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I need some suggestions on consigning a large collection of coins


thenickelguy
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Anyone who knows me a little on NS knows I only have a handful of ancients but I have a lot of other coins and exonumia from collecting over the last 40 to 50 years. I know what I have and it is organized in several safes but I don't have the time to sell it myself. I also have packed away many antiques and they are carefully displayed in cardboard boxes. 

Reality has set in. I need to sell. I know about what percentage I have to pay as commission, and am realistic about the current market.

Would I be best off calling a major auction house, a major city auctioneer or a seller on someplace like VCoins?

I can't farm this out over time. I really don't have much low end inventory but I did collect better coins that most anyone could afford.

Yes, I will keep maybe 100 nice coins in my estate for inheritance purpose.

I hope this is an appropriate post, if it is out of line, please delete it immediately.

I am not advertising this, I am not trying to, or particularly want to sell to any individual(s).

I am simply looking for some good direction as to how to consign and liquidate it all to one venue. Heritage in Dallas looks like a good idea to me. Regardless, the other party whomever it is, would have to come to me.

Thank you for your experienced suggestions. I belong to several coin forums but have only posted this here. I think there are some smart and level headed people on Nvmis Forvms.

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(disclaimer: I've never sold any of my coins, so please factor that lack of experience into my response)

It really depends on the price level of your coins and where you live. From what I gather from your post:

  • Most of your coins are not ancients. I'm assuming they're either US or World.
  • They're not very well organized
  • Most are not low end. I'm not sure what you mean by "better coins that most anyone could afford." Do you mean that most of your coins are worth more than $100 a piece, or $1000 a piece?

If I were to sell my coins, I'd strongly consider CNG. They do deal with world coins, but are mostly known for ancients. In my experience they tend to achieve top dollar at their auctions, though. My suspicion is many US buyers are afraid to purchase at the more numerous European auctions, so they congregate at CNG. That being said, they may not be the best avenue for World or US coins.

For those, I would consider Heritage or Stacks Bowers if your coins are consistently worth more than - say $500.  Those auctions consistently attract high-end buyers and they're well-known for selling US and World coins. Lower end coins, though, they'll either pass on or they'll receive little attention.

If you're coins are truly "better than most anyone could afford" and are consistently over $10k each, then I would consider high-end dealers like NAC. Others here can provide better opinions of those dealers, since they're so costly I've never even purchased from them.

 

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It depends on the type of material, but I've consigned to Stacks Bowers and they were great to work with. They offered me 100% of hammer on a consignment of appx. $5k. They deal with a lot of world and US coins.

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I think time may be your deciding factor here.  If you need cash quickly send to auction, though you will get the least amount for them unless they are rare and or very high grade.  If its just average material auction prices will be much lower.  Also keep in mind unless the coins are really good it will likely take up to and over a year for payment.  Consignment may be an option, but often takes the longest to get your money out.  I guess maybe a third option is to offer them directly for sale to a dealer in one lump.

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Posted (edited)

My only related experience dates back to about seven years ago, when I was unemployed and in dire need of cash. I couldn't wait for auction proceeds, so I directly sold most of my collection of British gold coins, silver crowns, and historical medals -- accumulated over the previous 30 years -- to Stack's Bowers, in several transactions over a number of months. The total retail value of the collection was approximately $100,000, and I was paid a little more than 35 cents on the dollar. (At my request, the person I dealt with at Stack's gave me an individual offer for each coin and medal and added them up, rather than simply making an undivided lump sum offer.) I'm glad I was able to do that, but I wouldn't recommend it as the best way to sell a collection other than in an emergency!

Edited by DonnaML
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You guys are great!

7 hours ago, kirispupis said:
  • Most of your coins are not ancients. I'm assuming they're either US or World. (Mostly US, Canada and UK)
  • They're not very well organized (They are organized)
  • Most are not low end. I'm not sure what you mean by "better coins that most anyone could afford." Do you mean that most of your coins are worth more than $100 a piece, or $1000 a piece? (Most range in the $50 to $500 range)

It sounds like Stacks or Heritage are my best bets. I am prepared to actually end up getting substantially less than they are worth should I sell them myself. Of course!

