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Selling Coins on eBay

How To Get the Most Money for Your Coins on eBay


Selling coins on eBay is not difficult.  Creating an accurate and quality eBay listing for your coins will help you build a good reputation and realize top-dollar for your coins.  If done well, you will get more money for your coins on eBay than if you sell them at the local coin store.

Getting Started Selling Coins on eBay

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Selling any item on eBay is as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Set up an eBay account
  2. Set up a PayPal account to receive payments
  3. Create your eBay listings

Fellow About.com Guides Aron Hsiao and Paul Gil have created these first-rate articles that will guide you through the details on how to become an eBay seller and PayPal member, while I guide you through the specifics of selling coins on eBay so you get the most money for your coins. If you never sold on eBay before, start by selling low value coins first before you start selling your higher value coins.

Know What Coins You Are Selling

First and foremost, you need to identify the coin you are going to sell and get an approximate value of the coin's wholesale price. The Blue Book and Coin Dealer Newsletter (aka, The Gray Sheet) give average prices that dealers are paying for U.S. coins. Wholesale prices are usually 50% - 70% of what is listed in the retail price guides such as the Red Book, and Coin Digest.

Secondly, in order to determine the correct value of your coin, you must accurately grade it. You can use one of the grading guides below or use a printed grading guidebook to accurately grade your coin. Do not over-grade your coin. If potential buyers believe that the coin is over graded, they will shy away from bidding which will result in a lower final price.

Detailed and Honest Descriptions

Look at the coin carefully and verbally describe the condition of the coin in your listing. If there are noticeable scratches, dents, surface damage or any other distracting characteristics, describing them accurately and honestly. This will serve you in the long-run because buyers will know exactly what to expect when they receive their coin and then they will leave you positive feedback. Use descriptions like the following:

  • Small scratch by Lincoln's cheek
  • Dark toning over the entire reverse
  • Brilliant surfaces and great eye appeal
  • Corrosion damage on about a third of the obverse
  • Small hole about six o'clock position

Quality Photos of Your Coins

Nothing else leads to getting top-dollar for your coins more than quality and accurate photographs. Invest in a decent quality digital camera and learn how to photograph coins well. Poor quality photographs that are out of focus and scans that do not capture the true features of the coin will result in less than maximum bids on your coins. If you are serious about selling coins on eBay, then investing in a quality camera and taking the time to learn how to use it, will pay for itself many times over. If you don't have a digital camera, or the one you have cannot do close-up photography, your second best option is to use a color scanner.

eBay Auction vs. Buy It Now

There are two ways to list items on eBay: auction style and "Buy It Now." Auction style listings allow sellers to set a beginning minimum bid and then allows potential buyers to bid on your items for up to 10 days. When the end of the auction is reached, you are obligated to sell the coin to the winning bidder. "Buy It Now" listings allow you to list your coins indefinitely with a set price that a buyer will immediately pay if they want to purchase your coin. In my experience, auction style listings have achieved better results than "Buy It Now" listings.

Shipping Cost

In order to maximize the number of bids on your coins, offer "Free Shipping" on low value coins (less than $10-$20). For intermediate priced coins ($20-$200), a reasonable shipping fee that includes delivery confirmation and insurance should be added. For coins priced over $200, you should ship them via insured registered mail with a shipping charge that accurately reflects the additional costs.

Special Considerations for Shipping Coins

Although coins are made out of metal, their surfaces can be damaged during shipping. To adequately protect the coins during shipping, place the coin in a non-PVC coin flip or securely mounted in a 2 x 2 cardboard holder. Use a padded envelope for an additional layer of protection. Coin flips and cardboard holders can be purchased online or at your local coin dealer.

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