"Serving the Collector Since 1972"

How To Price Coins

Coin prices are a function of supply and demand. Market prices decline when inventories cannot be moved at current levels and eventually rise when insufficient quantities are available to meet current demand. Of course, if the buyer or seller is unaware of current trends, a transaction may occur outside the normal range of prices.

Demand is ultimately established by collectors and investors but often more directly by dealers, who must sell coins for more than they pay for them to cover expenses and make a profit. Consequently, there are multiple tiers of prices for any particular collectible coin. Retail refers to prices dealers charge most collectors and investors, while wholesale means prices they charge each other. Collectors and investors with a substantial market presence (spending considerable amounts, especially on a regular basis with the same dealer) may be able to buy at or near wholesale levels. Published price guides list typical prices for retail and wholesale transactions - actual prices may be somewhat higher or lower.

Dealers will usually pay less than wholesale when buying coins from the public. Therefore, collectors and investors should be aware that it is difficult to "get their money back," should the need arise to sell their holdings. Of course, they may do better by bypassing a dealer altogether, but it is seldom easy to find another collector or investor looking for the specific coins one wants to sell, and even then the potential buyer will consider it an opportunity to acquire the coins at a discount. In addition, there are some advantages to purchasing coins from a dealer. A reputable dealer will guarantee the authenticity of the merchandise. He or she will be knowledgeable enough to form reasonable opinions on grades, to detect problems that may be missed by less experienced persons and will usually be willing to share knowledge with the public, especially customers.

What Would You Like To Know About?
Go back to About Coin Collecting home page.