If you find, inherit, or are given some old coins, especially if there are a lot of them, you will want to find out their value, as metal and collectible or sentimental value.
Bringing the coins to the local coin shop, actually more than one, would be a good idea to get the price they would pay for any of the coins that might be valuable or desirable. Do not clean the coins, as this may change their value significantly.
I would go one more step, if you have the time and desire; Get a magnifying glass and examine the coins; look some up on-line, or buy a coin book to see what you have. The coins are most likely circulated and not in pristine condition (like proof coins) but they still may have value to collectors, if you are looking to sell them.
Resist the temptation to sell to the first person you show them to. Do not sell them by weight. Consider getting flips and an album to preserve and present the seemingly most valuable ones.
My favorite Bonus is the Silver Strike collectible casino coin.
This is one from my collection
They come from Silver Strike slot machines, that look like this:
Most modern casinos don’t have these machines (anymore) because they are mechanical machines, not digital, and the souvenir coins cost more than many casino’s are willing to pay for a “give-a-way”. Paper chits are less expensive, because they have to inventory strikes and reload the machines frequently. The mechanical machines have more moving parts, and tend to need maintenance more often than electronic (digital)machines.
Personally, I love them, they are a cool souvenir! There is even a “Silver Strikers Club” that has meets at the 4Queens Casino on Fremont Street in Las Vegas every year (the 4 Queens has several machines still in service, and mints event and seasonal coins throughout the year). Most of the newer strikes have silver clad center disks (older ones are usually marked .999 silver). the 4Queens also has a lot of colorized strikes, which are visually exciting, even if they don’t have the silver value of the strikes with solid centers. Newer strikes usually are $10 casino tokens, worth $10 at the cashiers cage in the casino. eBay and amazon prices are usually higher, since there is no risk of losing your money when buying a coin directly.
Silver Strike coins from closed, sold, and re-named casinos are available on Ebay and Amazon. It’s an inexpensive way to have a unique and historical souvenir from Old Las Vegas. With higher silver prices and solid Silver centers (.8 of an ounce of silver) these older .999 silver strikes have both the value of the base metal and collectible value!
Sorting through your change is a good practice, because you never know what kind of coins you will find. I make it a habit to put my change on my dresser, and sort through it to find any “treasure”.
I also take the surplus coins to the local coinstar machine, and exchange them for gift cards (no upcharge – so I can feed my Starbucks habit with my excess change)!
While I don’t have any expectation that I will find a rare million dollar coin, I do find many nice pieces for my collection, some of which I give to my grandson. Mostly all are in circulated or worn condition:
Wheat pennies, of all ages
Old nickels, and occasionally old buffalo nickels
solid silver dimes, quarters, and the occasional Half dollar.
assorted foreign coins, of all ages and denominations.
I also look at my bills, as I often find error bills, two dollar bills, and some really old bills.
You also develop a healthy interest in coin collecting, as you learn which coins may have value, and which ones to toss in the coinstar Jar. For example, almost any coin minted in 2009 is worth more than face value, as 2009 was a “low mintage” year – so Coins don’t have to be ancient to have value!
If you are a visual person, take a look at this board on Pinterest, To get an idea of what coins to look for.
Sometimes I wonder what coins have passed through my hands that might have been exciting, had I looked….
If you get some pleasure from it, yes! Otherwise, you need to question why you have a coin collection. Many people inherit coins, save them as souvenirs, or keep them as lucky talismans, or are given them by relatives and friends. If your collection has meaning or sentimental value, then it most definitely will be “worth it” to keep.
Some collections will appreciate in value, especially if you add to them. (like owning every coin in a series, as opposed to owning one or two). Other coins may be common and not have much value-at the present time, but possibly in the future.
If your goal is to profit from your coin collection, that takes some research into the coin values of your coins, and the hope that they may increase in value over time.
Coin collections can also be a part of your retirement plan and your estate, and can be left to your heirs as part of your legacy.
You can get display cases for your coins, and hang them on the wall or on a tabletop.
Coins can be real conversation pieces, so enjoy them (if you have not sold them or used them to buy your hatpin collection or Pez dispensers).
Thanks for the Question!
You can get Coin collecting supplies on eBay, and Amazon!
