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Coins for Sale

Updated on November 26, 2010

I had the painful pleasure of selling my father’s coin collection for my mother who needed some additional income.  Of course his collection was sold back several months ago thus I’m not soliciting the sale of his coins.  What I would like to pass on is my experience of selling coins and how it affected my overall strategy of coin collecting.

My father grew up in the 1920’s.  He was an avid coin collector since he was a small child and had access to many coins in circulation that dated back into the late 1870’s.  But because of the Great Depression, coins that rare and very valuable, were often recirculated to put food on the table.


What coins survived were complete Barber and Mercury Dime sets; Barber, Standing Liberty and Washing Quarter sets.  Unfortunately, many of the half and silver dollars were more valuable at the time and used for daily expenses.

When he married my mother in the 1950’s, the coin collecting subsided but he continued by purchasing uncirculated proof and mint sets directly from the US Mint.  Eventually, the silver content was eliminated from the currency in 1965.  Perhaps this is when he lost interest in collecting coins since the valuable coins were rapidly being pulled out of circulation due to the devaluation of our currency.

Yet, he still managed a grin when he found that special 1939 Jefferson Nickel and you’d think he struck gold when he found a quarter minted before 1965.

But this brings me back to my original point of selling those little gems many years after his passing.  Like him – and I’m sure that you do likewise – pull out those Wheat-Backed Pennies, old nickels and set them aside thinking that they’re going to be valuable someday.  I have bags of those things, and basically they are baggage taking space in a drawer.

Unless the coin you so happily just found is a key date, you will not be able to sell it because nobody wants it.  It is better to spend it today before it loses its value due to inflation.

I’m trying not to be a pessimist, but the reality of coin collecting today is that your need to collect uncirculated pre-1965 silver coins.  That seems to be the sweet spot that collectors actively buy.  The common dates that are mass produced in billions have little value.   But who knows, someday when your children or grand children are selling your coins, your Washington 50 States Quarters collection just might be worth something.


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