Where to Sell Your Coins - Appraising Your Coin Collection
When selling coins yourself, there are several options. Craigslist is not an option that would be advisable for most. Anyone can offer to buy or sell coins on Craigslist, which includes thieves and con-artists. Sellers normally list coins for much more than they are worth, seeking the uneducated to generate a greater profit. Most buyers attempt to negotiate over and over again, hoping you will provide a price under the coin’s value.
The one good control is that when selling, the potential buyer contacts you through a Craigslist account, and they do not see your email address unless you choose to contact them. This helps in screening those people you believe are serious and want to purchase under your conditions.
Before posting coins for sale on Craigslist, first research what a fair price would be. List the price and specifically state that this is the bottom line, and that any requests to negotiate a lower price will not be replied to. When people write and in their first email request a lower price, they should be deleted, as they could not follow simple instructions that were important. Roughly 90% of the responses are those who seek lower prices or something else that is not part of the transaction. Normally cash is the preferred method of payment, this helps avoid potential problems with bad checks or money orders. A public place to meet is also mandatory, and never at your or some else’s house. Once you feel comfortable with the email conversation, you might next request a phone number and speak to them on the phone. Some people have a second person with them as a witness or security in case of a problem. You can also start with a small sale, then if this is successful, proceed with a larger quantity of coins. Again, this is not suggested, but if you choose to test the waters, so to speak, be careful, and only proceed with the transaction if you are comfortable and confident.
For selling coins, as there is no cost associated with listing a coin for sale, Craigslist is also a good venue to start with a slightly higher price, this also gives a little room to negotiate. Probably the best type of coins to attempt to sell on Craigslist is silver bullion. This is more likely because most people case easily lookup the price of silver coins, and there are many people seeking silver coins and bullion as a long term investment. This is especially true when the price of silver is very low, there are very few people selling, which creates a better market for those who are selling.
The majority of people use eBay in attempting to sell their coins. This environment allows you to list a coin, have an open sale with bidding to decide the price, use a minimum price, buy it now option, make an offer option, without leaving your name and address so that everyone knows who you are and where you live. An account is relatively easy to set up, and there are several options in being paid. A P.O. Box is always recommended to anyone who writes you about your coins or as a return address. Photos and a good description of the coin will help the prices realized. There are usually other coins that might be similar to yours, so you can see if your expected result is similar. Of course, on any sale, you will be required to pay a percentage to eBay. eBay might be a good resource for selling coins in general, especially as there are many people looking on eBay to purchase items such as coins. But if you have specific coins, for example, a nice Liberty Seated dime, then it might be advisable to go to where true collectors of what you are selling might see these and make an offer.
There are general coin specific web sites such as www.pcgs.com, that have "Buy, Sell, Trade" sections that are free to become a member and offer coins for sale, without requiring a percentage of the sale. There are also sites for specific series such as the Morgan Dollars that present a location to sell coins. These sites usually have a simple sign-up procedure, and most people on the site use pseudo names to protect their identity and location. The benefit of these forums is that your audience are coin collectors, most of which have been around and will be reasonable. You can also sometimes read their interactions with other collectors.
There are also numismatic papers such as Coin World and Numismatic News. Some of these offer a small free ad, but the majority will charge for an ad to sell coins. Again, the primary benefit is that you are focusing your sale to coin collectors in this environment. As with most other transactions, it is better to get a P.O. Box and have all coins and such shipped through there. I normally request checks or money orders and verify that they clear before shipping a product, but there is also the option of PayPal that is easy and very secure to use.
Coin shows offer a good forum to show several dealers your coins, but you might expect offers that are 15% lower than the value. Of course, the dealer has to cover their expenses such as the table, transportation and such.
If you have rare and expensive coins, an auction house is probably the best opportunity to present your coin to many people who will competitively bid on your coins. Selecting and selling your coins through auction is covered in the next section.
Local coin stores normally provide a good opportunity to sell to a coin dealer who has an established store. When going into a store for the first time with a dealer I do not know, I start with a small transition to test the water. For example, one dealer had some old Red Books I was interested in, I requested a price, they said $10. I looked in the book and it said $2. Also, when I was requesting to see coins in the case, they became quickly annoyed as I was not purchasing coins quick enough. They would prefer to sit back in their chair and watch TV and talk on the phone. Needless to say, I never went back.
The majority of dealers with stores will be patient and help you understand more about your coins, or coins that you wish to purchase. One simple test is to request purchasing silver bullion coins or bars. After they give you a price, ask them what they would pay for this if you brought it in to sell. This way you can see what type of margin they are working on. If you have friends who collect coins, they also might recommend someone they trust. Over the years, people who I have sold coins to usually want to know who they could sell to if I was not around. There are several coin store around my location, there is one that I trust more than anyone else, who I always suggest to other collectors. It cannot be understated that reputation is important to most coin dealers.
You also can choose to become a coin dealer yourself and sell coins at a local show. Make sure that you have the proper permits for your state or county. For example, in New Jersey, they require a Sales and Use Tax Certificate, so that you can collect and pay taxes on merchandise sold.