Is it better to sell my coins online or in person?

Is it better to sell my coins online or in person?

Sep 1st, 2022 · 4 min read

When you’re trying to get the best price for your coin collection, many factors come into play. Doing your homework is crucial but do too much research – especially on the web – and you’ll get wildly different valuations for your coins. Is that a fair price for gold? What about silver coins or gold coins? And what actually is cryptocurrency? It could all just leave you confused and put you right back where you started.

Let’s not pretend that selling is always painless and will inevitably end in you getting a fair price. If only life were that easy. There are many sharks out there and many horror stories involving scandalously low valuations and high-pressure dealers pushing bewildered coin sellers to sign on the dotted line, parting with their items for a fraction of their value.

The fundamental issue most sellers face is that 95% of people don’t know a great deal about their coin collection. Maybe they’ve inherited a coin collection or made a purchase of some potentially rare coins at a yard sale, hoping they might be worth something or appreciated in an exchange with someone else.

That’s why building up trust in a coin appraiser/buyer is such a critical point of order on your coin-selling journey. If you feel confident that you’ve got a sound valuation and choice about your next step, then any stress you feel about selling your coins quickly disappears.

People usually sell their coins either after a coin appraisal. They can sell their coins on an online site or in person. There are pros and cons to both methods, depending on your preferred way of doing things.


Selling coins in person

Some people prefer to perform transactions face to face, and this can be more convenient, particularly with large coin collections. Sellers may feel it’s a good way to develop mutual trust with a potential buyer, whether that’s the owner of a coin shop or a private coin collector. But the reality for many is that it can often feel like a more pressured sale and difficult to back out of.

You can take your collection to a coin shop or a dealer’s office, where they will carry out an appraisal of your coin collection, or they might come to your house to appraise your coins – be mindful that some dealers who offer this will expect you to foot their travel costs. Sometimes it is possible for coin appraisals and deals to take place on neutral territory, removing a perceived home ground ‘advantage’ from both parties.

A coin buyer then inspects the coins and should provide a detailed valuation, detailing the quality of your coin collection and giving reasonable and verifiable justification for the offer made. If the seller accepts the offer, arrangements are then made for payment.

With some in-person appraisals, this process can take many weeks and months before the money is seen in your bank account, so be sure to check in advance how quickly you can expect to be paid. With Coinfully, accepted offers are paid immediately.

(You can read more about Coinfully’s no-pressure, completely free, in-person coin appraisal service here.)

For those that prefer to go down the in-person route of selling coins, meeting a coin dealer in person allows the seller to discover more about their expertise and ask them any questions they may have about their collection and its provenance. Building up that face-to-face trust can be essential when you have a large coin collection to sell – as it allows sellers to forge a relationship with coin traders before making any decisions to sell. That’s why Coinfully now offers an At-Home Coin Appraisal service, as the hassle and risks involved in transporting a large coin collection can be considerable.


Should I sell my coins at an auction or to a coin shop?

Selling coins at coin auctions can put your coin collection in front of a wider audience than you would typically get at your local coin shop. It also potentially allows for the possibility of a bidding war and ultimately higher prices, which can be tempting.

But before you head down either of these routes, there are more potential drawbacks than advantages when it comes to selling coins in person:

  • Transportation – moving coins from location to location is risky and an easy way to damage them – therefore knocking money off the value of your coins. The further you travel with your coin collection, the higher the risk of devaluing your coins. Shipping can also be expensive.
  • Fees – coin dealers with shops and coin auction houses have overhead costs, and they need to make a profit somehow – both of these will be factored into any final offer to you and the profits you receive from the sale of your coin collection. You can expect to receive anything up to 40% less than true market value from coin shops and coin auctions – especially once commission has been taken out.
  • Coin shows – while these events can be great for meeting enthusiasts and buyers, it’s much harder to get an accurate appraisal of your collection at a coin fair because dealers won’t necessarily have the opportunity to thoroughly research the coins while you’re there.
  • Time – selling coins face-to-face can be a long, drawn out process with some coin traders. Sometimes the process from appraisal to sealing the deal can take weeks, if not months. Getting your coins to the dealer, waiting for an appraisal, waiting for your payment to come through – it all takes time. We recognised this as a major concern for a lot of people selling a coin collection, which is why we offer a rapid turnaround from appraisal to getting paid. In most cases with our customers, it is immediate.

