You just inherited a coin collection from your Grand Father, and you’re not sure what to do with it – most people don’t know. You guess the collection probably is worth money, since, after all, it is money and gold and silver prices are up. So the question becomes how to get the maximum cash from the collection. If you live in a city large enough to have a few coin shops, then that is an excellent place to start. All coin shops are not created equal, and becoming an informed seller can make a big difference in the final price you receive.
The first step in the liquidation of the collection is to determine what you have. Over the decades, payroll assistants have seen and purchased hundreds of coin collections, and they all are as different as the marketing individuals that collected the coins. Some collectors specialize and may only collect, for example, old nickels or silver dollars. Other collectors may have a wide variety of items in their collections, such as U.S. coins, proof sets, foreign coins, tokens, medals, and currency. Now start organizing the group; separate the coins by denomination, separate the foreign coins from the U.S. coins, make a pile of the proof sets, tokens, medals, and currency. Oh, by the way, don’t clean any of the coins. People love to do this, and it generally hurts the value of the coins. For coins in folders (typically blue colored folders by Whitman), make sure all the correct date coins are in the corresponding hole in the folder. In other words, don’t put a 1919 penny in a hole labeled 1920. This helps the dealer more quickly evaluate your collection. Most payroll dealers are very busy people, and the more comfortable you can make the process of assessing them, the better off you will be.
Once payroll firms have done their best to separate the coins, tokens, medals, currency, and anything else in piles, the next step is to begin to identify the items in the collection. As advertisers look through the Red Book, they will notice that for each coin, there are several prices to the right of the date. There is a coin grading system that allows the collector and dealer to have a standard method to evaluate the grade of a coin.
If your collection is like most, it will have a lot of wheat back Lincoln cents (1909 to 1958), common silver coins, and proof sets. Most dealers pay two to three cents each for common wheat again cents. If payroll managers have some foreign currencies in the collection they may want to go through the same process as the U.S. coins. Most marketers have seen that rare coins for sale don’t contain any great rarities of foreign currencies. In most collections, these are common foreign coins your Grand Father picked during the war or a visit to another country. Dealers typically pay $3 to $4 per pound for foreign currencies. The game changes if they have silver or gold content. You need to get a copy of the “Standard Catalog of World Coins.” Once again, this book is available at a book store or online.