I remember when I ran my antique shop how people would come in and want to sell me something. They would show me whatever it was they wanted to sell and would tell me it books for X amount in the price guide and that is what they want.

I guess they thought I was some kind of public service and paid book price?

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@thenickelguy, unlike Stack's, I don't believe Heritage is ordinarily willing to buy coins from collectors directly. They'll only take them on consignment for auction. For both companies, the delays inherent in the process of selling a collection via consignment and auction are increased by the fact that both companies send most coins out for slabbing before putting them up for auction (unless the coins aren't even worth the cost of slabbing).

Do you have photos of all your coins, and a written list of them? If not, then you'll probably need to bring them in to be looked at.  

 

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I would consign or sell. Getting paid is not a hurry. I just don't want to leave the burden on my wife or kids to deal with this should I no longer be around. Yeah, they might get overwhelmed and sell to a dealer for far less than an auction would fetch. No, I don't think that they all deserve slabs. Whomever sells them would probably lot some groups together raw. Quite a few are already slabbed. Others might deserve the cost involved. I don't know?

I suppose, I ought to take some pictures and at least make a general list of what there is and contact Stacks. I wish they would come a few hundred miles and pick them up if interested. I swore I'd never go into New Jersey or New York again when I quite driving truck. Been there a hundred or two times.

Donna, you are in NYC I think. I am a country boy. Out here where the deer and cows are. Two different worlds. Maybe 5 or 10 cars drive past my house in a day. (I'd have to ask my dog)

If Heritage slabs every coin for sale, I don't think I like that unless it pays for itself somehow. Then there is the income and taxes involved. ( I bet )

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@thenickelguy, Stack's also slabs most of what they auction, except for low-value coins, which they do often group together in lots in my limited experience. I have a feeling that both of them would be happy to come to you if your collection is worth a million dollars and up! 

I live in rural Manhattan (or as close as it gets here!), and haven't taken any trips since early March 2020, so I can relate. 

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Thanks Donna, I think my best next move is to contact both Heritage and Stacks with a summary of what I have with some images and ask for a phone call back. 

I saw the form on Heritage. I imagine I will send both the same info and see what comes of it.

Now to get to work. I have already started. It was my last experience, going to the recent local coin show that made me realize my dilemma and decided something has to be done. Nothing really grabbed me and it was the first time I came home empty handed from a coin show.

I don't have a million LOL

Thank you all for taking the time to read and post. You were all wonderful help.

 

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Hi Nickelguy!

As someone who worked in a coin buying and selling business for seven years, I can offer some general advice.  To be sure, our store sold mostly Canadian decimals, but we did sell some US and some world coins also--as well as the odd ancient.

When a dealer wants a coin extremely badly, they will pay top dollar for it.  That might be as high as 75% of a coin's expected retail value.  When a dealer has a lot of junk and doesn't want to add to it, they may refuse to buy a coin at all, or they may offer as little as 10%--or even less--for it.  Some dealers will try to pay you an honest amount that is good for both you and them.  Others will try to rip you off.  And still more might find their offers adjusting based on how prosperous they are at that moment, or--wait for it--their mood(!).  Still others will have a sort of preset ratio that they never deviate from, and it might be reasonably fair to you, plus or minus a bit.

For many coins, of course, the value won't be as low as 10%, but it will not be as high as 75% either.  I would say that in most cases 25%-50% is normal due to the dealer's overhead, and the length of time a coin might sit before selling.  

There is also the possibility of selling a coin on consignment  Of course, it might be anywhere from a few days to a few years before the coin sells!

For auctions, this is often where many dealers do some of their buying. Most people's impression of an auction house is when they read about some auction that sells a garage-sale-purchased old master painting for six or seven figures to a private collector.  But most items that auction houses handle are nowhere near that kind of value.  However, if you have a lot of truly collectible coins, then an auction could be a very viable way to get a good amount of money.

