Ecommerce, with the rise of website builders, social media, and marketplaces, has opened the door to all types of collectors to run successful stores dedicated to the collectibles they know and love.
The possibilities and potential profit are endless – especially if you collect items that can be found at low prices and then sold much higher, such as coins.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through everything you need to know about successfully selling coins online.
So, whether you’re a keen numismatist who wants to turn their passion into profit, or you just want to try your hand at selling something new and exciting online – read on!
Unless you’re already a keen coin collector, the idea of selling coins online might seem a little, well, unusual. After all, aren’t coins just worth what they are worth?
…nobody is going to pay you two dimes for a dime, right?
Well, of course, coins that are in circulation today tend to only be as valuable as they’re marked. However, many older coins are considered collectible and can reach a considerable price when sold.
The opportunity in this space is huge. It’s estimated that the coin collection market was worth a massive 14.07 billion USD in 2022 and is set to grow in the coming years.
With many rare coins worth thousands of dollars, there’s good room for profit in even one coin sale. In fact, some of the rarest and most valuable coins such as the 1794 flowing hair silver dollar reached over $10 million at auction.
One of the best things about selling coins online is the fact that you can often find high-value coins at low prices – but only when you know what you’re looking for.
The first step to valuing coins is to learn as much about them as possible. This is easier than ever with free guides available online as well as countless books that help you to identify and value potentially valuable coins.
This approach is useful when buying lower-value coins. However, with higher value coins a lot more is at risk, and potential oversights and even fake replicas can be incredibly costly. This is why it’s always worthwhile consulting an expert in order to value any high-value coins you may want to sell online.
Find out how to sell coins in our simple walk through!
So, where is the best place to sell coins online?
Luckily, there are several places you can sell coins online, each with its own benefits and downsides. Below we explore these options to give you the insight you need to pick the best one for you.
Online stores are the go-to for those looking to sell online – and for good reason.
When you set up an online store to sell your coins you start to develop a central location where you can develop your brand and generate trust with your audience. This trust is especially important for those selling coins because buyers will need to feel confident that what they’re buying is genuine.
Online stores can also help you cut commissions from third-party providers and often offer you the tools you need to grow your business online, such as email marketing and social media scheduling.
Given the control that you have over your own website, this is arguably the best place to sell coins online – however, pairing this with other methods can be a smart way to reach more people.
(read our Wix review here).
Best Online Store Builders to Sell Coins Online
Online marketplaces such as eBay are another popular option for selling coins online. The big benefit of this option is that it offers sellers an opportunity to get their coins in front of an already engaged and ready-to-buy audience.
However, online marketplaces tend to charge relatively high commissions which can eat into your profits. It is also important to remember that they “own” your audience and can change the terms of accessing them at any time – such as increasing the amount you need to pay on each sale.
Specialist and general online auctions can be a great way to sell coins online. This is especially true if your business model is focused on targeting other keen collectors.
When you sell your coins at an online auction you can guarantee that they will sell on the day you auction them, as long as they reach your desired reserve price. This can be a great way to shift stock quickly.
Specialist heritage auctions are also a great options for reaching passionate collectors and resellers.
Of course, you do face the risk of the item not meeting the reserve and therefore not selling. Plus, if you do sell you’ll have to pay the auction house a percentage of the amount you sold the coin for.
Selling to coin dealers can be fantastically lucrative if you have a knack for picking up coins well below market value. All you need to do is take the coins to the dealer and work out a price you are both willing to accept.
As coin dealers will typically sell your coins on, it’s likely that they will offer you less than what they can sell them for. After all, they need to make a profit themselves. So, this approach is often less profitable than selling directly to the end collector.
Preparing your coins for sale can help you present them in the best way possible, helping you grab attention and increase your chances of getting them noticed by the right buyer.
Cleaning and Preserving Coins for Better Presentation:
- Use a mild soap with warm water to gently clean coins.
- Avoid using any harsh chemicals, abrasive materials, and excessive cleaning – as this may damage your coins.
- Use a microfiber towel to pat coins dry.
- Store your coins in individual coin holders or acid-free archival sleeves.
- Only handle coins with clean, dry hands or wear cotton gloves to minimize oil and dirt transfer.
Grading Your Coins Accurately to Determine Their Value:
- Familiarize yourself with coin grading scales such as the Sheldon Scale for U.S. coins.
