I inherited a collection of coins

My father has been involved in numismatics for over 30 years and has amassed an impressive collection of coins. Unfortunately, he died without leaving a will and did not have time to make an inventory or register of his collection.

Six months later, our mother, me and brother will inherit. Mom and I would like to keep the collection, but my brother wants to sell it and get money.

Tell me, please, how to evaluate the collection, so as not to run into those who want to profit from the coins? How to write a description? And is there a legally competent way to preserve the collection – maybe give a brother’s share in money? What if, after the assessment and upon entering into the inheritance, he wants to pick up the most expensive and rare copies?

You need to appraise the collection with some appraisers to understand its approximate value.

Fast and free – the method of “Imitation of the sale”

The fastest way to appreciate your collection is to go to a store that sells and buys coins. This may be an ordinary antique shop, but it is better to contact a specialized numismatic store. For example, in Moscow it is “Numismatist Club”, “Monotonic”, in St. Petersburg – “Kongos”, “Coins-PS”, “Numismatic”.  Your request will not surprise anyone: in such stores this is a frequent case. Sometimes a specialist will come to your home for evaluation, sometimes the collection will need to be brought to the store – as agreed.

Before the evaluation procedure, take a photo of the coins in advance. This is necessary so as not to lose or confuse anything when shifting from place to place. Then check the quantity. If there are a lot of coins and they are all in albums, then the easiest way is to photograph the album sheets along with the coins.

How much are the coins in your wallet

Most likely, the appraiser will give you a price below the market price in order to be able to resell the coins at a profit later. Discount is usually not less than 30-40%. The specialist reports the minimum value, because he cannot always quickly assess the degree of safety of all coins, defects, sale prospects, etc. He takes risks, insuring himself by underestimating the price.

Sometimes you can try to evaluate even on the Internet using a photo of a coin. Explore online auctions for collectors: Find coins, Taritatu’s.

I recommend doing this evaluation procedure 2-3 times with different raters. One will say “50 thousand for everything!”, the second will promise 80 thousand, and the third – 120 thousand. This means that the real market price of the collection is most likely not lower than 150-180 thousand.

More objectively and for a fee – the “Specialized assessment” method

If you want to evaluate the collection more objectively, you can conduct an independent assessment.

The same numismatic stores sometimes offer an independent assessment as a separate paid service.

You can also look at a list of appraisal companies in your city and find out who will take on such a task.The list is focused, of course, on real estate valuation, but no one will hurt to clarify whether they will take on an atypical request. Many appraisers may refuse, as they only work with real estate, so the search can take some time.

How to make money on coins from precious metals

Tell the appraiser that you do not plan to sell the collection and that you are interested in an independent examination and market value. You can refer, for example, to the fact that you want to insure a collection, and the insurance company required an appraisal report for this.

You can study the theory and evaluate the collection of coins yourself.

For domestic coins, the best option is the Find-coins and Taritatu’s sites mentioned above. I already wrote more about how to use them in another article T-Shh. Select the section with market prices, enter the name of your coin and see the latest transaction prices for it. Think of these numbers not as a hard floor price, but rather as a guideline.

With foreign coins it is more difficult. You can view several sites of numismatic online stores: “Numismatist Club”, “Unicoi” and others. Look for coins in the sale that match yours and fix the offered prices.

I want to sell the land, but I do not know for how much

Use several tricks to get an estimate. Get 2-3 free estimates from potential buyers and additionally look on the Internet for the cost of at least a part of the coins.

Be aware that the amount received is very approximate and most likely underestimated.  In addition, you are still unlikely to be able to sell the collection at maximum prices.

Don’t exaggerate the value of your collection. The evaluator will not be impressed, and the illusions are useless to you. For example, a worn copper penny from the time of Nicholas II often costs about a hundred rubles, although it is more than a hundred years old.