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 is essential in order to 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 or coin show.

Remember, listing coins on eBay is not free. There are listing fees, shipping fees, and final value fees that are based upon the final selling price of the item. Additionally, there are payment fees if you use PayPal. Therefore, you should select carefully what coins you are going to sell on eBay.

If you inherited a coin collection or are new to coin collecting,  you will want to spend some time learning about coins before you start to sell them. This will help you avoid some of the pitfalls that novice coin collectors make when selling the coins. Additionally, you will want to take the time to organize your coin collection before you start listing it for sale on eBay.

  • 01 of 07

    Set up Your eBay and PayPal Accounts

    EBay and PayPal Webpages
    Selling coins on eBay and using PayPal to receive payments. Image Courtesy of: Joe Raedle/ Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images

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

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

    Experts at eBay and PayPal have created these easy-to-follow step-by-step articles that will guide you through the process of how to become a first-rate eBay seller and verified PayPal member. After you get your account set up you will be ready to start 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 high-value coins. After you have built a reputation as a trustworthy seller you may then start to sell your higher value coins. Additionally, if you make a mistake your error will not cost you a high dollar value coin. Sell about 10 to 20 low-value coins before you start selling intermediate and high-value coins.

  • 02 of 07

    Know What Coins You Are Selling

    U.S. Type Coins
    United States Type Coins Images Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries,

    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, to determine the correct value of your coin, you must accurately grade it. You can use an online grading guide or buy a printed grading guidebook to grade your coins accurately. For beginner and intermediate coin collectors, I would recommend Making the Grade by Beth Deisher.

    Do not over-grade your coins. If potential buyers believe that the coin is over graded, they will shy away from bidding which will result in a lower final price or maybe the coin not even selling. Additionally, you will not build the trust of prospective buyers on eBay. This is most important if you plan on selling higher value coins. If a buyer does not trust you, they will not be willing to take a risk of buying a valuable coin from you in the future.

  • 03 of 07

    Detailed and Honest Descriptions

    1922 No "D" (No Mint Mark) Lincoln Cent
    1922 No "D" (No Mint Mark) Lincoln Cent Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries,

    Look at your coin carefully and describe it's condition in the description portion of your listing. If there are noticeable scratches, dents, surface damage or any other distracting characteristics, describing them accurately and honestly. Accurate descriptions 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.

    If a buyer suspects that you have misrepresented a coin with an obvious defect, this will hurt your rating and lead to overall lower sales prices. Honesty is the best policy and a satisfied customer is more valuable than a few extra dollars because the coin was misrepresented.

    Use descriptions like the following examples:

    • Small scratch by Lincoln's cheek
    • Dark toning over the entire reverse
    • Brilliant surfaces and excellent eye appeal
    • Corrosion damage on about a third of the obverse
    • A small hole about six o'clock position
  • 04 of 07

    Quality Photos of Your Coins

    This Coin Went Through the Edge Lettering Machine Twice Coin discovery and photo by Shawn and Shelly Bell of bigbuckbell ebay auctions.

    Nothing else leads to getting top-dollar for your coins more than high quality and accurate photographs. Invest in a decent 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.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    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. Be careful not to set the opening bid (or place a reserve) that is out of touch with what the market will bear. This will just cause people to pass over your coin and look somewhere else.

    "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.

    "Auction and Buy It Now" You can also combine an Auction listing with a Buy It Now price. A buyer can choose to buy your item immediately by clicking on Buy It Now. If any bid is placed on the auction, then the Buy It Now option is removed and the item will sell as an auction-style listing. Therefore, do not set your Buy It Now price too high in the hopes of making a quick buck. Set an honest Buy It Now Price that may lead to an immediate sale without sacrificing your profit on selling your coin.

  • 06 of 07

    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. For coins priced over $200, you should ship them via insured registered mail with a shipping charge that accurately reflects the additional costs. If you make the shipping charge too expensive, buyers will pass over your coin and look for another item with a cheaper or free shipping charge.

  • 07 of 07

    Special Considerations for Shipping Coins

    Although coins are made out of metal, surface damage can occur 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. Since the environment can be extreme during shipping, use a plastic Ziploc bag to protect the coins against moisture. Place them in a padded envelope for an additional layer of protection. Never ship coins in a standard business envelope.

    Coin flips and cardboard holders can be purchased online or at your local coin dealer. Make sure you tape the ends of the envelope to ensure that no one tampers with your package during shipping. If you use a box, make sure you tape all the edges of the box to ensure that it cannot be slit open and the coins removed during shipping.