Hidden Treasures: Organizing And Inventorying A Coin Collection For Sale

Do you have a large coin collection that you are looking to sell? Selling a coin collection can be a difficult task, especially if the collection was inherited or gifted and you are unsure of the value, types, or even quantity of coins that you have on your hands. Many people in this situation opt to simply bundle up all the coins and bring them to a local dealer or pawn ship. However, but if you take this route, you may just be making life difficult on yourself and on the poor dealer that will have to sort through the collection.

If you are committed to selling your coin collection, potentially one of the best things that you can do is to properly organize and inventory the collection. This can seem like an overwhelming undertaking if a very large coin collection has found its way into your lap, but taking the time to do it properly may return dividends. Follow these helpful tips to make the process a little more manageable.

Gather and Evaluate 

Before beginning, make sure that you have all of the coins from the collection in one place. This is important because it allows you to evaluate the likelihood of you are dealing with a valuable collection of rare coins or simply a large number of common ones. While you are gathering everything up, take the time to separate loose coins or coins that have been jumbled together into bags or tubes from the coins that have been properly organized into holders, books, or plastic pages.

If the majority of the collection seems like a jumbled mess, then it is unlikely that you are dealing with coins that were accumulated by a serious collector. It may still be worthwhile to continue with your inventorying, but it less likely that most of the coins will be worth anything.

Note that you should not clean the coins at any point during this process. You can potentially damage coins if you aren't sure what you are doing, and coin dealers generally will reduce their offers just because a coin is damaged.

Separate and Research

Once you have all of your coins together, you can begin to separate them into groups that will make it easier for you to conduct a detailed inventory and ultimately research their value. There is no perfect solution for organizing coins and you should choose a method that seems logical to you. Grouping by age and country of origin is a good place to start, but if a different method seems appropriate for your collection then go ahead and use it. The goal is to be able to easily locate coins of a particular type.

Once you have your collection organized, it is time to start researching. The internet is a useful resource, and sites such as PCGS CoinFacts can help you to determine the worth of individual coins. Looking up individual coins can be tedious, but if you took the time to organize your coins into convenient groups it should be a relatively easy task. Staying organized is important here, and it is a smart idea to keep a running spreadsheet of your coins and values as you conduct your research.

Grade and Value

Finally, separate out any coins that you have determined may be especially valuable. Very rare coins should be professionally graded so that you are guaranteed to get the best price possible. While it may not make sense to attempt to individually sell most of a collection on your own, very valuable coins may be worth selling separately through online auction sites or to local dealers.

The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation is an example of a company that can grade your coins for you. Note that there is generally a hefty fee associated with coin grading, so it is rarely worth it for coins that you expect to be valued at less than several hundred dollars. This expense is exactly why it is so important to organize and identify valuable coins.