When you are starting to shop around for quotes, nothing beats a properly organized Excel sheet.  For Canadian coins, the typical format would be:

-denomination

-year

-variety, if necessary, and

-grade (if known.  If you don't have much experience in grading, or if your coins are not third-party graded, then feel free to leave this blank)

Pictures can help a lot.  Make sure they are reasonably good ones.  Too many people asking for quotes tend to send extremely unattractive pictures that show soils or dirt in the background, or are not cropped at all on a coin that fills only 5% of the surface, or are blurry.  Don't be like them!

Third-party graded modern coins are easier to move than non-graded ones, and the holder does matter.  NGC, PCGS, and ANACS are the best for US coins.  All of the above grade Canadian coins, but Canadians probably tend to prefer ICCS overall. 

It can take time to put together a catalogue like this.  My advice: it is absolutely worth it.  It not only makes it far, far easier (or even just simply possible) for a dealer to decide if your coins are worth their while and how much they can pay you, it also shows that you have at least somewhat of a command of your subject matter, and that does indeed often factor into how much a dealer will pay you for your coins.

Overall, of course, to get the maximum value for your coins, you would sell directly to a private collector, for cash.  This is your ideal scenario.

Other than that, selling to one of the better auction houses (and here the others above are more helpful than I can be), or selling to a dealer on consignment can work.  However, for my part, I would worry too much about sloppy accounting, sticky fingers, or even just forgetfulness to do that if I were selling something--unless I trusted the dealer completely.  (And in fact, I once did sell something--not a coin--on consignment through a local art gallery.  I was pleased with how it worked out, but it did take about four or five months.)

Selling everything to a dealer now would help you to unload everything quickly, but it will get you less than the other methods above would.

So everything here is a tradeoff: are you in a hurry?  Or does getting top dollar matter more than the amount?  Are you willing to put in the time and effort (and guard against security risks!) to sell to a collector directly?  How much effort are you willing to put into cataloguing and even picture-taking?  All these are questions that only you can answer.  It is possible to feel bad (I should have been more patient!) about your choice, but my advice is to really think about it and play around with it in your mind for a while before you decide on any course of action (other than preparatory cataloguing).  And then be at peace with your choice and don't second-guess yourself.

Aside from this, my advice is to choose reputable auction houses (as mentioned by others above), or reputable dealers--and it's even better if you are already familiar with them on a face-to-face basis, because most of them will treat you better when it's your turn to sell to them than someone who has never met you.

A few other comments: selling coins at coin shows can often be a good idea.  The dealers there are competing to buy needed coins, and so that gives you an advantage that going into a private store would not.  It also allows you to gather quotes more quickly (unless you have a mammoth collection, which it sounds like you do!).

If you are sending coins through the mail to a dealer or auction house, consider getting them insured.  You would hate to be out all that money if your package never shows up at its destination!

Finally, you may wish to part with a section of your collection to see how it all feels to you as a seller.  Make this a manageable amount that you can work with.  If it's a success, you can repeat it again--on the same scale, or on a larger one.

Good luck!

 

Edited by NathanB
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As @NathanB mentioned, if you live in the US, then you can go to a coin show in the US, and sell your US coins directly to dealers. I've done that, with several of my US coins. Whenever I go to a local US coin show, there always seem to be some people, selling coins to dealers. For example, I sold a trade dollar, for which I had paid $200 a couple of years earlier, and the dealer paid $100 for it. The other 2 coins were another trade dollar, and a bust half dollar, both of which I had bought 10 years earlier. I don't remember how much I was paid for those 2 coins, but I remember being happy with the amount. Older US coins, from 1900 AD or earlier, that cost $50 and up, seem to be pretty liquid, in the US. But, I'm not an expert.

Edited by sand
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I am re-reading sand and NathanB posts again after I post this here that I copied.

(Don't want to lose my clipboard so I gotta paste right away, I'll be sending  same to Stacks as well.) I see Stacks is also in Philadelphia. That's better for me than NYC.

 

I just wrote Heritage and sent them this as a description. Don't worry kids, I'll still have a very nice collection to enjoy.

I would like to consign for auction. 

