Auctions - Appraising Your Coin Collection

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Copyright 2015 by Kevin Flynn, All Rights Reserved

Selling in an auction can be beneficial as you have multiple individuals seeing and bidding on the coins. It is important that you choose an auction house that provides the best coverage for your coins. The more people that can examine them, the higher probability that any valuable coins will be identified by multiple people and the best possible price will be realized. View coins sold of the same date, mint mark, condition and grade as your coins. This will help you get an idea of what the prices realized are. Also, look at the number of coins similar to your that were auctioned and not sold.

When selling coins that were uncertified by a third party grading service and worth under $100, or 90% silver coins and silver bullion, local auctions are a viable option. You might expect to pay a 10% seller’s fee with the buyer paying a 10% buyer’s fee on the price realized. If you have a minimum price attached to selling an item, you want to make sure that if the price is not passed and the coin sold, that you are not paying the seller and buyer’s fee to get your coin back. The best method for find a good auction company is to attend auctions and see how many people attend and what prices are being realized.

Coin auctions can be found in sites such as Auctions around Philadelphia were normally well attended and had competitive bidding, usually realizing a higher value than expected. In speaking with collectors there, many people were from New York. Some had come into money when natural gas was uncovered in certain counties. People were seeking places to hide their money, and coins and precious metals were a good alternative.

When driving out to Pittsburgh, I stopped at an auction 50 miles below Harrisburg, way out in the farm country. I thought it would not be well attended, thereby allowing me to purchase coins cheaper. The auction was packed full and prices were well above the expected value. One auction down in Maryland was not well attended, and coins realized prices below the expected value. One problem was that many coins were cleaned, and this needed to be considered when bidding.

Auctions that combine coins and other items usually realize less money and sometimes you have to wait for the non-coin items to sell.

By attending these auctions, you get to see the coins, making notes on coins that are similar to yours, and get a good idea of the prices they should realize. You can also speak to the organizers to determine what the fee is for selling coins, and if you can set a minimum bid price without having to pay a fee if the coin is not sold. Some auction companies want a larger quantity of coins to sell, when requesting considerations such as setting a minimum bid.

Auctions that have pictures have an obvious advantage in that people can see the coins and are not buying sight unseen. They will feel more comfortable in spending more money for the coins. This will also give buyers an equal opportunity to view the coin for rare die states or die varieties which are worth a greater premium. The more people who identify this rarity, the higher the prices realized will be.

For coins with a higher value, you should choose an auction company that is nationally recognized and viewable through the internet. The author primarily uses Heritage Auctions ( They have an auction archive with over a million coin sales. You can easily learn what the prices realized for a particular coin is bringing, how frequently similar type coins being auctioned, how many coins were not sold, and much more. Heritage is the largest coin auction house in the world.

The down side of selling your coins through an auction is that most auction companies have both a sellers fee and a buyers fee. That is primarily how they make their profit. Learn what the conditions are on buying or selling coins.

When selling coins through an auction, learn what coins would sell best in an auction, and what type of auction is best for your coins.

Previous: Where to Sell Your Coins
Next: What to Keep What to Sell
Copyright 2015 by Kevin Flynn, All Rights Reserved

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