Questions about selling rare US coins

I have a few that I’d like to sell. Examples include:
1861 half dollar
1858-O half dollar
1861 quarter dollar
1834 10c (large 4)
1817 half dollar (7 over 3)
Most are in nice condition - probably AU

Is eBay a good place to do this?

Does it make sense to have these professionally graded first? How to do that?

You could do it on eBay, but it’s a long way 'round and you have no guarantee you’ll get what the coin is worth. I’d take it to a reputable local coin dealer and see what he’ll offer.

This may not have a lot of answers but it may inspire some good questions for/from you.

Full Retail roughly
1861 half dollar $80 in VF – $200 in AU
1858-O half dollar $70 in VF – $200 in AU
1861 quarter dollar $47 in VF – $190 in AU
1834 10c (large 4) $85 in VF – $440 in AU
1817 half dollar (7 over 3) $350 in VF – $1350 in AU
Wholesale expect 50% or less in the VF range (everyone has worn coins to sell) and better in the AU grades depending on the inventory and customer base the buyer/dealer has.

Cleaned in any way or any real ticks or bruises (such as along the rim) and those values drop. Very quickly.

What you see as AU may not be so. You would need to check against images at the least and possibly have them checked for signs of cleaning. Here is one of the online guides for Seated Liberty as an example

As odd as it seems none are what a serious numismatist would call “rare”. In other words, there are dates and mints within each series that are much lower in mintage and much harder to find. If the condition is there and if they haven’t been cleaned, all are really great coins but not in the same class as say a 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent. In addition there are not as many collectors for those series as there are for say Barber Halfs or Mercury Dimes.

Ebay can be a crap-shoot on coins. Get the right super-accurate images, get a seller with a track record, get lucky with who ends up buying it and you win. Have a piece of bad luck and you could get scammed in a lot of different ways. Trust me - I’ve done it and learned. If your experience and record is for selling some thing other than coins you may get less and lower bids or not; there really is no hard and fast rule.

Other than the last two I would say don’t have them slabbed (professionally graded by a third party service). The fee for any of the accepted and recognized services is going to be at least $20 per coin; the return in the investment may not be there. To have them slabbed your usual route is to find an authorized dealer to submit them for you. It’s been a couple years since I have had anything slabbed so I’m not sure of exactly how they are working today. Last time I did it you had to submit at least 10 coins so with one or two the dealer may have to wait for other folks to want to have things graded before submitting them.

SamClem may jump in here; he is better at US coins than I am and better at explaining a lot of things. If worse comes to worse, shoot him a PM.

Thanks - very useful.

Xema, I’m curious how you know these are in AU condition. Also how you know they are varieties, such as 1817/13 half.

I’m assuming you inherited them and they are in packages that detail the grade and variety.

I’d be glad to give you prices if I could see the coins. While I am usually hesitant to deal personally in coins on this board, I’d be glad to look at them and give you fair offers. You’d be under no obligation to accept an offer.


The ones I’m thinking are AU seem to approximately match some marked that way that I’ve found images of online. They have some “luster” visible when held at the proper angle and the high details look sharp.

Just from looking at it - you can clearly see a “3” under the “7”. (Unfortunately, that one definitely isn’t AU.)

Yes - some time ago.

No, they’re in small plastic bags - no labels or information.

I’d like to do this - how should I proceed?

Sent you a PM just now.