occasion.

    Then go to a few local coin shops and bring some material with you. Get appraisals on the material, which may or may not cost a few dollars out of pocket. See how realistic these appraisals are vs. what you thought they would be. Take some example shots of your pieces and start a thread with them on these boards, but have an idea what you think they are worth and their grade before doing so in order to check how much you have learned.

    If you have lots of circulated silver then the value is likely to be intimately tied to the metal content. Sites like APMEX can tell you the prices of metals and what they sell for from a large dealer while Coinflation can tell you how much bullion value is in each coin. They are below-

    https://www.apmex.com

    https://www.coinflation.com

    Good luck and, as always, the amount of effort, time and work you put into this will go a long way toward how much money you receive in the end.

    Check one out from you public library for freeeee. They can be renewed for weeks at a time since they usually carry multiple copies/ years. Same w/the blue books.

  • OAKSTAROAKSTAR Posts: 5,469 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 28, 2023 4:20PM

    If you're smart enough go on the google machine, find us here and become a member, you're smart enough to find eBay. Put the exact description of your coin/s in the search engine then click on recently sold items and voila! You have a ballpark value of what your coin might be worth.

    Disclaimer: I'm not a dealer, trader, grader, investor or professional numismatist. I'm just a hobbyist. (To protect me but mostly you! 🤣 )

  • Wow!! Lot's of great advice. Thank you. BTW, it's a genuine inquiry and not a scam. I just ordered the red book suggested.
    I'm going to use it to start a spread sheet of listed value and then will post some picts here. It's going to be quite a process but at least now I know how to start; thank you.

  • MFeldMFeld Posts: 11,730 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @OAKSTAR said:
    If you're smart enough go on the google machine, find us here and become a member, you're smart enough to find eBay. Put the exact description of your coin/s in the search engine then click on recently sold items and voila! You have a ballpark value of what your coin might be worth.

    In order to have any chance of making that work - obtaining ballpark values - the coins would need to be graded and decent comps available. In other words, it would be a real long shot.

    Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.

  • MFeldMFeld Posts: 11,730 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @AlanSki said:
    The more I read this, the more the writing comes off as scripted scam material. My guess is they are attempting to solicit PM’s to get someone to buy it.

    Even if there’s an intent to receive such messages, that wouldn’t necessarily indicate a scam. And anyone taking the alleged bait should know to be careful and would hopefully offer fair price.

    Your “guess” could be correct but it seems unfair and uncalled for, based upon just that one post.

    Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.

  • OAKSTAROAKSTAR Posts: 5,469 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 28, 2023 5:30PM

    @MFeld said:

    @OAKSTAR said:
    If you're smart enough go on the google machine, find us here and become a member, you're smart enough to find eBay. Put the exact description of your coin/s in the search engine then click on recently sold items and voila! You have a ballpark value of what your coin might be worth.

    In order to have any chance of making that work - obtaining ballpark values - the coins would need to be graded and decent comps available. In other words, it would be a real long shot.

    Really? Even in the recent sold section? Why does a coin have to be graded? "If" you know what you're looking at/for; dates, what a damaged coin looks like, what a real mint error looks like, if you can estimate a raw coins condition from seller pictures, etc..

    I thought eBay was a good resource for current market values. I certainly wouldn't be using the TPG'ers price guides for current values.

    Disclaimer: I'm not a dealer, trader, grader, investor or professional numismatist. I'm just a hobbyist. (To protect me but mostly you! 🤣 )

  • MFeldMFeld Posts: 11,730 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Really. As an example, let’s say he has a group of Buffalo nickels and wants to do as you suggested. He’d need to list them by date and grade, while grading them accurately. And in order for the results of recently sold items to be of meaningful help, they would need to be the same dates and also graded accurately.

    Sure, there are some generic, low value coins (such as circulated wheat cents, 90% silver and circulated, common date morgan dollars) that would lend themselves to benefiting from your suggestion. But many, if not most coins wouldn’t. And we don’t have any idea what kind and quality of coins are involved.

    Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,305 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @OAKSTAR said:

    @MFeld said:

    @OAKSTAR said:
    If you're smart enough go on the google machine, find us here and become a member, you're smart enough to find eBay. Put the exact description of your coin/s in the search engine then click on recently sold items and voila! You have a ballpark value of what your coin might be worth.

    In order to have any chance of making that work - obtaining ballpark values - the coins would need to be graded and decent comps available. In other words, it would be a real long shot.

    Really? Even in the recent sold section? Why does a coin have to be graded? "If" you know what you're looking at/for; dates, what a damaged coin looks like, what a real mint error looks like, if you can estimate a raw coins condition from seller pictures, etc..

    I thought eBay was a good resource for current market values. I certainly wouldn't be using the TPG'ers price guides for current values.

    You'd be surprised how many newbies think a VG coin is XF or better or that a polished coin is UNC.

  • Manifest_DestinyManifest_Destiny Posts: 3,023 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jmlanzaf said:

    @OAKSTAR said:

    @MFeld said:

    @OAKSTAR said:
    If you're smart enough go on the google machine, find us here and become a member, you're smart enough to find eBay. Put the exact description of your coin/s in the search engine then click on recently sold items and voila! You have a ballpark value of what your coin might be worth.

    In order to have any chance of making that work - obtaining ballpark values - the coins would need to be graded and decent comps available. In other words, it would be a real long shot.

    Really? Even in the recent sold section? Why does a coin have to be graded? "If" you know what you're looking at/for; dates, what a damaged coin looks like, what a real mint error looks like, if you can estimate a raw coins condition from seller pictures, etc..

    I thought eBay was a good resource for current market values. I certainly wouldn't be using the TPG'ers price guides for current values.

    You'd be surprised how many newbies think a VG coin is XF or better or that a polished coin is UNC.

    Or that obviously damaged pocket change is a rare mint error.

  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 45,199 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jmlanzaf said:

    @OAKSTAR said:

    @MFeld said:

    @OAKSTAR said:
    If you're smart enough go on the google machine, find us here and become a member, you're smart enough to find eBay. Put the exact description of your coin/s in the search engine then click on recently sold items and voila! You have a ballpark value of what your coin might be worth.

    In order to have any chance of making that work - obtaining ballpark values - the coins would need to be graded and decent comps available. In other words, it would be a real long shot.

    Really? Even in the recent sold section? Why does a coin have to be graded? "If" you know what you're looking at/for; dates, what a damaged coin looks like, what a real mint error looks like, if you can estimate a raw coins condition from seller pictures, etc..

    I thought eBay was a good resource for current market values. I certainly wouldn't be using the TPG'ers price guides for current values.

    You'd be surprised how many newbies think a VG coin is XF or better or that a polished coin is UNC.

    Maybe it's because that's what the dealer that they bought them from told them. ;)

    Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.

  • FrazFraz Posts: 1,546 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A list that would help members here determine the level of sophistication of the collection might save everyone some effort.
    Is it a collection or a hoard?
    OP ought not use time on photography if it is a few jugs of cents and some proof sets.

  • david3142david3142 Posts: 3,368 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 29, 2023 5:11AM

    I am always surprised that nobody tells the newcomers to first check PCGS CoinFacts. It’s a website and an app. If you choose a series you can select Photograde to compare your coins to the ones pictured and get an idea of the grade. It also has pricing history and general coin info. I think it has WAY more info than the RedBook and it’s free and it’s provided by our hosts here.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,305 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @PerryHall said:

    @jmlanzaf said:

    @OAKSTAR said:

    @MFeld said:

    @OAKSTAR said:
    If you're smart enough go on the google machine, find us here and become a member, you're smart enough to find eBay. Put the exact description of your coin/s in the search engine then click on recently sold items and voila! You have a ballpark value of what your coin might be worth.