And there are other, more obvious types of problem when it comes to selling in-person. An unscrupulous dealer will spot someone who knows nothing about the coins they have in their possession a mile off. A nervous seller is a prime target for a gutter offer that sounds good on paper and leaves the dealer with a fast, fat profit.

Buyers are also in a much better place to heap pressure on sellers if they have them in the room with them. Typically, a buyer will make a quick, extremely low offer at the outset and then up it by a few dollars if you argue. This lines their pocket and leaves the seller thinking they’ve pushed the price up, so haven’t done too badly from the deal.


Not all face-to-face coin deals go south.

There are, of course, plenty of reputable, knowledgeable, decent coin traders and online coin buyers out there who will be excited by your collection and happy to give you a fair price. But getting a no obligation appraisal from an online dealer like Coinfully is a great first step to getting all the information you need without any of the risk, pressure or awkwardness of the situation if you don’t feel ready to move forward immediately.  Check out Coinfully’s customer reviews on TrustPilot for examples of what relaxed, well-informed clients sound like.


Selling coins online

For many, selling coins online can feel like a much easier way to sell a coin collection. The most obvious way to do this is through an online auction platform like eBay and there are thousands of other websites and online buyers offering a similar service.

While coin sellers and online coin dealers can potentially attract bids from a wider pool of coin collectors and enthusiasts through online auctions, they do, however, snaffle up a considerable amount of your credit in commission, so be sure to do your homework here first to avoid a negative experience. Extra costs like a listing fee might also apply.

At Coinfully, we have designed our coin collection appraisal process to be as simple and stress-free as possible for people. It also offers coin sellers complete transparency. We simply ask people to get in touch for an initial discussion so we can learn more about your coins.

In some cases, we might need a little more information about your coin collection but the process is always kept clear, straightforward and transparent. We give you all the information you need about your coins, so you understand what they’re worth at today’s market rate and why, so you feel empowered to make the right decision for you and your family going forward.

If you make an offer for your coins and you accept that offer, you’ll then be asked to send your coins to us (we include top-notch insurance, by the way, to make sure your collection is fully protected in transit). Once we receive your coin collection package at Coinfully HQ, our team of numismatists confirm everything and offer you a top-of-market cash price for your valuable coins, which, if you accept, is usually in your bank account on the same day.


The Coinfully approach to buying coins

At Coinfully, we don’t put any pressure on sellers during the sale. Customers trust us because of our open approach and our advice – we make every part of the pricing process transparent so you can see exactly how and why we arrived at the valuation we give you.

We’ll tell you all we can about your collection’s history, its condition, the quality of each piece and the individual coin values. We’ll weigh and grade your coins – all the steps you’d expect from the experts.

We don’t lure people in with a super-high estimate that turns into a lowball offer. We know our marketplace and we’re honest with you from the start. Our company is not about buying everything that comes in – on many occasions, we have turned down an offer to buy a collection because it has been wrongly valued by someone else, falsely raising hopes and expectations for the seller.


Advantages of an online coin appraisal service

A great advantage of an online business like Coinfully is that we have buyers all around the world, which, along with our low overheads, enables us to make a market-leading offer.

All of this means you get the most options, best value and optimal result for your coin collection – without ever leaving your armchair. There’s no need to drive miles to a shop in the middle of nowhere only to get blindsided by a knee-high offer that even a basic internet search would reveal as insulting.

Call our coin experts today or schedule a call for a no-obligation chat, and let’s see if we can help you get the best deal possible for your precious coin collection.

Wyatt McDonald President & Co-Founder of Coinfully. A student of numismatics and trained in the ANA Seminar in Denver, Wyatt is the face of Coinfully and a true industry expert. After spending a decade buying coins over the counter at a coin shop, he knew there had to be a better way, for everyone involved.

Get an Appraisal

Think you’re onto something big with your collection? Let’s talk…

401 Hawthorne Ln, Ste 110-323 - Charlotte, NC 28204

Image of appraised coins on a table

Don’t put in all the work for an in-person appraisal just to be offered pennies on the dollar.