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How to sell old coins safely?

In this guide you will find the most important answers about the sale of old coins. Check out the most common Recommendations and Errors.

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Cómo vender monedas antiguas de forma segura

Selling antique coins can be a very profitable business, since every year more and more people are involved in numismatic collecting.

In fact, with the current pandemic situation,  the demand for antique coins has increased .

Many people, unable to do anything else, have chosen to enter the world of antique coin collections. So sales of antique and collectible coins have been boosted.

Also, of course, those who have old coins in their possession and want to sell them at the best price have been favored. Which can sometimes be a little difficult.

As contradictory as it may seem, the rarer, more valuable and more in demand a coin is, the more complicated it is to sell. This is logical, since people to buy valuable old coins, which cost hundreds and thousands of euros or dollars, require guarantees and a certain process to ensure their purchase.

In this article we will see  how to sell valuable antique coins safely , both for current owners and for those who want to buy them.

Why sell old coins?

You can sell an antique coin because it is a good business, and if you have a valuable specimen you can make good money.

Around the world there are thousands of collectors of antique coins who pay large sums for interesting pieces for their collections. This makes selling antique coins very profitable.

It is true that only some very specific and rare coins are worth thousands of dollars.

There are very few cases of people who have paid their house, or  made a small fortune selling antique coins . However, if there is a remote possibility that the coin you have in your possession is worth a few thousand, it is important that you check with a specialist.

Then, after checking the real value of the coin, you will have to decide whether to sell immediately, or keep it for later when you can sell at a better price.

How much money can I get for an old coin?

There is no simple answer to the question.  How much money can I make selling an old coin? 

In most cases, you will not be able to get much, since rare and very valuable specimens are scarce and most of them are already in the hands of recognized collectors.

Two coins of the same type, but with different states of conservation can have very different prices. For example, an antique coin could be worth hundreds of dollars and a similar one several thousands.

You can sell an antique coin for whatever value collectors of antique coins are willing to offer for your piece. This amount can vary over time, and also from one country to another.

To know better how much an antique coin is worth you should consult a specialist, and he will tell you a price for each case, and place. Which leads us to the next question.

Where can I sell my old collectible coins?

It is true that coin collectors are all over the world. However, in the United States and in some European countries this community is very strong.

This is why it is important to know where you can sell in the United States and in Spain.

Where can I sell antique coins in the United States?

If you are in a hurry, and you are in the United States, there are many auction houses and pawn shops that you can go to to sell an antique coin.

Keep in mind that these sites will offer you less money than the real value of the coin, since they will then sell the more expensive coin for a profit.

Some cities where you can get a good price are New York, Los Angeles, California and Miami. These cities have large, established communities of coin collectors who are always eager to buy pieces to add to their collections.

You can also go to Houston, Dallas or Chicago, although in these places the communities of collectors are smaller.

Where to sell antique coins in Spain or Europe?

In Europe there are also collectors interested in buying antique coins of various types.

I assume that if you are reading this in Spanish it is possible that you are in Spain. The best cities to sell your coins are Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga and Seville.

There are many well-known antique shops in these places.

You can also go to some of the well-known numismatic sales and auction houses, there are more than one in each city mentioned.

Recommendations for selling coins safely

Selling an old coin is relatively easy when you know how to do it well.

We share with you 9  recommendations to sell coins safely , and get the most out of your transaction. These tips are general, but it’s best to follow them to the letter if you want to make a realistic profit and secure your sale.

 1st Recommendation:  Consult a numismatic expert before setting a price

The market for old coins is highly variable, so the same type of coin can have a value of 20 euros or 1500 euros.

Note that I say the same type, and not the same piece.

To determine how much an antique coin is worth, numismatic experts take into consideration a number of very different factors. For this reason, my recommendation is that if you think you have a very valuable coin, consult an expert to confirm it and help you set a price.

 2nd Recommendation:  Describe the coins clearly, simply and correctly

Many sales of old coins begin at a distance, or without the copy being in sight. In this sense, the description of the coin, or batch of coins, plays a very important role in capturing the attention of potential buyers at an early stage.

Try to describe in detail the coins you want to put on sale, being totally honest. The more accurate you are, the better the chances of finding interested buyers.

 3rd Recommendation:  Take quality photos of different parts and angles

To sell an old coin it is important to take high quality photos of both sides. In some cases it is also advisable to photograph the edge of the coin, since in some specimens the details in this area are very important.

The clarity and quality of the photographs must be optimal, if you want a collector or a possible buyer to take you seriously.

 4th Recommendation:  Sell individually or in batches as appropriate

Old coins can be sold in lots of many coins, or specific coins can be sold individually. Selecting one form or the other depends on several factors; for example, the rarity of the coin, the state of conservation, the supply price, the existing demand, among others.

Each shape has its pros and cons.

When you have a very rare and valuable coin, which many collectors would like to have, it is better to sell it individually. This way all the attention is focused on the piece and there are no other issues that can divert attention.

On the other hand, antique coin lots usually have specimens of different types, qualities and prices. One lot may have two or three very valuable and sought-after coins; and another group of more common and less valuable coins.

Since it is a lot sale, those interested in valuable coins are obliged to buy all of them to obtain the ones they are really interested in.

 5th Recommendation:  Be careful to dilute the value of the best coins

As you just read, batch selling has the advantage that it allows you to get rid of coins that individually would be very difficult to sell. However, it also has disadvantages.

