Selling silver dollars

A friend who lives in Montreal has a pile (she didn’t tell me how many, but it is a non-trivial number) of US silver dollars. I gather they are worth significantly more that a dollar apiece. What is the best way to dispose of them? She does not want to get involved with ebay.

She can Google “gold or silver” dealers that have offices in her city.

Safest bet is to visit one that has been in business for at least two years. Maybe even Google the shop first to see if people have made any complaints against them.

She might be able to get a better price by advertising in Craig’s List or one of the equivalents. But that carries some inherent dangers. People have been known to come to see the coins and then rob the seller.

She can lower the risk by meeting the buyers in a bank or police station. But the safest way to sell them IMHO is to go to an established coin or bullion shop (or visit a few and compare their rates).

Silver is currently trading around $14 per oz. Different silver dollars contain different silver content. Best to Google a little bit first and make sure you know the exact silver weight in each coin.

When Googling for different dealers to sell silver dollars, I would visit only those dealers who show clearly on their web sites their exact prices to buy and sell silver coins.

Many web sites have pretty pictures but will not list their prices. That is most suspicious IMHO. I would only deal with people who make it crystal clear exactly how much they will pay for coins and how much they will sell coins. Otherwise, they can try and take advantage of you.

Reputable dealers usually have web pages that update their prices moment to moment as the price of bullion changes. It’s not difficult to have web pages that automatically adjust the price of their wares from moment to moment.

If they don’t do that, I believe it says something bad about them.

Since she doesn’t want to get involved in ebay, the best way is to have a friend who’s an ebayer list them for her. Even reputable coin shops won’t pay more than a percentage of the bullion price unless they’re already slabbed.

SamClem is the guy to page…

I would take a few of the same type to different sellers in the city and see what they pay for them and whom you like to deal with.

She has a pile, but it’s probably a few thousand dollars’ worth max, right? In that case, I don’t think it’s worth it to go on Ebay and try to get the absolute best price in the world. You’d have to bother with shipping and possibly fraudulent buyers (“I didn’t get my coins!”) and all sorts of bother. For what, to make maybe a few hundred bucks more (if you actually do get more) than just selling them to a business in your town? Personally, it’s not worth the extra hassle.

Short version of what could become a really long post.

Or me. The real key is knowing the mintmark and condition. The old trick some coin dealers play is “I pay $X for silver dollars and sell them for $Y”. They may even have a bunch in a bowl or display for sell for $Y. He counts yours up, gives you a check, and you walk away. Then he flips them over and checks the mintmark. That beat-up looking 1889 turns out to be a Carson City (CC) and his rent is safe for the week.

Will show you where to look for the mintmarks.

The second big thing is condition. DON’T CLEAN ANYTHING! But this site will give you some ideas of grades.

Again, looking at that 1889 CC -------- a VG will be about $425 wholesale and a XF say $2000 assuming it doesn’t have any bad marks or problems.

Take some time, figure out just what there is. Remember, you only get to sell them once.

Yeah, what kopek said too. I thought we were only talking about silver value. Actual numismatic value is a whole other issue.

We, as fair dealers in the US, are currently paying $16 per silver dollar for common dollars, 1878-1935. They can’t be polished or excessively worn or damaged in any way. If they’re nearly uncirculated and 1878-1904, then they’re worth more, even if common.

As kopek said, you need to know what is common and what is better.

Added to say–I’d be surprised if any Canadian dealers are paying much more than the melt value, which is $11-12 US.

Most US silver coins are only valuable as metal,
The rule-of-thumb approximation is one dollar face value = 1 ounce of silver.
Silver is currently about $14 an ounce.

When my step-father was buying and selling silver, he generally dealt with coin shops, of which there were several in our town of 15,000. I would assume there would be some in Montreal.

Something to remember: the coin shop doesn’t actually want to OWN your silver: they are buying it with the intention of re-seilling it. Thus, they will offer you slightly below “market price”, and probably charge slightly above “market price”.

For several years, my step-father would buy silver dollars by the pound, sort through them for the few that were valuable as collectibles, and then re-sell the rest by weight. While he made money doing this, only because he wasn’t counting his time. He liked sorting things, so that part of it was a hobby.

I know you said you are asking about selling coins for a friend. But in this post I will refer to the coins as “your coins” because it’s just easier that way. Also, all silver prices to which I refer will be based on US Dollars per ounce of silver.

It seems to me that SamClem is highly knowledgeable about buying and selling silver coins and if you have any more questions or concerns, I suggest you check with him. However, there is one very important point and it seems to me that no one has yet addressed that point and I will attempt to do so at the end of this post. But first, I’d just like to raise another point and that is the following:

In post #8 above, Aeschines made an extremely important point for anyone considering the sale of silver coins. When talking about the value of silver coins, there are two types of silver coins - those that have numismatic value and those that do not.

