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Selling collections vice individual coins...what's your opinon?

7 posts in this topic

I'm new at this, having just inherited my dad's morgan dollar collection. None are slabbed. It's about 70% complete (complete meaning all dates, all mints, all varieties per the Morgan Dollar Red Book). Includes some key coins, including 1893-S VF-20/F-12, 1889-CC VF-30, 1890-S MS-65). Average grade I would say is MS-60 (my dad did the grading and by all accounts was good at it,so I trust his judgement).


If I were to sell the coins today, would I be better served selling the collection? Or by individual coin? Or should I work on completing the collection and then selling as a completer set sometime in the future? And how would I sell a collection in the first place? I don't see "collections" listed on e-bay, so I'm guessing I'd take it to a dealer?

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A complete proof set shows a PCGS price of $60,675 in MS-60. You said "average MS-60", so if you have a few key dates in higher grades (64-65) they could individually be worth more than $60K. Maybe all the keydates are lower grades?? You will have to at least investigate them all individually. To be comfortable, you will need to itemize with grades and value (per your dad's grading). Include greysheet prices to get reasonable chance of what you can expect. From dealer, you'll get less and from collectors you may average greysheet (depending on how long you want to work it).. On individual coins, there is no better counsel than you'll get here if you post good pictures.


Do not clean or handle with fingers.


Best of luck and keep us posted.



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I'm sorry to hear of your loss.


Welcome to the boards, and I must tell you that there is considerable knowledge you must somehow get a grasp of before you proceed with any course of action.


To begin with, your father may have been a terrific grader, or he may not have been. That is not a slam, that is a reality for many collections in that many "good graders" have quite a few cleaned or otherwise altered coins in their collection. A cleaned coin will have its value reduced dramatically. Also, since these are all raw, there is the real possibility of added mintmarks on coins such as the 1893-S, which is known for having quite a few altered coins.


What you should do with the coins depends on your motivation. I would not continue the set just so that it will eventually be complete since this is a long series and you will gain virtually nothing by putting your money "on hold" while you complete the set. Additionally, I would not simply bring the coins to a dealer and ask what they are worth because you may not get a truthful answer and might end up leaving substantial money on the table.


I don't know where you are located, but you might want to take the collection to several dealers and be prepared to pay for a written appraisal as to value and condition as well as what each dealer would pay for the collection. Tell each dealer what you have and get the fee quoted before any work begins. You should also let each dealer know that you will be getting several appraisals of value and bid for purchase.


Prior to this you would want to purchase a copy of the Red Book, which is the most common coin book out there, is published every year and is something that your father likely had at least one copy of in his possessions. You can buy this at any major chain book seller or any coin shop, most libraries will have a copy, too. It will give the basics of grading Morgan dollars and will give basic prices for the coins. For the small investment in time (a few hours) and money ($15) you can obtain a rough approximation of the value of the coins.


If you decide to sell the coins yourself then ebay is a terrific place. I would list the more valuable coins individually and then sell the common coins, which are going to be the bulk of the collection, in either a few lots or directly to a local dealer.


If you have other questions please feel free to ask, also, please list what coins you have so that we have a better idea of the breadth of coins, and if you are in New England let me know because I may be able to help you directly. Good luck.

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I would only add that you shouldn't be in a hurry to sell off these coins. Make sure you've got a good understanding of what you've got and what they're worth before you sell, so that you can get a fair price. Better yet, keep them and learn about a wonderful hobby - you've probably got a better start than many of us here did - and teach your own sons/daughters about the collection so that in turn, they will become collectors. Imagine passing this collection down through the generations of your family. I can't imagine your father would have been unhappy to imagine his collection enjoyed in the hands of future generations of his family - kind of beautiful in a way.

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Thanks for all the good advice...I'm anxious to learn.


Regis, thanks for responding so quickly. Per my dad's grading, the collection is not complete at MS-60...The rare coins like the 1893-S are graded VF or F. Several coins are VG or G in grade. I've got the Red Book and using a web site (I think it was associated with PCGS), my take is its worth about $15K.


TomB, thanks for the helpful advice. I'm located in Northern Virginia....looking in the yellow pages, looks like quite a few coin dealers that I could get bids from. I've done some homework already using a Red Book and have a spreadsheet with values, grades, etc., listed. Is it kosher to throw a pretty extensive list on this board? I could do it easy enough, but thought it'd be too much to expect folks to take a look at. Instead I was thinking about just putting up pix of a couple of the rarer coins for advice.


Pendragon, thanks for your advice as well. My dad got hooked on coins while operating a vending machine business early in his life. He collected both US and world coins his whole life and could've opened a store by the end of his life (I don't think I'm exagerating to say he had a half-ton of coins, silver bars, etc., in a huge safe in his garage...almost all graded and cataloged.) I was content with just getting the Morgans. The rest went to my siblings. While I've never collected anything in my life, some of my dad's enthusiasm wore off on me, so I'm not entirely set on selling.

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I agree with Pendragon, i'll pass my collection down and if my kids sell my Morgans, i'm gonna come back and haunt em! cool.gif


It probably took your Dad many years and many sacrifices to build his collection, take your time and think about it, if it's a matter of money, sell as few as you have to, but keep as many as possible.








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While a bulk of the collection most likely is common and worth little, I would suggest that the scarcer and key date coins be segregated and sent into NGC for grading and authentication. This will provide security both for your own heirs or to the buyer if you decided to sell them. This will also protect you from getting "taken".


This way there will be no debate as to the grade or authenticity of the coins.


You can find out how to submit the coins on NGC's home page.


p.s. Even if the coins are cleaned or otherwise abused (NGC will not grade these), then NGC's sister company NCS will still encapsulate the coins as authentic with a net grade.

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