US Coins
Some US Large Cents, Two Cents, few Flying Eagle & Indian cents. Some nice Lincoln cents.
Complete V Liberty Nickel Set, half dimes, bust and seated dimes quarters, half dollars, seated dollar. Silver Morgan & Peace Dollars. Barber coins. Very nice Washington Quarters, Walking Liberty and Franklin halves. Some Shield V and Buffalo nickels.
Uncirculated rolls of US coins. MANY high grade Jefferson Nickels. Nice Large and small US currency.
See these here on CCF by TheNickelGuy
http://www.coincommunity.org/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=916
Set of US Military Payment Certificates Series 641

Canadian Colonial Tokens and Pre Confederation copper collection, Large Cent Set, Small Cent Set. Canadian Silver Dollars 1935 and after. Very complete 1922-2022 5 cent collection to date.
UK Gold Sovereigns mintmark set, Royal Mint 5 Pound gold incl. 1999 Diana Gold Five Pound Commemorative Proof & more. 
Other world coins.

About 40 ancient Greek & Roman coins.

Exonumia
Large collection. Will be consigning 95% + of the tokens medals and So-called Dollars shown in this collection on Token Catalog by me, TheNickelGuy. Link: https://tokencatalog.com/display_records.php?view=All%2BListings&ta_country=All%2BCountries&collection=8138&SearchString=&SearchStringEveryWord=&SearchStringAnyWord=&ImagedOnlyOption=&action=DisplayRecords

 

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Thank you NathanB and sand for your well written advice and thoughts. The time you took to do that is quite generous. Everyone who is reading this, thank you too. How kind!

The decision is made, it's as if they are gone already. I won't miss them and I'll still have a nice manageable and valuable collection to enjoy and bequeath.

I just sent the same info I sent to Heritage to Stacks in Philadelphia too.

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Hey! :classic_laugh: Stacks in Philadelphia wants the coins, some for consignment and the rest they'll buy. It's gonna be a long day, I have to drive there. They want me in earlier than noon because of the size of my collection. 

I expect it will be like any other coin shop. Taking the best and paying little for the rest. I bet I come home with some because of lowball offers.

I hope they are fair when buying.

Who knows? Now that I've made the decision, I better come up with a realistic dollar amount and have it in mind that I can be happy with.

It's like losing a friend sorta. But I need to keep things in perspective.

We'll see how Heritage responds.

 

6 hours ago, Severus Alexander said:

But you're keeping most of your ancients, right?! 🥺

I'll keep my very favorites.

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17 minutes ago, thenickelguy said:

Hey! :classic_laugh: Stacks in Philadelphia wants the coins, some for consignment and the rest they'll buy. It's gonna be a long day, I have to drive there. They want me in earlier than noon because of the size of my collection. 

I expect it will be like any other coin shop. Taking the best and paying little for the rest. I bet I come home with some because of lowball offers.

I hope they are fair when buying.

Who knows? Now that I've made the decision, I better come up with a realistic dollar amount and have it in mind that I can be happy with.

It's like losing a friend sorta. But I need to keep things in perspective.

We'll see how Heritage responds.

 

I'll keep my very favorites.

Good luck! I will say, consigning gets you 90-100% of your coins market value based on terms. Selling to a firm for them to resell might net you 50%.
 

Good luck and make sure not to undervalue! A lot of money isn’t always a fair price, even if that lump sum looks nice

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I was a frugal buyer, I would be happy with a good number of consignments and 50% for the rest. My enjoyment was in the collecting over the years and money was secondary. The education I got from it is priceless. Now I'm ankle deep in stuff and won't ever see the bottom of it all again. If I do see the bottom it will be in the back of my car stacked on top.

I'll have no regrets, just some sense of parting. It's OK. Besides, I'll still have a dandy collection I am keeping. It just won't be overwhelming.

Showing off the stuff I'm selling to people would probably be a lot like showing them 30 reels of home movies after awhile.

 

 

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On 8/10/2022 at 9:24 PM, NathanB said:

Finally, you may wish to part with a section of your collection to see how it all feels to you as a seller.  Make this a manageable amount that you can work with.  If it's a success, you can repeat it again--on the same scale, or on a larger one.

This is my suggestion as well.  Test the waters a little before jumping all in. 

E.G., consign a few coins with Stacks, Heritage, Great Collections, etc. 

See how the entire process goes with each, and if it passes muster for you.

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