Sandra S. writes: Dear Sir, Some elderly friends have a coin collection which they want to sell and donate the proceeds to help a congregation build a new place of worship. They have asked me to help them sell the collection. What is the best way to get this on the market and get a fair market value? I am unfamiliar with anything to do with this, so any help you can give will be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.
If you know nothing about coins, hire a professional numismatist in your area to appraise your collection. A appraisal will list all of your holdings and will include attribution, description, authentication, grading and current wholesale market value. Armed with this information you can proceed to sell your coins at a fair price. Note that a good appraisal will get you within 10% + or – of the appraisal.
If you can’t find a qualified person in your area, contact the American Numismatic Association and they can recommend a qualified appraiser. You do not sell the collection to the appraiser. The appraisal will tell you what the coins are worth via a written report so when you sell them you’ll know you are getting the right price. Don’t be disappointed if the collection turns out to be more of an accumulation and not so valuable.
If your collection or part of it is particularly valuable, you might consider selling it at auction. There are a number of reputable auction houses in the United States and Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Swiss Credit Bank are examples of auction houses that have a presence in Europe. Many have local representatives that you can contact for information. If your material is more common fare, you can use your appraisal to sell the material on the Internet or to a local coin dealer for cash. Your appraiser can recommend appropriate choices.