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Things I learned about selling a collection

6 posts in this topic

The do's and don'ts!


I finished selling the vast portion of my collection today. Every collector (or their heirs) will probably face this some day, so I thought I'd share my experience and ask others to chime in with their thoughts.


The Marketplace Board:

This went quite well and many collectors here on the registry bought various pieces amounting to about 40% of what I had to sell. This was probably the most positive experience, as I've met MANY nice people there during this process. The prices they paid were very fair, all were very professional and you gain some comfort knowing that the coins that you cherished for all these years go directly to another collector who will enjoy them as much as you did. They know good stuff won't be given away and are very reasonable in their pricing. No fees involved.



This was overall the worst experience. The morgan dollar auction was OK, but high end type pieces were a disappointment. I would have been better off going to my local dealer. They would have paid me a little more, with no fees or shipping costs. Ebay now charges 6% on coins (it used to be 9%), and roughly 2.9% for paypal payments. About 30% of my collection was sold through Ebay. I probably won't use them again.


Local dealer:

The other 30% was sold to a local dealer over the past 2 days at the Carson City Coin Show. The transaction was fairly quick and professional, taking only about an hour and a half. He bought everything I had left, at a discount, yes, but for the time, fees and shipping that would have been incurred on Ebay, it was worth it. He bought 2 of my highest end pieces at $600 over what I paid for them through "the major auction house". The "major auction house" (that I bought the coins through), would have only charged me 17.5% of the final price, if I went through them. Looking at the price the dealer paid, I would have been out about 20% on the price the dealer paid me and it would have taken months, had I gone through the auction house.


So there you have it. I'll be paying off the ranch this week with the proceeds. Hawdilly!


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I'm glad to have been a part of your best experience and I am entirely happy with the five coins I bought from you. Interestingly, my experience with E-Bay matches yours. I still scratch my head as to how anyone can make money through that venue. It must be bulk sales and negotiated rates. I am happy that things have worked out so well for you and that you are paying off the ranch! All the best!


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Thank you for sharing your experiences. I think postings of such candor really help educate the general population. On my end, I am a young collector who is fascinated by the collecting and numismatic aspect of the hobby. Ironically I did not anticipate this becoming an investment. 2.5 years later, I am now approaching the 6 figure cost basis on my inventory. That being said I am often puzzled and perplexed as what should be the correct way to divest my collections? This could be for any reason. Life throws hardballs from time to time. Or likewise maybe you just want to sell at retirement!. As is, I have no desire to sell at present time but the Eagle Scout in me wants to "Be Prepared" and get educated on who (the name, the firm, the person out there?) that is going to give me the best value for my collection.


My experiences on eBay are similar to yours. Between the listing, eBay and PayPal fees, your lucky to achieve cost basis at times. You are typically underwater especially with short term holds. I just won my first Heritage Auction the other night and I really think the "buyers premium" disadvantages us as buyers. This is where eBay might "win" but only from a buyer's standpoint. HA.com no doubt was slower in their turnaround of a coin from auction close to you door step but in their defense, the inventory tends to be better than some of the eBay listings. I struggle with properly valuing my coins. I feel like buying a coin below the NGC stated value is a "win" of sorts but I am kidding myself. Likewise selling it at that value is difficult especially knowing you purchased the coin originally below NGC (numismedia) value.


I have a massive spreadsheet that I track my registry items in and it mirrors the Collection Manager. It tells me what % above my cost basis my collections are currently worth but "worth" is a loose term. It is currently defined by values as published with the Registry. My current buying and selling experiences tips the hat to suggest that the published values are far removed from reality and that any true expedited divestment of a collection will come at a significant loss especially if the coins were held for a short term and did not have time to appreciate.


The reality is when I do sell, it would be nice to have a quick transaction. I envision showing up with my NGC storage containers of slabs in exchange for a check. I truly want to deal with one person that is going to give me a fair price for everything all at once and not dissect my inventory. Is there a seller's reference guide out there? Or is it all a big secret and everyone just wants to keep it that way? From my young vantage point, the system is not very transparent and there is room for error with individual collectors like myself. It is that error that may keep things ambiguous. Knowing the reputable folks out there is key and it appears that this information may simply be a word of mouth institution that one deciphers with time.

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Nice to hear you're paying off the ranch with the proceeds from your collection. My only regret about my purchases from your collection is that my budget wouldn't allow me to buy more.


Overall, the Collector's Society has been my best resource for buying and selling in the past year. I scour eBay regularly, but for the most part the coins listed there are overpriced (either high Buy It Now prices or auctons with starting prices higher than the coin is worth), poorly described and/or photographed, if not outright misrepresented. I still occasionally find something worthwhile there, but I've had none of these issues with CS members.


If and when I decide to sell my collection, the Society will get the first shot at it.

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I purchased a coin from you as well on EBAY. There was no problem and it was a very nice coin. I have sold several hundred items over EBAY in the last few years from coins to pottery to arrow heads and in general I've had a very positive experience. EBAY provides a discount for higher volume sellers and is very good at solving problems. I would suggest EBAY is a better place to sell items valued $300 or less, That said I have sold a coin for over $3,000 on EBAY with no problems. The trick is to know what you item will sell for and what EBAY charges. Also don't list you item below the price you are willing to sell it for and always add a higher BUY-IT-NOW price. You'd be surprised how many people go for it. With very expensive coins I would suggest working a deal with HERITAGE as they can attract top dollar or working directly with buyers to save on commission fees.


That said, I am always interested in buying high quality NGC certified U.S. Coins from 1860-1964. Send me a note if you have something you'd like to sell fast. I will make you a reasonable offer.









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