Numismatic value means the coins are worth more than just their silver content. They are in demand by collectors because they are somewhat rare and their condition is better than coins that have been circulated in the public’s hands.

The odds that your coins have any numismatic value is very low. Why? Because if they did have any numismatic value, it is highly likely that someone would likely have separated them from the rest of the coins and wrapped them in plastic or stored them in some other way so they would not have suffered any further “wear and tear”. But you never can tell. There is always a chance that no one did see the coins had some numismatic value and gave them or sold them to you without realizing their full value.

It may help you to recognize coins that have numismatic value because they will almost certainly be stored in some kind of “air tight” container or wrapped in plastic or in some other way to prevent them from suffering wear & tear" - to keep them in their current condition and prevent them from suffering any further wear & tear.

Silver coins that do not have any numismatic value are sometimes called “junk silver”. That name may sound insulting. But it is not intended to insult anyone. It just means the value of those coins is limited to the value of the silver that would be obtained if they were melted down and the silver was extracted from the melt and the price would then be based on the price of silver at the time you sell them.

In post #10 above, SamClem refers to the “melt value” of the coins. That means if you were to melt the coins and you were able to extract or separate the silver content from the rest of the melt, the value of that silver is what is called the “melt value”.

One common technique or trick that “rogue dealers” will try to use to convince you the coins are worth much less than they really are is the following. They will tell you they have to melt down the silver coins they buy from you and then they have to separate the silver content and create silver bars from that. They will moan and cry and tell you that it’s very expensive for them to do this and it takes a lot of time and effort to do it. But that is just a trick. Can you figure out why? I’ll leave it as a little puzzle for you. You may have some fun trying to figure out the reason. If you can’t figure it out and you want to know, please say so and I will tell you the reason in a few days’ time.

It is highly unlikely that any of your coins have any numismatic value or else someone would have been likely separated them from the rest of the coins and sold them to some coin dealers or just kept them in anticipation their value will increase.

To determine whether your coins have any numismatic value, you can Google the name of the coins (such as “value of American Eagle Silver Dollars” or “value of American Buffalo Silver Dollar coins” and check the dates of your coins to see if any may possibly worth something owing to their rarity and/or good condition.

Kopek made a very important point in post #7 above. Do not ever attempt to clean the coins. If you do that, it will destroy any numismatic value they may have. Experienced dealers can easily tell whether anyone has ever attempted to clean the coins in order to make them look like they are in a condition that is better than their true condition. It is a kind of trick. But it almost never succeeds. It just destroys the numismatic value of the coins.

OK. Now for the point that I referred to at the beginning of my post - that I said was an important point:

Is there some emergency or urgent reason why you want to sell these coins now? I ask because IMHO, you might get significantly more money by waiting a few months (or a year) before selling them.

It’s important to note that **“NO ONE CAN PREDICT THE FUTURE PRICE OF SILVER”. **Anyone who tries to tell you they can is a liar and you should not believe what they are telling you. It is true that in 1979 some men named “Hunt” (or "The Hunt Brothers of Dallas) did attempt to “corner” the silver market. They succeeded in “rigging” the price of silver so that it rose very quickly from about $7 per oz to about $50 per oz in just a few months. But, they failed and in general, no one can rig the price of silver (at least not for very long).

It’s important for me to make that point clear because although I will give you my opinion about the price of silver in the near future, you must understand it is just my opinion and I could easily be wrong about that. You must not rely on my opinion when it comes to your finances.

However, it is my opinion that it might be a real good idea for you to not sell all of your silver coins immediately. It might profit you to sell a portion of the coins in the near future but then to wait for a few months or maybe another year before selling the rest. Why is that? It is my opinion the price of silver could easily be much higher in one year’s time than it is today.

If you examine the following chart:

You can see the price of silver was at a modern day low on Nov 30, 2008 when it was $10.29 per oz. It then rose to $44.46 on Apr 20 2011 and has pretty much fallen steadily. It was around $14.00 yesterday.

It is my opinion (and please please please understand it is just my opinion and could eaily be wrong) the price of silver could very easily be much higher in one year’s time.

Why? It’s not just because it near modern day lows now and is therefore more likely to rise than to fall. But there are many reason why the world is likely to suffer some very destabilizing events this year.

Consider the recent terrible terrorist attacks in France and ISIS threatening to carry out more attacks. Consider the disaster in the economies of the Central and South American countries. Check the recent news reports about Venezuela. With the fall of oil prices, people in Venezuela are suffering from poverty like never before. I read what some of the Venezuelans had to say and they’ve been saying things like, "We could not give our children any Christmas presents this year because we don’t even have enough money to feed our families. Christmas presents are a luxury of a bygone era.