    In order to have any chance of making that work - obtaining ballpark values - the coins would need to be graded and decent comps available. In other words, it would be a real long shot.

    Really? Even in the recent sold section? Why does a coin have to be graded? "If" you know what you're looking at/for; dates, what a damaged coin looks like, what a real mint error looks like, if you can estimate a raw coins condition from seller pictures, etc..

    I thought eBay was a good resource for current market values. I certainly wouldn't be using the TPG'ers price guides for current values.

    You'd be surprised how many newbies think a VG coin is XF or better or that a polished coin is UNC.

    Maybe it's because that's what the dealer that they bought them from told them. ;)

    Lol. I was talking about people who inherit someone else's collection. People call my friends' shops all the time with a "silver dollar that looks brand new" or a "nickel with a Buffalo that's in excellent condition". It rarely is above VG and often polished. Grading is not an inborn skill.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,305 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @david3142 said:
    I am always surprised that nobody tells the newcomers to first check PCGS CoinFacts. It’s a website and an app. If you choose a series you can select Photograde to compare your coins to the ones pictured and get an idea of the grade. It also has pricing history and general coin info. I think it has WAY more info than the RedBook and it’s free and it’s provided by our hosts here.

    You could, but it is easier to navigate if you know a little something. The Red Book is more for newbies and has prices listed consecutively so you can easily find the key dates. In coin facts, you are going to spend a lot of time looking up common date wheat cents. Indian cents, and Buff nickels before you realize they are all common.

  • 124Spider124Spider Posts: 796 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Just to chime in to support most of what has been said....

    I have thought a lot about this very subject, hoping to make it easier for my heirs to sell my collection efficiently and for a reasonable value (since it's worth the trouble).

    This group is a good place to start, but you'll have to give us some more idea of what you have. A "large coin collection" can be worth a lot of money, or very little money.

    In your shoes, knowing what I know, I would post the following information on this thread: What is in the collection; for instance, is it a bunch of coins in jars? Is it coins in coin folders or albums? Is it certified coins in slabs? If you don't know what any of that means, you'll wan to educate yourself. As much detail as possible would be very helpful.

    If it is coins in folders or albums, you'll want to learn to roughly grade them, since lots of coins are worth very little in low grades, but become valuable in higher grades.

    Certified coins in slabs are easier, since they're already graded, and you can find the value in the Red Book, or online at the PCGS or NGC sites (assuming it's a reputable grading company).

    I would encourage you to be realistic as to grade and value. A valuable collection can be worth a LOT of money, but it seems likely that if you inherited this collection without any instructions as to condition and/or value, it's not particularly valuable. If it was the collection of a hobbyist without a lot of money with which to buy expensive coins, it is likely that you would be best off selling in bulk to a reputable coin shop. But if it is a valuable collection, it would be worth educating yourself as to grades and values.

    And you just might become hooked on this fun hobby as you learn!

  • david3142david3142 Posts: 3,368 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 29, 2023 10:17AM

    @jmlanzaf said:

    @david3142 said:
    I am always surprised that nobody tells the newcomers to first check PCGS CoinFacts. It’s a website and an app. If you choose a series you can select Photograde to compare your coins to the ones pictured and get an idea of the grade. It also has pricing history and general coin info. I think it has WAY more info than the RedBook and it’s free and it’s provided by our hosts here.

    You could, but it is easier to navigate if you know a little something. The Red Book is more for newbies and has prices listed consecutively so you can easily find the key dates. In coin facts, you are going to spend a lot of time looking up common date wheat cents. Indian cents, and Buff nickels before you realize they are all common.

    Yes, it’s certainly easier to use if you have some existing knowledge but everything you would want is available for free (and right now, no need to wait for a book). As a general rule, I don’t like to recommend that other people spend money on something when there is a free alternative. There is a price guide for each series where you can see them all together. I also think learning from Photograde is much easier than trying to match the descriptions of where to look for wear.

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