Coins for sale – Why you should be wary!

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coins for sale

Coins for sale

“Coins for sale,” says the notice. It looks so inviting – so innocent – what’s the harm in looking?

Anyone who collects coins has their own favorite sources and places to add to their collection or to offload those “must haves” that seemed like a good idea at the time but have since become unwanted in the corner of a drawer or box.

Then along comes an email, an advertisement or new website which promises great deals and amazing rare examples of just what you are looking for.

Unfortunately, in the world of numismatics 99% silver doesn’t always mean .999 fine silver. It is bad enough trying to spot fakes or coins that are not quite what they purport to be from the United States Mint, let alone “rare world coins” which are difficult to certify and price.

Proof of authenticity is absolutely essential when dealing with any type of coin – whether bullion coins, mint sets or single items.

This is especially true of coins made of precious metals. Proof silver coins, and proof gold coins should always be professionally assessed by a known coin grading service such as Professional Coin Grading Service – PCGS.

It is even more important to get “numismatic” coins examined by experts as these type of coins have no intrinsic “value” to the materials they are made of. Many are alloys or a combination of base metals and it is their relative rarity which gives them worth. A certified Walking Liberty or American Eagle will always make more than a coin with no known provenance.

Shopping around

Coin collectors can always go to one of the thousands of coin shops dotted across the United States. Here you can get friendly advice and knowledgeable assessments of coins which are for sale or that you might want to sell. Most of these shops are small “one-man-bands” run by coin enthusiasts who took their hobby just that bit further.

Like all businesses they are looking to make a profit from any deal – so expect to pay above the “official” guidelines.

Before finalizing any deal make sure that you double check the prices on well-known websites like NGC World Price Guide.

The Spruce Guide lists 11 extremely useful and authoritative sites here. These will give you a good starting point for any negotiations – this is important if you are inexperienced and unfamiliar with the way coin values are reached.

There are also acknowledged “standards” when it comes to books and other publications dealing with the prices of coins for sale.

These guideline prices can be found in Whitman’s Red, Blue and Black Books. These are catalogs of all known US coins ever minted.

Coin Week also publishes this list of coin price guides to give a solid indication of prices across coins of all types and all areas of the world – bullion and numismatics.

Do not forget that supply and demand are the drivers of the numismatic market – the rarest coins are highly sought after and prices can run away for really good examples of specific years, mints, conditions or faults.

It is vital to get a grounded, sensible estimate of a coin’s value before conducting transactions so you do not get carried away in the moment.

Some final thoughts

Price charts are a good way of seeing the relative coin prices – some auction houses have these – it makes it easier to establish exactly where your coin stands compared to others that have been bought or sold recently. Armed with this as a ball-park figure you can negotiate with confidence – and see whether your coin is over or undervalued.

Rare coins are trickier than well-known coins like Silver Eagles or Morgan silver dollars. There are specific collectors who specialize in ancient Greek or Roman coins, for example, and their particular knowledge in their field may put you at a disadvantage if you are dealing with such currency. It might be worth taking along an expert or getting one to deal on your behalf for particularly high-value coins.

Proof coins are another specialized area. These coins are made by mints exclusively for collectors. They are usually sealed in plastic cases and are known as uncirculated coins. These are more valuable to collectors than circulated coins because they are in mint condition, with no damage, wear or marks to them.

Although not strictly coins – small gold bars and silver bars are often sold alongside coins as a part of a package. These are bullion and have no numismatic value – their worth comes purely from the grade of the metal (it’s fineness) and the price per ounce on the day. Do not be fooled into paying premiums for these.

Collin Plume

Collin Plume

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The Morgan Silver Dollar is an essential part of American History. The first was released in 1878 and became an immediate success. We have sourced 3 different versions of this iconic coin. These will be an investment as well as a family heirloom for generations to come.

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