When It's Time To Sell: Part II

Posted on 2/2/2012

In Part II, Jeff Garrett discusses additional means to sell your coin collection.

As noted in my last article, selling your rare coins at auction can be a very exciting and rewarding means of selling your rare coin collection. Auctions have become an ever increasing means for selling rare coins into the market. The internet has made participating in auction much easier for buyers around the country and world. You can now sit in the comfort of your office or home and bid as if sitting in the auction room. The ease of bidding and the explosion of rare coin values has seen the dollar value of coins sold at auction each year increase a tremendous amount. When Mid–American Rare Coin Auctions was operating in the late 1980s, the average auction house sold around $10 million dollars in rare coins each year. Now, a $10 million auction would be considered a minor event!

Rare coin auctions can be a great way to sell rare coins, but is not the only option. For collectors who have spent time and energy trying to learn about what they collect, other means of selling your coins can be considered. Many have worked closely with dealers and have established relationships that can be quite valuable when it’s time to sell your rare coins. Quite a few dealers specialize in a particular series or type. Their expertise in their area of specialty can be used to maximize your returns and minimize risks. Remember, they not only know the rare coins, but they also probably know other collectors who would love to purchase your rare coins by private treaty. When working with a dealer, collectors can develop a solid game plan for selling their coins and collection. This can include going over prices to be asked and establishing a minimum to be achieved. You might not have the opportunity for your coins to bring run-away prices, but you avoid the serious disappointment that can result from selling coins unreserved. Rare coin auctions also involve waiting a considerable amount of time to receive funds. This can be avoided by selling coins through a dealer.

Dealers can also work with collectors to organize their coins and prepare them for direct sale to others. This includes research, grading and conservation advice, and other factors effecting value. Once this is completed, the coins can then be offered to buyers for offer or at pre–determined fixed prices. This can be a very effective means of getting the most for your coins and avoiding unpleasant surprises. As with any financial transaction, be wary of advice that might include conflicts of interest. Ask for full disclosure and documentation of any transactions.

Collectors can also work to market coins by themselves. There is an incredible amount of information about rare coin pricing available today. With a little effort, most collectors can do research to establish an idea of value for their coin or collection. Most major dealers and many smaller ones make offers for any rare coins that are for sale. A list of dealers in your area can be found easily on the NGC or PNG website. Collectors should solicit offers from several dealers when selling their coins. Rare coins are very complex, and it’s easy for even the most seasoned professional to make a mistake.

Coin shows are an excellent venue for collectors wanting to sell coins. My company buys coins from collectors at every major coin show we attend. At major shows, there are usually hundreds of dealers eager to buy your rare coins.

Another possibility many collectors explore when selling are online auctions. eBay is the giant of the online venues, and probably the first choice of most sellers. In the past few weeks eBay has announced important steps towards combating counterfeits, but there are still many risks when you don’t know and trust the seller, as often the case on anonymous auction websites. Some large and reputable coin companies, however, hold very successful online-only auctions that are popular with dealers and collectors.

One last option worthy of consideration is to sell your rare coins to another collector who is as passionate about your area of collecting as you are. Most collecting specialties have very active clubs with a considerable number of members who buy and sell coins among each other. Many collectors also belong to a local coin club where coins are bought and sold each month. Coin clubs played a very large role in my early career as a rare coin dealer. I have fond memories of setting up my card table full of rare coins in the back of the room at Bay Area Florida coin club meetings. These venues are probably not the best place to sell exceedingly valuable coins, but it will give you the opportunity to gain some experience selling coins.

Selling your coins can be a very difficult decision. With careful thought and planning, you will give yourself the best chance to reap the gains richly deserved for years of investing your time and money!

Questions about the rare coin market? Send them to wmr@ngccoin.com.

Jeff Garrett bio

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