A latent danger with batch sales of old coins is that the value of the best old pieces can be diluted by the other pieces that come with them.

If buyers perceive that there are many low-value coins in the lot, they may not be willing to buy just to get two or three valuable antique coins.

 6th Recommendation:  Value auctions as a method of selling coins

Auctions are very good ways to sell antique coins, especially when you have valuable specimens that many collectors are looking for.

Under auction mode, you can get a lot of money for a single antique coin. This is because those interested bid for the coin, and the competitive spirit of the collectors can make the price rise even beyond its estimated real value.

This has happened several times in the history of numismatic auctions.

 7th Recommendation:  Whenever you can sell directly to collectors

There are many intermediaries in the market that are dedicated to buying and selling old coins. Both auction houses and sales houses charge significant commissions for intermediation between buyers and sellers.

It is true that many times the commission of the sales or auction houses is paid by the buyer, but it still impacts the price, since potential buyers when they bid or offer do so with the final amount in mind.

So whenever you can, try to sell directly to the interested parties, this way you can get more profit from the sale of your old currency.

 8th Recommendation:  Always buy and sell in public places

To ensure that the transaction is clean and transparent, it is preferable to conduct it in public places, with witnesses and all legal guarantees. Bear in mind that in the world of old coins, frauds and the sale of fake pieces are more common than you might think.

So, if you buy and sell in a public place, and with witnesses, the guarantees count both for the person who sells the coin and for the collector who buys it.

 9th Recommendation:  Attend numismatic events

When you have a valuable antique coin and want to sell it, attending numismatic events is a good idea for several reasons.

Firstly because you can meet and contact people who are steeped in the subject. Potential buyers.

Second because you can learn about trends and fashions in coin collecting. This way you can get an idea of how the coin you have fits in with the most demanded variants.

For example, you may have read in a blog that collecting 5 nickel coins is very popular, but if the item is old it is possible that collectors would prefer to exchange it for 2 euro commemorative coins. This is only hypothetical.

At a numismatic event you will get in direct contact with collectors and ask them these and other important things.

Avoid these errors in the sale of coins

If you already have experience in selling old coins you know how the process works. However, if this is your first time you should avoid these mistakes at all costs.

Some mistakes could jeopardize the sale, or even make your piece lose all its value. Simply put, if you make these mistakes in selling coins you could lose all your money.

Very high expectations with the coin sale

This is one of the most common mistakes. It is logical that it is so when there are thousands of articles on the Internet promising that you can become a “millionaire by selling that old coin you have in a drawer at home”. It’s really almost impossible for something like that to happen.

Most antique collectible coins are worth less than 100 euros or dollars. Only rare and well-preserved specimens can be worth thousands of dollars or euros.

So I recommend you level out the rare ones and consult a numismatic specialist to find out the true value of your antique coin.

NOTE: You can also consult my GUIDE: How to know the value of an Ancient Coin without fear of making a mistake?

Selling motivated by the need for money

Let’s suppose you have a unique, very well preserved piece and a specialist has told you that you can sell it very expensive. The last thing you should do is try to sell it to solve money problems.

If you decide to sell your coins because you have money problems, like debts or you want to buy something very expensive, most probably some buyer will notice your desperation and try to take advantage of it by offering you less money than the real value of your piece.

Selling coins in a hurry

The market for old currencies is quite active, but it is not as dynamic as other types of collectibles. People who buy antique coins to collect like to take precautions to be absolutely certain about the pieces they acquire.

Before buying, they usually get good information about the type of coin, and about the specific piece when there are records of it. Showing haste in the sale can send wrong signals that will make the more cautious ones doubt.

People sell old coins in a hurry for two reasons:

  • First: They know that the coin they are selling is overvalued, so they try to get their hands on the buyer’s money as quickly as possible, and then they disappear, or…
  • Second: They need the money very urgently, which brings us to the previous point.

Cleaning up old coins before selling them

This is one of the most common mistakes and believe me when I tell you that it is one of the most serious. Many people believe that the brightness of a coin is indicative of value, and many times the opposite is true. When old coins are polished they lose all their value.

I have written before about cleaning up old coins, and at the time I commented that most of the time it is preferable to leave them as they are.

Cleaning an old coin before selling it is very dangerous. If the buyers are collectors they will quickly notice that you have cleaned it, and they will lose all interest in that piece. For them it will go from being a valuable coin to a piece of common metal.

This is a mistake you want to avoid.

Are you ready to sell that antique coin?

I hope that with all the information I just shared with you, you’ll be ready to sell the antique coin and get the most out of it with the least risk.

If you find this guide helpful I’d love to share it with your friends, or on your social networks.

Remember to follow my recommendations to sell the old coins to get the most out of them, and also to avoid the most common mistakes made by inexperienced people.

I'm a passionate full-time blogger. I love writing about startups, how they can access key resources, avoid legal mistakes, respond to questions from angel investors as well as the reality check for startups. Continue reading my articles for more insight.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Geoffrey

    05/11/2021 at 12:10 AM

    I have some old East Africa coins, two queen Elizabeth 50 cents and several king’s Georgia’s shilings but different in writing, I also have one shilings wueen Elizabeth and Regina, am looking for market, are there buyers out there please ?

  2. Andre Carr

    08/09/2023 at 3:54 PM

    I’d like to send you an inventory of my coins.

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