When You Inherit A Coin Collection As A Non-Collector Yourself, Follow These Dos And Don'ts

Did a loved one leave you their coin collection when they passed on? If you're not a coin collector yourself, you may not be sure what to do with these coins. Should you just stash them in the back of your closet and forget about them, or should you sell them and use the money to buy something you can actually use? The answer really comes down to what you value and need most -- but there are definitely some basic guidelines your should follow as you deal with the coins you've inherited.

Do: Have the collection assessed by a professional coin assessment service.

There are so many variables that go into determining how much a coin is worth. From the exact mint where the coin was created to the presence or absence of a certain notch on Lincoln's forehead, these are not necessarily variables you'd know to look out for if you're not a coin collector yourself. One 1912 penny might be worth $14, while another may be worth $1400!

So, you can't just Google certain coins to know what they're worth. You need to take the collection to a professional coin assessor. They will look over the coins and let you know which ones are the most valuable. They can also tell you the total value of the collection. This will help you decide whether to hang on to all of the coins, sell certain ones, or sell the whole collection.

Don't: Try to clean and spiff up the coins.

This is a common mistake made by well-meaning non-collectors before they bring the coins in for assessment. You might be tempted to shine up a coin or remove some of the tarnish thinking this will raise its value. But actually, you should never clean collectible coins. Collectors actually prefer coins that are the normal color to be expected based on their age. So as dirty or clean as they might be, take your coins into the assessment shop without cleaning them or rubbing them down.

Do: Get a second estimate before you sell any significantly valuable coins.

If the coin assessor tells you that some of the coins in the collection are quite valuable, you may decide to sell them. But before you do, make sure you get a second opinion. Different coin assessors have different areas of expertise and may under-estimate values from time to time. Getting a second quote will help ensure you don't undervalue your coin when you put it on the market.

Don't: Take the coins out of any books or storage packets they might be kept in.

Collectors put a lot of time and effort into selecting the best storage packets and containers for their coins. If the coins are in a book, there's a good chance your loved one dedicated a lot of time to seeking out the various coins to fill that book. Many times, coins are worth more when they are encased as a full collection in a certain book. And the ones in single plastic wrappers are being carefully protected by the wrappers. Leave the coins in the packaging when you take them to the assessor, who will be able to use the proper handling techniques to avoid damaging the coins when removing them from packages.

Inheriting a bunch of coins when you're not a collector yourself can be a bit overwhelming. But remember, not only is this collection valuable, it was also something truly prized by your loved one. You'll need to balance selling the coins with holding onto something that was meaningful to the deceased and therefore meaningful to you. Click here, or on similar links, for additional reading.