What are my coins worth?” is the most common first question I get from people who have inherited coin collections and accumulations from relatives. They are not collectors themselves, but assume because Dad or Uncle Joe saved these coins, they must be valuable. And, they could be. However, because coin values are determined by a wide variety of factors, there is no simple answer. A better question to ask would be, “Who can help me sell my coins for the maximum value?”
Selling a rare coin is akin to selling an antique or fine art. Knowledge is power. A fine antique in original condition and in excellent shape can be very valuable… often many times the value of a lesser condition refinished piece. But if you’re a novice, how do you know if it is original? How do you know what defines “excellent shape?” An expert would need to help you by rendering a professional opinion about your antiques or fine art. Coins are very similar.
Some of the incorrect assumptions novices make about the value of rare coins:
- Old coins are automatically rare and valuable
- Shiny means excellent condition
- Obsolete means valuable.
What really makes a rare coin valuable:
- Date and mint mark (some are much rarer than others due to mint production)
- Condition and originality (meaning uncleaned – do not clean your coins no matter how dirty!)
- Collector interest in type of coin
- Mint error or variety
- Silver or gold content
We believe lack of knowledge should not mean lack of value for the rare coin owner. Often when selling, buyers will lump all coins of similar type together and pay one price per coin regardless of rarity. When I meet with potential sellers, I look at every coin to identify rare dates, better condition coins, and varieties, which are worth more than average old coin… and, while we will buy all your coins, we will pay a premium for those coins with more collector value.