Coin collectors don’t make money by collecting coins – they make money when selling all or part of their coins; sometimes to profit, sometimes to liquidate part of a collection, sometimes to pay bills.
Collectible coins are an accumulated or acquired asset. You are in a position to make money with coins when you can sell them for more than what you paid.
Most collectors (myself included) have a fondness for coins and collect for fun. If you approach coin collecting as a business, You can make money, but you need to learn the market. Your coin collection becomes inventory, you need to manage it, track your costs, advertise, and buy and sell to build up your business. Some coins may have value but not sell well; a downturn in the market may cause a downturn in your business.
If you are truly interested in coins as a business (and you need to treat it as such) I would suggest educating yourself as to what coins can make a profit, which coins sell quickly vs. sit on a shelf, and what kind of investment you want to make in your coin business.
Making friends with a local coin dealer, and going to shows is also helpful – their experience and advice can be invaluable.
Decide whether you want to be a collector or coin dealer/trader
Treat coin collecting like a business, not a hobby
Learn as much as you can about grading and coin values
Track prices in the coins you want to inventory and sell
Make friends in the business, you will benefit by knowing them
Books that may help:
A Guide to Coin Collecting: A Guide to Buying, Selling and Finding Coins Online (Amazon)
Pleasure & Profit: 100 Lessons for Building and Selling a Collection of Rare Coins (Amazon)
In my opinion, collectible coins and bullion coins (Silver and Gold) can have a place in your retirement strategy, if you want physical wealth that has to be managed. The collectible value is frequently much more than just collecting bullion (bulk precious metal).
For example, I like US Morgan Dollars, each one is one ounce of silver, which is US Currency and (at a minimum) worth the value of the base metal, silver. If you have highly graded coins, they will be worth much more then the value of the the silver. and It can be fun collecting an entire set (years and mintages) of Morgans, or just a few for your modest collection.
Another personal favorite of mine to collect are Silver Strike casino coins, which are a $10 casino chips with a silver center (about .6 ounce of silver). Collecting casino memorabilia is fun to me, since I have been to many of the casinos and enjoy displaying the strikes I have won/collected.
Most casinos are not using Silver Strike slot machines, as they are mechanical machines, making them harder to find. I frequently buy them on ebay and Amazon. You can also visit the Silver Strikers Club, which has the latest news on Silver Strikes.
Some coins have no silver or gold (or any precious metal) in them; They may only have collectible value. Some may have no value at all, making them good for jewelry or as a memento of your visit to a foreign country. If you have some bona fide collectibles, WONDERFUL! If not, well, hold on to them if you enjoy owning them. Your kids may find pleasure in owning Great grandad’s coins from his trip to Havana.
Another favorite of mine is the Silver Eagle (and Gold Eagle) US Coins. Each are 1 ounce of the base metal and are beautifully minted coins! Here again, I frequently buy them on ebay and Amazon. You may also find them at swap meets, flea markets, and yard sales. Coin dealers usually have many in stock, although they buy at wholesale and sell to you at retail. Learn values and grades, and soon you will become a shrewd buyer!
2016 silver and Gold Eagle coins, are available online from eBay and Amazon.
If you enjoy collecting coins, You will need a safe place to keep them. Some people keep them in a safe deposit box at their bank, others in a gun safe, if they have one. Thieves don’t like to run around with hundreds of pounds of metal coins – unless you have rare or extremely valuable coins, crooks may pass them by (or just take the shiny ones).
As a hedge on retirement, coins can be readily converted into cash. You can easily sell most coins to a dealer or on Ebay. Pawn shops will give you a better value on gold coins (usually smelt or base metal value) than on most jewelry. This means you can use your coins like a retirement plan, cashing them out over your anticipated retirement, or saving them as a reserve fund for unexpected bills.
You can give your coins to your heirs while you are still alive, sharing in your enjoyment and teaching the next generation about coin collecting. Why wait until the end? You can even get your children (and Grandchildren) coin collecting sets, and get them in the habit of looking at their pocket change, and putting old and potentially valuable coins in “flips”. I bought my grandson this collecting set on Amazon.
Coins can be part of your retirement strategy. (if you don’t like coins, consider a collectible that you will like).
Consider the value of the coin, Base metal and collectible value.
You will need to track your purchases and store your coins securely. Anticipate taxes.
