How to Sell Your Silver Coins
Selling your silver coins—in other words, finding someone to buy them—is actually quite easy! Silver bullion is a highly liquid asset, which is one of the key benefits of owning precious metals.
Silver coins functioned as everyday money for hundreds of years
Above all else, you’ll want to find a reputable coin dealer.
There are several reasons a bona fide coin dealer will pay you a fair price and provide a better selling experience. This holds true whether you sell in person or over the internet.
This guide will also go over your other options, such as selling gold and selling silver coins directly to collectors.
What Type of Silver Do You Have?
Before you can sell your silver, you need to know what type of silver you have. Silver is sold according to its silver content. An item's silver content is its weight multiplied by its purity. The silver content times the spot price for silver gives you the melt value of the coin or bar.
Modern silver bullion bars and bullion coins such as the American Silver Eagle are made of pure silver. Their silver content is equal to their weight. Older silver coins that were used as money will not be made from pure silver.
Dimes, quarters and half dollars minted in the United States in 1964 or earlier have 90% silver purity. 90% of their weight is their silver content. These "junk silver" coins are some of the more common types of older silver. Some examples of 90% U.S. silver coins are:
- Silver Roosevelt Dimes
- Silver Standing Liberty Quarters
- Silver Washington Quarters
- Silver Walking Liberty Half Dollars
- Silver Franklin Half Dollars
- Silver Kennedy Half Dollars (1964 only)
Sterling silver coins and bars have 92.5% of their weight in silver content. Sterling silver was widely used in the 1970s and 1980s for commemorative items.
Collectible (Numismatic) Coins
People with rare and collectible coins are in a different situation than those looking to buy or sell bullion. A collectible, or numismatic, coin has a fair market value greater than spot price. (Note that medallions and silver "art" bars produced by private companies are not considered numismatic items.)
The best place to find the true value of a coin collection is your local coin shop. If they estimate that a particular coin may be especially valuable, it may be worthwhile to submit the coin to a professional coin grading service. Buyers are far more comfortable purchasing coins that have been certified by a grading service. Getting professional coin grading can mean a substantially higher price for your coin when you sell it.
Find a Trusted Coin Dealer
Credible coin dealers have an obvious incentive to offer a fair market price (known as their “bid price”) for your coins. They operate a two-way market of buying and selling coins. This means a dealer will always buy from the public the type of silver coins and bullion products that they offer for sale themselves.
Always bear in mind, of course, that coin dealers are in business to make a profit. They generally operate on very thin margins.
How can you tell if a seller is reputable? You can usually find customer reviews for any coin shop online. Be sure to check each company's rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), as well.
ANA bronze medal. Image courtesy of CoinWeek
Selling Silver Coins Online vs. In Person
Now that you're armed with the information above, you'll have no problem finding a buyer. You'll be empowered to get the best possible price for your coins.
There are benefits and drawbacks to each option—whether you sell your coins online or at a local coin shop.
There is a thriving online marketplace for selling coins. Collectors can connect with each other more easily than they could before the advent of the internet.
With some patience and savvy, you may be able to sell your coins, depending on what they are, for a modestly higher price in a peer-to-peer transaction.
This means selling through:
- online forums or Facebook groups;
- other social gatherings
Keep in mind that eBay will deduct 11% seller's fees from your final sale price just for using the platform.
Silver coins stacked high!
Compare Your Options
If you want a truly hands-on experience, you may consider selling precious metals to a dealer at a coin show.
Coin shows are an excellent opportunity to learn about how the coin market works firsthand. They are also an opportunity to meet many coin dealers at one time. You may have to travel to another city or state for the opportunity, however. Review the upcoming coin show schedule and plan accordingly.
All of the other options mentioned above will require more time and effort on the part of the seller to find a willing buyer.
That’s the trade-off. When you sell your coins to a professional dealer, you’ll be paid a reasonable price in cash right on the spot. It bears repeating: All coin dealers maintain a two-way market.
There's nothing wrong with asking a coin dealer for a quote or offer and walking away to find a better deal. You may find a collector willing to pay slightly more, but you’ll likely have to wait for weeks or months for such an encounter.
If you can't find a coin shop within driving distance, an online coin dealer may be a good option. Most of these businesses are primarily bullion dealers, but many also buy and sell numismatic coins.
Gainesville Coins operates a showroom where you can sell coins in person. We also make it easy for you to sell to us from the convenience of your computer or smartphone.
Where to Avoid Selling Your Silver Coins
You also need to be aware of some common pitfalls.
An assortment of silver coins
You’re best off avoiding jewelry stores, pawn shops, and other non-specialized buyers. These places may not be interested in your coins to begin with, or they will offer distorted prices because their expertise is not in the rare coin business. It’s simply not worth their time to make a fair offer.
By contrast, a numismatist (coin expert) can give you a reliable appraisal of your coins. He or she can provide a general explanation for why a coin or group of coins is worth what they offer to pay you. It may be based on its metal content, its condition, how often it is available on the market, etc.
Not all numismatists are coin dealers, but all trusted coin dealers will be—or will employ—numismatists.
Sell Silver Coins Near Me
If you’re interested in selling your silver or gold bullion, Gainesville Coins will always make a competitive offer for your items. You can call to speak to one of our traders at (813) 482-9300.
Visit us at the locations below or place a sell order on our website anytime!
Main offices and showroom (United States):
17860 North U.S. Highway 41
Lutz, FL 33549
Phone: (813) 482-9300
01530, Vantaa, Finland
Phone: +358 93540 7115
Building 3 Chiswick Park
566 Chiswick High Street
London, Greater London, W4 5YA, U.K.
Phone: +44 2039 299556
1 Harbourfront Place
HarbourFront Tower One
Phone: +65 6722 3926
Everett has been the head content writer and market analyst at Gainesville Coins since 2013. He has a background in History and is deeply interested in how gold and silver have historically fit into the financial system.