The Numismatic Navigator: Your Beginner’s Guide to Buying and Selling Old Coins

April 13, 2023

The world of numismatics — coin collecting — is filled with history, culture, and, of course, economic value. Buying and selling old coins can be a rewarding hobby and a lucrative investment. If you’re looking to delve into this exciting realm, our guide will help equip you with the essentials of trading in old coins.

The Allure of Old Coins

Old coins are not just relics of the past; they are tangible pieces of history that offer an insight into different eras. Whether it’s a rare, ancient coin or an out-of-circulation currency, these items may carry significant monetary value and can make excellent additions to any investment portfolio.

Buying Old Coins: Things to Consider

When buying old coins, bear the following in mind:

  1. Budget: Set a budget before starting your collection. Remember, it’s not about quantity; it’s about the value, eye appeal, and rarity of each piece.
  2. Education: Research is critical in numismatics. I’ve told many people … Buy the books before you buy the coins. Knowledge is power! Understand the nuances of coin grading, mint marks, and coin values to make informed decisions.
  3. Authenticity: Always ensure the coin’s authenticity. Consider purchasing from reputable dealers or opting for coins certified by professional grading services like PCGS or NGC.
  4. Storage: Safeguard your collection with proper storage solutions. Coin albums, folders, or a home safe can protect your coins from damage. Never store your collection in a damp place (especially copper) or in an area that has wild temperature fluctuations.

Selling Old Coins: Maximizing Your Return

If you’re planning to sell your old coins, here are some tips to maximize your return:

  1. Grading: If you believe your coins have significant value, get your coins professionally graded to establish their condition and authenticate them, boosting their market value. It is often not worth having a coin “slabbed” if it is worth less than $100.
  2. Pricing: Pricing a coin requires a good understanding of the market. Use price guides, auction sites, or professional appraisers to help determine your coin’s value.
  3. Sell to Trusted Local Dealers: Selling directly to professional coin dealers, either via coin shows, online, or in their brick-and-mortar stores, can be quick and easy.
  4. Sell to Collectors: While it can be a hassle, you can quite often get great returns selling directly to the consumer. This can be done in person or online (Craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, etc.).
  5. Patience: The coin market can fluctuate. If you’re not in a rush, wait for a favorable market condition before selling your coins.


Buying and selling old coins can be a thrilling endeavor, whether pursued as a hobby or an investment. With the right knowledge and resources, you can navigate the numismatic market with confidence and ease. Remember, every coin has a story to tell, and it’s the collector who gets to preserve and profit from that story. Happy coin trading!

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