Coins can be readily exchanged for cash from multiple sources.
You can pass them to your heirs without being deceased (or paying taxes, up to $14,000 in the US). (talk to your accountant).
Most important – you can enjoy them while you are alive!
I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I do – a small portion of my retirement is in coins that I enjoy. some are listed above (Morgans, strikes, Silver Eagles, etc.) and some are pocket change and circulated coins that have a value – above face value – with the possibility of appreciation over time. I have a modest budget for my eclectic coin collection.
If you are seriously thinking about coin collecting as a retirement option, Talk to your financial advisor, attorney, and accountant – and guys like me – to determine if adding coins to your personal financial assets makes sense. Or you can just start collecting pocket change and the occasional coins you like. That is an easy way to start.
Consider all your options, and enjoy your retirement!
With Credit cards and smart phone payments we hardly need to carry cash anymore. While it makes me a bit of a throwback, I will miss the bulge and jingle of change in my pocket. For example, slot machines Have been using paper money, credit cards, for wagering and paper slips for winnings when you cash out. They used to have big trays to catch the players winnings, and the noise of all the coins dropping was like a siren call to all the nearby gamblers. Casinos used to distribute sealed towelettes to slot machine players because of the dirt that would accumulate on their hands from handling coins while playing. And kept coin cups nearby to hold the winnings of the lucky players!
In my man cave, I have always been in the habit of throwing my loose change in a cup on my dresser every evening. every so often I will sort it out, and hunt for coins of value; old silver coins – the odd foreign penny or farthing; sometimes a Euro – so I can celebrate my “find” and put them aside. For the older silver and well preserved coins I have “Coin Flips”, for keeping the coins clean after I wipe them with a cotton sock, er, “coin cleaning rag”.
Collecting coins is almost a passive hobby in this way – seeking finds in pocket change (ergo “Pocket Change Riches”) and finding fun collectible coins in stores, on EBay, or yard sales. We all have need for money, and what painless way to accumulate coins and potential wealth, just by emptying your pockets!
I hope you will join me in this journey of coin collecting and enjoyment as I answer questions from my readers and post them. feel free to comment or share, and I will respond to any requests or queries to the best of my ability.
Welcome and thanks for reading my blog! – Feel free to repost and share!
coin collecting does not have to be fancy. A cardboard box or a cigar box, a magnifying glass, and an old sock (to wipe any fingerprint oil or dirt off the coins) is almost all you need. You can almost feel history when you hold a 100 year old coin in your hands!
The general rule of thumb is to never clean coins. Ever.
This is particularly important with valuable coins, because a speculator might clean the coin to improve it’s worth – but most cleaning actually is visible to coin graders, and such attempts actually reduce the coins value. But there are times to clean a coin, and consider the best way to handle them – look at this from the internet:
If you are considering selling the coins, definitely do not clean them; store them separately and bring them to a dealer for appraisal. If your coins have sentimental value, souvenirs of a trip, or a gift from a friend, preserve them in a holder or frame, and clean them if necessary – the sentiment is worth far more than the coin.
There is nothing wrong with wiping your coins with an athletic sock or polishing cloth, as these do minimal invasive damage to the coin. You may also want to polish a coin that is deteriorating due to corrosion or oxidation – consider it’s value before attempting this, cleaning can actually diminish the collectible value of the coin if done harshly or with strong chemicals.
After you polish your coins, reduce any further damage by keeping them in plastic holders or traditional coin flips.
If you are unsure as to clean your coins or not, bring them to a coin dealer and ask! Most are helpful professionals, and have a wealth of knowledge. You can also get an idea from these sites on coin grading, especially when dealing with a coin you suspect has value:
By Alan Chenkin, Novice coin collector (numismatist) and hobbyist
The bane of any coin collector is the smell that can haunt some of your coins. No one wants smelly coins, but there must be a way to manage it. Not wanting to suggest you Fabreeze your coins (Don’t do it), I did some digging on the web:
There also may be a reaction between the coins and your hands that creates an odor, related to the conductivity of the coins and their PH .
Best suggestions here are to wear gloves, keep the room well ventilated, and wash your hands before and after. In the “Old days” of coin operated slot machines, your hands would be black from the dirt on the coins, and every casino would have a cup of moist hand towelettes for cleaning it off your hands.