Investing in Gold & Silver For Dummies
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The whole point of buying collectible coins (at least from an investment perspective) is to gain by selling them at a higher price later on. This article helps you understand potential buyers and pricing information. For maximum investment gain, it’s best to hold your coins long term to give them adequate time to appreciate in value. Coins aren’t really appropriate as tradable vehicles.

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The ultra high relief $20 Saint-Gaudens double eagle gold coin issued in 2009

Potential coin buyers

Keep in mind that to achieve maximum gains with your coins, the issue isn’t just when to sell (again, later is better than sooner); it’s also important to understand whom you sell to. The following sections give you guidance.


The most convenient way to cash in your coin investments is to sell to a coin dealer. The reputable ones are members of the long-standing organizations such as the Professional Numismatists Guild, and you shouldn’t have a problem making a fast and efficient sale. However, keep in mind that what you’re seeking to get paid isn’t the same as what dealers are willing to pay. After you pore over all the price listings in coin publications, you have a preconceived idea of what your coins are worth. Keep in mind that you’re probably looking for the retail price while the dealers are looking to pay only a wholesale price. Oh sure, you read the dealer’s ad stating, “We pay the highest prices in the industry,” and it may even be 100 percent true, but in reality, the point is highest wholesale prices. Dealers are in business, and they need to make a profit to stay in business. If you think that the value of your coin should be, say, $100 (that’s what you saw in those coin publications), then the amount you’ll likely be offered will be in the $50 to $65 range. This is why you should consider your coins to be a long-term investment to give them enough time to appreciate. The difference will mean another 30 to 40 percent in the price to cover the difference between wholesale and retail. Of course, if the coins you’re seeking to sell were found in your attic or inherited, then the wholesale/retail price difference may not mean much to you because your purchase price was effectively zero. Dealers will generally pay a wholesale rate for your coins. Therefore, if you’re settling for dealers to make a fast and convenient sale, call several dealers to size up the offers.

Other investors

If you want to gain a higher price, then it may behoove you to skip past the middleman and go straight to the buyer: another investor. You may say, “Great! The heck with the dealer; I’ll go directly to the buyer and get more money!” Here’s where you discover the trade-off. If you want to realize more money from the sale of your coins, then you’ll need to put in the time, effort, and diligence. Realizing a higher price entails more marketing and sales efforts on your part.

You can find coin investors in a variety of places, and the internet makes it easier to locate would-be buyers. There are numismatic clubs and chat rooms. There are markets for buyers and sellers of coins at websites such as . You can also go to . Selling directly to individuals will be easier if you get your coins certified. Investors are more apt to make a deal with you if a credible organization has certified the coin and its condition and authenticity.

eBay and other auctions

Online auctions are one of the most active areas of the internet. Unless you’ve been spelunking (a weird word that means exploring caves) for the past dozen years, you’ve heard of . It is, of course, the premier online auction site, and lots of coins are bought and sold there regularly. A lot of great information sources are available on how to buy and sell on eBay, and it’s the first place to look when you’re considering selling your stuff online. eBay is a horizontal auction site, which means everyone sells all sorts of stuff to everyone else. If you can’t sell your coins on eBay, then consider finding a vertical auction site. This type of auction site means the buying and selling are in a narrow niche or specialty. There are auction sites that specialize in coins. Also keep in mind that there are dealers and auctions that do consignment sales. Consignment means that you sell your item through a sales agent, but you still retain ownership of the item until the sale is made. Here are some of the major coin auction websites:

Pricing information

Whether you’re buying or selling, the price is everything. You shop around if you’re going to buy. If you’re going to sell, you need to verify with reliable sources regarding the market value of your coin(s). The following sources have pricing information that can help:

A book that achieved renown as the bible for coin prices and values is the Red Book. The full title is The Official Red Book: A Guide Book of United States Coins. It’s inexpensive and compact. Although it gets updated annually, that’s enough. Coin values aren’t that volatile, so an annual book is sufficient for most folks. Find it at your favorite bookstore.

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