- Examine both sides and the edges of the coin for wear, scratches, dents, and any other imperfections.
- Use good lighting and a magnifying glass when inspecting your coins.
- Refer to reputable coin grading guides, books, or online resources for assistance.
- Grade coins based on factors such as luster, strike quality, surface preservation, and eye appeal.
Organizing and Categorizing Your Coin Collection:
- Sort your coins by factors such as type, denomination, country and era.
- Use coin albums, folders, or plastic coin pages to organize and display your coin collection.
- Label and catalog your coins with essential information such as mintmark, date, denomination, and grade.
- Consider creating a digital or physical inventory list to track your collection – this can be using a simple tool such as Microsoft Excel.
Whether you’re starting your own online store or selling on an online marketplace, you will need to list your coins so people can check out what they’re buying.
Although listing on a platform such as Shopify or a marketplace such as eBay is relatively straightforward, doing it in a way that captures the attention of your potential customers and compels them to buy takes some knowledge and practice.
Take High-Quality Photographs of Your Coins
It is important to take high-quality, clear pictures of your coins so people can check out their condition before they buy. Online, people can’t pick up and examine the products, so be sure your product photos show different angles and close-up shots of your coins. Ensure your photos are well-lit, uncluttered, and clear (not blurry or out of focus).
These days you can take good quality product photos with your phone, but we do advise you to source a white background (a roll of white paper will do) and a good source of light. Artificial light is better than natural light because it’ll give you a sharper, cleaner final image.
Write Compelling Descriptions
Like any product you sell online, you’ll also need to write a product description so people have all the information they need to hand. Valuable information about your coins, whether that’s key features or information on the historical significance of the coin, can all help push a customer toward hitting the “Buy Now” button. After all, customers want to know as much as possible about what they’re spending their money on. We suggest avoiding vague descriptions that leave readers confused and make sure all of your information is accurate before sharing online.
Pricing your products correctly can mean the difference between great success and total failure when you sell coins online. Price too high and nobody will buy, price too low and you will struggle to make a profit.
Pricing your coins should be relatively straightforward. For example, you may consult books and online guides from reputable sources such as the Professional Numismatist Guild. You can also look at online auctions, marketplaces, and competitors to check how much they’re selling the same or similar coins.
Finally, if you are still not sure how to price your coins you could consult a specialist.
It isn’t the most fun part of selling coins online, but shipping products certainly is crucial. Working out how you’re going to ship your coins will play a big part in how much profit you make and how desirable your coins are to collectors.
Being able to offer your customers several options for shipping will help you meet their various needs. For example, being able to offer next-day shipping will help customers who want to get their coins quickly, and offering international delivery will help you sell to a much wider reaching audience.
Which option is best for you for shipping will depend on several factors including your location and the typical weight/size of your parcels. Ensure you get multiple quotes from shipping companies such as FedEx and UPS to find the best price for you.
So, you’ve built a fantastic online store to sell your coins. You’re all set for success, right?
Well, not exactly…
In order to generate sales, you will also need to drive traffic to your website. There are countless ways to do this, we give you a brief overview of the top and most widely accepted marketing methods below:
Social media should be a go-to marketing method for any online store. After all, your store is online and social media is where the attention of your audience will often be focused.
Doing this is as simple as setting up your own social media accounts and regularly publishing quality content that will be of interest to your audience.
To further engage with those who may buy from you, you could also consider becoming an active part of online coin-collecting communities such as the American Numismatic Association Members group on Facebook.
Using email to communicate key messages with your audience is a great way to drive sales. You may set up emails for several reasons such as:
- Notifying people of new coins coming into stock
- Weekly or monthly newsletters
- Educational content around coins
Search Engine Optimization
A huge percentage of buyer journeys start on search engines. For example, someone looking to buy a specific coin is most likely to go to Google and type in something like “buy [insert specific coin name]” in order to start their search.
This is why optimizing your website for better search engine rankings is so important. There are countless ways to do this, such as:
- Writing your website content with specific keywords in mind
- Publishing high-quality content around your specialist subject
- Ensuring that your website works well on all platforms such as phones, tablets, and laptops
Read more about the benefits of SEO here.
It’s clear that selling coins can be a lucrative business. Using online methods such as setting up an online store, using marketplaces, or selling via online auctions can both streamline the process as well as allow you to access wider markets.
So, what are you waiting for? Why not start selling coins online today?