By Dr. Richard S. ……

Selling your rare coin collection, investment or inheritance can be either pleasant and profitable or a frustrating, nerve-wracking, and uncertain experience. Making the right choices are crucial for achieving a desirable outcome. And it can be especially trying for someone who inherited a valuable collection or accumulation, or the attorney handling such an estate.

While each sales approach has its own positive merits, they also have their own unique set of potential hidden dangers. To my mind, if you choose to execute your coin sale alone, it is like an individual representing himself at trial in court. You may know much about the law, but it takes an expert lawyer to get you the best result. Making a mistake can be quite costly in either situation!

You want to be treated fairly and receive true market value when you sell your coins. But you also desire a smooth transaction with all aspects of the sale handled quickly and professionally. To fulfill these desires, you want to deal with an experienced and reliable firm or individual that will also bring you peace of mind.

Fortunately, there are several venues from which to choose. Most collectors and investors who have long been involved in the industry know them. However, while he or she might believe in their ability to make good choices, even the most astute and seasoned coin enthusiast may not recognize the myriad of potential pitfalls that plague the different rare coin sales methods.

Various Methods to Sell Your Coins

Among the most widely used options for selling rare coins is direct to a rare coin company or coin dealer. That may possibly include the source from which you first acquired your collection. Or you can sell them to an acquaintance, friend, or family member. Further, you can contact one or more auction houses for their sale. Additionally, you can sell them on eBay or some other internet auction site or have someone sell them for you. Finally, you can use a rare coin broker to work for you.

If you sell your coins to someone you know, you will likely complete the transaction quickly. However, it is doubtful the individual knows the real value of the coins and will likely pay less than you can achieve elsewhere. Further, you may have to wait a substantial period before being paid.

If you go to a rare coin company or dealer you must remember, the less they pay when they buy your coins the greater is their profit. They are incentivized to pay as little as possible. You will never really know the dealer’s profit. On the positive side, if they agree, you should complete the transaction quickly and be paid in a similar fashion.

Auction companies are often excellent venues for selling rare coins. The successful ones typically have a large following of individuals who are seeking to purchase a wide variety of coins. But you must understand auction houses earn their income with their various fees. They usually charge the seller a fee that can be substantial. That is in addition to the “buyer’s premium” which the purchaser pays the auction company. This can be an extra 15%-20%. There may even be a listing fee for each coin that you sell. Importantly and often unrecognized by many auction sellers, is that most rare coin auction buyers typically determine theirs bids based upon their “TOTAL” cost. This is comprised of not only the “hammer” or highest bid price but also the buyer’s premium they know they will pay. The different “house fees” are the auction company’s share of the sales price. They are immediately taken from your payment and can substantially reduce what you receive. You may be surprised with what you receive even if the hammer prices seem quite substantial.

Another method initially attempted by many individuals is selling their coins through eBay or some other online auction company. The sales can generate quick income if Paypal or some other intermediate is used for payment. However, not only is listing your rare coins and the other necessary tasks (images, descriptions, packaging, communicating with purchasers, etc.) very time-consuming, but the associated fees can quickly add up to 15% or more. That is assuming you attempt to list them yourself on the online auction. If you retain another party to sell your coins for you, you will likely pay an additional 20% or more in addition to the auction company fees. These combined costs reduce your payout. Another little recognized problem with all forms of auctions is one or more rare coin buyers may miss bidding on your coins. They may fail to attend the auction for personal or travel reasons, or just miss executing their bids. The buyers may be distracted for any number of reasons while waiting for your coins to be offered for bidding.

Rare coin brokers are becoming more widely used by individuals and estate executors and attorneys for selling rare coins. One important benefit of using a rare coin broker is it allows you to know upfront your cost. They perform a fee for service which should be agreed upon at the outset of the transaction and will work with you developing a plan to sell your coins for good market prices. Further, you should receive payment shortly after your coins are sold. Importantly, rare coin brokers have the luxury of having no conflicts of interest because their income is solely derived from their commission working for their client. A downside is not finding an experienced one that has industry-wide contacts. If they are performing their job properly, they are doing everything possible to protect their client’s interests.

In future articles, I will discuss in greater detail each method you can utilize to sell your rare coins, along with their positive and negative attributes.

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About Dr. Richard Appel

Dr. Richard S. Appel has been a numismatic expert for over 50 years. He offers his personal services as a rare coin broker or rare coin consultant to both beginner and experienced consumers alike. Please visit, or contact him at his website He can also be reached by phone at (800) 782-2646. For a modest fee he will treat every purchase or sale of your coins as if they were his own, and will negotiate the best possible prices on your behalf.


  1. Dear sir. Richard.
    Thanks for your information on the coins but for a person like me from Kenya. How can you help me. ALI from mombasa

  2. I too want to sell my old coins and notes a collection of old coins from India and other countries too never came across selling but collected as to sell it?

  3. Hope I can get in touch with you soon I am so tired of scam artists just have a few coins I need to sell need to know the value from someone who knows what they are talking about

  4. I have a Jefferson nickel and curious it value and if it’s the real thing. An error I have never seen. There isn’t any reverse side to it.

  5. Where is the best place to sell old coins, I mostly have Lincoln pennies/and wheat pennies? I have a few Canadian small cents and a few UK 20 pence.

  6. Hi all there
    Respected people’s Please anyone can guide me where I can sale my rare collection so please inform me thank you

  7. I have hadseveral coins for a long time50p coins I collect was 1997 coins I’m selling plus 2 other coins depending how I get on .

  8. I have wheat pennies from 1950 1946 1942 1945 i have a 1979 liberty siver dollar some nickles 1965 and lots more 1942 and zo forth can u let me know how i can sell my coins


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