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Estate Sale Auctions - Your Experiences?

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New Member
United States
8 Posts
 Posted 05/02/2011  4:19 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add pidgeon to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Just wanted to say, the last few estate sales I've been to have been big disappointments. Even with lots of coins being auctioned, it seems too many auctions have the "dregs" after the family, or the executor, has gone through and picked out all the high quality stuff. I've been to at least three auctions where, apart from gold, there has been little material approaching MS quality. And for morgans, they seem to think a coin should be priced at several hundred dollars just because its from the 1800's. When I point out to them that there were 44.6 million 1921 silver dollars made, they look at me like I'm crazy or stupid. Anyway, I'm going to have to see some much nicer stuff before I waste another 3 hours standing around, bidding on junk.

Ok, I feel better now that I've said that. Also, my last purchase was a real nice MS-63 small cent, and that lifted my spirits too.
Pillar of the Community
United States
2240 Posts
 Posted 05/02/2011  5:54 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add trdhrdr007 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I don't know if it will make you feel any better but I recently looked at an estate with coins. I was doing a favor for a friend who needed help evaluating what they had. The collection was worth in excess of $10k. The vast majority was common date silver that was worth as much for melt as it was for numismatics. I did pick up a few key dates but they were either well circulated, cleaned or both.

I'm looking over another estate right now for the estate sale compnay I work for. I'm only partway through the collectiom but the vast majority is junk silver & cleaned coins in old style albums & folders. The better coins probably make up about 5% of the collection.
Pillar of the Community
United States
651 Posts
 Posted 05/02/2011  8:20 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add fcrazo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
In my area all the pros with connections have gotten to the good stuff before it officially starts. They (estate sales) are overpriced and sometimes a disappointment and no fun any more. This is is just 1 opinion.
Bedrock of the Community
United States
20695 Posts
 Posted 05/02/2011  9:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add just carl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I stay away from so called estate AUCTIONS. Estate sales, if real, are basically just someone's household getting rid of lots of STUFF from a deceased relative. Usually most of the sellers have little or no idea of values of some or even none of the STUFF. However, there are even those where a relative is rather informed as to what items are worth.
Estate AUCTIONS are really different and in many cases just a joke. The last one I went to I saw a lot of coins, guns, etc. that I would have been interested in buying. Then I found someone I went to school with there. He was working for an Auction house. He told me how his organization buys everything and has a so called estate sale. The audiences are spiked with people that bid on anything to help raise the prices. His organization also buys up entire stores that are going out of buisness and then has those going out of buisness sales that sometimes go on and on and on.
All his info now keeps me away from AUCTIONS.
I've HEARD people say they got fantastic deals at those places but that is what they say and so far I've never seen thoes great, fantastic, wonderful deals.
just carl
Rest in Peace
United States
9104 Posts
 Posted 05/03/2011  02:45 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add biggfredd to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Top quality stuff went to serious collectors decades ago. With silver prices so high, $300 in scrap is worth $10,000, there's no need for it to be a serious collection.
Pillar of the Community
United States
505 Posts
 Posted 05/03/2011  03:09 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Frazzle to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I blame the internet for the decline of Quality items at flea market,yard sales etc...Before the internet It was easy to find rare items that the casual seller knew nothing about..But now everyone seems to be an expert on collectibles,because Info is so easily available.....Technology will be the death of us all!!
Bedrock of the Community
United States
17710 Posts
 Posted 05/03/2011  12:32 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Conder101 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
In my experience unless the person was a SERIOUS collector it tends to be junk and overpriced. I have seldom seen a decent scarce coin from an estate sale and most of even the common stuff gets bid up well over current value by people who have no idea what the coins are worth but think they must be valuable because they are "old".
Gary Schmidt
Pillar of the Community
Canada
1733 Posts
 Posted 05/03/2011  2:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Ugly to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Our family runs live auctions, it's our experience that the family of the deceased tends to pick over the coins fairly well. Which I personally enjoy immensely because they usually miss the really good stuff. One family scraped up some corroded quarters and left the nickel book with key dates intact for example. Yeah guess who bought that.