There is also all the trauma surrounding people trying to flee from Syria and other countries and enter European countries. I’m guessing you have read the headlines concerning European governments closing their borders and the rise of political parties that promise they will keep people out of their countries.

Please believe me that I am not at all happy at the prospect of making some money from events that cause other people to suffer much misery. After all, if the world is thrown into a state of chaos, it is very unlikely that all the money in the world will enable people to find security and happiness in a world gone crazy.

But, it seems to me the price of gold and silver will very likely do nothing this year but go up. Therefore, I would not sell all my silver coins now. I might sell a portion of them now. But I would def wait a little while before selling the rest in anticipation of rising metal prices.

I know that I’ve said this before (and more than once). But the opinions I expressed in this post are just my opinions and I could easily be wrong. Silver prices could easily rise to extreme highs in the near future. But even if they do, no one can predict just when that will happen. I could easily be right about the prices rising but I could easily be wrong as to the time frame. It may not happen within the next year. It could easily take two or three years. Or I could just be completely wrong and the price of silver could just continue to fall for many years to come.

I just don’t want you to follow my opinions and lose money as a result. The only times I have made significant money in the silver market is when I research the facts myself and think for myself. I hope you will research the facts for yourself and think for yourself and follow your own conclusions.

Silver dealers are quite expert when it comes to getting you all excited about the millions of dollars you will make by trading silver. But they make their money by taking a percentage of ever sale they facilitate. So you must be careful. Please. Be very careful.

If I was you, I would def get a second opinion by sending a private message to SamClem and asking his advice. Ask him whether he thinks the info I have told you is credible or not.

Good luck to you.

I’m sorry my post above is so long and I realize that many people just won’t read it because it is too long.

However, I want to clarify one point and that is: Why do destabilizing events in foreign countries affect the price of metals like gold and silver?

I think the reason is that destabilizing events often lead to changes (both violent and non-violent) in the governments of countries. If Venezuela suffers more catastrophes as a result of falling oil prices, it could easily suffer a change from a democratic government to a Dictatorship or a Communist or Socialist government. Given the relationship between Venezuela and Middle Eastern oil producers like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, those changes could easily result in destabilization of other nations and wind up hurting Western Nations.

I pray to God that none of those things happen. But I’m afraid that I’m often quite wrong when it comes to predicting future events. I’m very sorry for placing these events into your mind. Really, I am.

Not true.

A U.S silver dollar has .78 troy ounce of silver. So, at $14 US, a silver dollar melts for $11. US.

Thanks for all your answers. It is highly unlikely that they have any numismatic value and there are only 2 or 3 dozen of them. They were collected by her mother in Vienna whenever she came on a US silver dollar she kept and when her mother died she inherited them. Her husband died about a month ago and she is trying to clear things out.

I will be visiting NY in April and, if she wishes, I will take them and visit a few coin dealers there, following SamClem’s advice.

In my experience, most of the dollar coins I saw seem to have been dated between 1922 and 1924. On route 202 between Kennett Square, PA and Wilmington, DE, there used to be a “gay nineties” ice cream parlor that gave all change (under $10 anyway) in silver dollars. How I wish I had hung onto them.

1922-1924 are Peace Dollars. This site has estimated values for different grades (scroll down), but they are very common coins (unless you have a 1924-S uncirculated). These days, the only coins with appreciable numismatic (collector) value are those with some rarity or which have been slabbed at a very high grade by a reputable grading service. This is because the price of silver and gold is so elevated that most dealers won’t pay much over melt.

Tell your friend to be sure and check to see if any of the dollars are from the Carson City mint. These, if they are in any kind of reasonable condition, will blow your socks off

My father willed me a safety deposit box filled with old silver coins, and several of the CC dollars were in there. I took them down to a local coin store - they gave me $1,100 dollars for one of them (with an 1893 date). The dealer told me that in his entire career this was only the fourth one of these that he had ever seen.

An 1893CC dollar in nice average condition will fetch $200-350 US. To get a dealer to pay $1100. it must have been extremely fine or better. We get about 5-10 1893cc dollars every year, but all are usually of lower grade.

Very true. My Canadian friends usually head over around Buffalo/Old Fort Niagara area to sell US material. To a Canadian dealer, its pretty much just foreign “junk” the same way Canadian stuff is around here.

Sam already beat me to it but I will agree with him. And add that US silver dollars have almost always been an exception to that rule. The Morgans more than the Peace, but both have always had a strong enough following to draw somewhat of a premium (almost) no matter what the condition.

The way he worded it, “and several of the CC dollars were in there”, my first thought was they could have been some of the GSA/Nixon CC dollars.

(Personally I like my little collection of GSA/Carson City dollars that are just not far from gems but not even Carson City. You see any of those cross your desk, shoot me an PM.)