You’ve inherited coins from a friend or relative or been gifted a coin collection. What will you do with it? That’s a very good question. We’ve talked before about whether coin collectors should leave their collections to their heirs, but if you have inherited coins and don’t know their value, it’s challenging to know what to do with them. In this blog we will go through your options.
Determining coin value takes both familiarity with coins and knowledge of the market. It’s not something that anyone learns overnight. So if you have been given coins and don’t know their value, don’t feel overwhelmed. The good news is that even if you have no idea about the worth of your coins, it is unlikely to change very rapidly so you have time to decide what to do while you educate yourself.
Who Can You Trust to Tell You the Truth about Your Coins?
Anything that has value will attract people who want to profit from it, that’s just the sad truth. Because of this fact, it’s important to do some research about coin dealers. Reputable dealers will be members of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG), and other professional coin organizations. Read online reviews from the BBB and Google Reviews and ask other coin collectors for their recommendations too. If you have multiple coin dealers in your area, check to see if any of them specializes in the types of coins you have.
You do not have to work with a local coin dealer, but it’s good to have someone local to consult with before you make any big decisions. Take a sampling of your coins to several dealers, and see what they say about their value. They may quote different numbers due to varying expertise or what they can afford to pay. For Proof and Mint sets and coins saved from circulation, most local shops should be able to offer you fair market value.
If the collection has a large silver or gold content, the price of the coins will vary from day to day based on the fluctuating value of those precious metals. Ask the dealer what the bullion prices are and what percent of spot prices are they paying so it’s clear how the value is being determined.
If your collection has very rare coins, having them graded will likely be worthwhile. A local appraiser can help you screen your coins to separate out the most valuable ones for grading, since you will not want to pay grading fees and shipping and handling fees for coins that are not worth a great deal of money. Certified coins are much simpler to value. You can also compare prices of previously auctioned coins or look on eBay to see what the asking prices are for similar coins.
Keep Your Inherited Coins
Another option, of course, is to keep your inherited coins and join other coin collectors in a very satisfying hobby. It’s still worthwhile to have your collection appraised, but that would be the beginning of the process of learning about coin values, adding to the collection, or completing smaller collections of coins within the larger collection.
Many great collectors have started with coins they inherited from family members. If you know that you can expect to inherit coins from a friend or relative and you think you might be interested in coin collecting, ask them about the coins they’ve collected. They probably have some interesting stories to tell you. The useful knowledge they can pass on to you will also help you decide how you want to collect and which coins you will be interested in keeping or adding to.
Mullen Coins is proud of our reputation for fairness, integrity, and numismatic knowledge. We are members of the BBB, ANA, PCGS, NGC, CAC, and the Central States Numismatics Society. If you have questions about the coins you have inherited or any coins you have, please do not hesitate to give us a call or contact us by email. We will be glad to schedule a visit with you to see and evaluate your coins.