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Top 5 Things NOT to Do Before Bringing Your Coins to a Dealer

Things not to do to coins

In our previous blogs we focused on how to organize your coins when selling to a dealer.   We thought it would be fun to share what not to do as well.

Here’s our list.

1.  The most important things NOT to do is to clean your coins

Cleaning rare numismatic coins will significantly reduce their value – plain and simple.  Although you don’t lose much by cleaning a coin which derives value only from its silver content, it’s not worth the risk.

2.  Don’t sort your coins by date

You might be tempted to organize your coins by individual date.  In the end, it’s not worth the effort.  People have brought us their coins carefully arranged by date and by decade and placed in separate Ziploc bags, paper envelopes, and coin tubes. 

Here’s a tip – when we appraise a collection the first thing we do is separate coins by their composition (e.g. copper, nickel, silver or gold).  If possible, organizing your collection into these groups will be a great help:

Gold coins

90% silver dollars (1878 through 1935)

90% silver dimes, quarter, and half dollars (1892 through 1964)

40% silver JFK half dollars (1965 through 1970)

Lincoln Wheat Cents (1909 through 1958)

Buffalo Nickels (1913 through 1938)

Jefferson Nickels (1938 and later)

All other obsolete U.S. type coins

U.S. Mint proof and uncirculated sets

U.S. Mint commemorative sets

Currency and paper money

Foreign coins

3.  Don’t wrap your coins

We recently appraised a collection for a customer who separated his coins by date and then taped them together in little packets.  Taking them apart was a nuisance and a total waste of his time and ours.  Plastic wrap and aluminum foil are equally troublesome.  Bottom line, it is best not to wrap your coins.

4.  Don’t itemize your coins in a spreadsheet or text document

If you make a list, more than likely, we won’t be able to use it.  We need to see your coins in order to judge their condition and value.  No matter how thorough or complete your list may be, we can evaluate your collection faster by going through the coins rather than from your list.  So before you decide to go through the time and effort to make a list, please understand that while a list may be useful to you, it won’t be to us.  Besides, as part of our appraisal process we prepare a written list for you.

5.  Don’t remove coins from an album that was assembled by a collector

Coins that were selected and placed in an album by a collector have a much greater chance of being worth more than their metal value.  It is much easier for us to search for key or rare dates in an album than from a heap of coins.  As a result, if your coins are already in a book, it is best to keep them intact until we can review them.

There you have it.  Five things NOT to do to your coins before bringing your collection to a dealer for an appraisal. 

For further information, take a look at our illustrated examples of cleaned coins and our guidelines for organizing your silver coins.


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