Keep in mind most people have common coins, that's why we call them common coins. The bidding issue I agree with, people have no concept of value whatsoever when bidding. I sold some common provincial pennies from the 1800's in the sale a bit ago and they brought 50 bucks each, or roughly ten times their value.
Edited by Ugly
05/03/2011 2:52 pm
Valued Member
United States
487 Posts
 Posted 05/03/2011  3:16 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add scmoore61 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
You can do very well on coins at auctions if that is not the main focus of the auction. If an auction list 20 coins and many key dates I don't go because there will be a lot of collectors there and no deals but if the add has furniture, glassware, hand tools, garden tractors and some old coins. I find I can can do real well on everything except wheat cents and V nickles. I have bought a bunch of junk silver for 30% of spot.
Valued Member
Canada
279 Posts
 Posted 05/03/2011  5:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add gord to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Frazzle
Nice to see you so easily want to dupe the uninformed and rip them off..lol nice
New Member
United States
8 Posts
 Posted 05/04/2011  3:49 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pidgeon to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for all the replies. It makes me feel better knowing you are seeing what I'm seeing at these sales! I saw examples of overbidding at the last auction I went to, even for non-coin related items. And I also agree, its very hard these days to find a rarity without their being 10 other collectors there ready to bid. Many are also just there to bid on silver for less than spot.

I do like the advice to seek out auctions with only a few coins. Will keep this in mind next time. Mostly, I just need to leave after what I'm interested in is won or gone, and not hang around wasting my time.

Pillar of the Community
1283 Posts
 Posted 05/05/2011  5:04 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add throwbackid to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I go to auction at least once a week and I absolutely love them. There are times where everything seems to go at premium and other times where you can find things at 50-75% of melt, a great deal in my book. Just don't let your emotions get caught up in it, this will cause you to over pay for something. It is easy to get caught up in a bidding war where you spend $1000 on a $800 coin. Take it easy and sit in the back and watch the action for a bit till you decide to jump in.
Bedrock of the Community
United States
20695 Posts
 Posted 05/06/2011  09:17 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add just carl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I blame the internet for the decline of Quality items at flea market,yard sales etc.

WHAT? Your making fun of flea markets? Why many of those carry really fantastic intercontinental merchandise from some long forgotten asian countries like China. At some sellers have piles of old coins and you can tell their old from all the green stuff on them. Many Stainless steel items that stick to magnets. Items deamed illigal to sell anywhere. And you may find items that were once in your own home but vanished one day. AAHHHHHHh, yes, flea markets.
Oddly enough I've made my greatest finds in coins at flea markets and garage/yard sales.
just carl
Valued Member
United States
137 Posts
 Posted 04/03/2014  12:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bilboleslie to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
There are still bargains out there. Here are two from the past year or two.

I picked up a framed collection of silver half dollars at an antique mall for barely over melt (they hadn't adjusted the price in a long time). And I asked for a discount, and they gave me 10% off.

I also picked up several silver Mexican coins (a peso, and some smaller coins) and a Roman coin at an estate sale for three dollars. They were tossed into an envelope and held at the checkout stand. I think I sold the pesos for ten dollars, and I got $12 for the Roman coin.

The keys to success are:
o Look a lot more than you buy. Don't feel bad if you go to two places and don't buy anything.
o Ask. "Say, nice antique mall. Any coins around here?" A lot of the time, they are locked in cabinets, and not visible.
o Ask for a discount
o Estate sales: Show up early, and go straight for the glass case at the checkout.
o Take a smart phone with you, to check up on what you see. And a magnifying glass, and a flashlight.
Valued Member
United States
331 Posts
 Posted 04/03/2014  12:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pawpaw34 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Maybe they have got better since 2011.
Valued Member
United States
211 Posts
 Posted 04/03/2014  5:41 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JimmyJames to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
They haven't gotten better.

There's no reason for a person running an estate sale to put out coins for general sale. If there is a coin collection of value, it will most likely be offered to a dealer/appraiser and sold that way, or kept by relatives.

When relatives of the deceased see a coin collection, they think "ooo, maybe I'm rich now". Almost nobody thinks, "Eh, throw it out there with the rest of it and see what we get."

Estate sales are great fun for more obscure objects, but not great for coins.

That's not to say I haven't seen coins for sale at Estate Sales for reasonable prices, but you have to go to like 20 of them before that happens. It's not worth 20 hours of my time to buy a couple coins for prices that might not be any better than eBay.
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