Numisphere buys entire world coin collections or individual coins of special interest or value. Although we need to acquire quality material for our business, our primary goal is to see that you get a good price for your collection. If we think there is a better venue for marketing your collection, we will tell you. Too often we have seen collections sell for pennies on the dollar to dealers, at estate sales, or on eBay.
So let's get started. The first thing you should do is take a little time to describe your collection to us. Many dealers tell you to "just ship" your coins to them, and they will appraise them and send you a check. We do not endorse this practice. Once a dealer is in physical possession of your collection, they have an advantage, since you will be inclined to accept whatever they offer. Before sending us anything, we want to get as much information as possible about the material. That information will tell us whether we are positioned to handle the collection or whether we should refer you to a different firm.
What kind of information do we need? Ideally, a listing of each individual coin with identification and grade. Every serious collector should have such a list for insurance purposes if nothing else. If you have a list you can scan and e-mail to us (or copy/print-out and snail-mail to us), that's great.
If not, you will need to describe the collection in more general terms.
So, a paragraph or two describing the collection is very helpful. Don't worry if you can't answer all the questions we listed, just do the best you can.
Pictures, if you have them or can take them, are also very valuable. An overall picture (or series of pictures) of the collection, laid out on a table or floor, can be done with a cheap digital camera and is great for getting a sense of the size of the collection, although it will tell nothing about quality. The typical camera cannot adequately capture the detail on something as small as a coin - a flat-bed scanner works much better. A few coins chosen at random and scanned (front and back) will give us a sense of the quality of the collection. If you have an individual listing of the coins, and are able to do scans, we may even ask you to scan a few coins of our choosing and send the pictures to us. This way we can determine quality and the accuracy of grading.
Last, but by no means least, we advise you to get an appraisal of your collection before you make a decision on marketing or selling it. It is always better to enter into such a transaction with some knowledge, even a rough ball-park figure, of what your coins are worth. If you decide to ship your coins to a dealer, how will you know what to insure them for? And you will need some kind of proof of value to substantiate any insurance claim. There are basically two types of appraisals - "free" appraisals which you can get from most local dealers or coin shops, and professional appraisals which will cost you some money (sometimes a fixed price but often a percentage of the appraised value). The advantage of a paid appraisal is that the appraiser has a fiduciary responsibility to assess your collection at the fair market value. Free appraisals you often see advertised are generally from dealers or other parties looking to acquire material. If they are ethical, you may get a quote that represents some discount from a published dealer bid (i.e. wholesale) price. If they are unethical, and they have a sense that you have little knowledge of what the coins are actually worth, they will try to take advantage of you. It's OK to take your coins in for a free appraisal somewhere, just resist the temptation to sell your collection then and there, unless you are desperate for cash. Take their business card and tell them you want to get a second opinion and will get back to them.
Let's review: the items we would like to have to make an assessment on your collection are a written description (and if possible, a listing of individual coins), pictures, and a third-party appraisal (the appraised value and who gave you the appraisal). It's not necessary to have all three, but the more information you can give us, the better we can serve you.
Once you give us the information on the coins you would like to sell, we will respond to you quickly. Sometimes we will ask additional questions or have you take more pictures or scans if you are able to do so. If the collection looks especially interesting, and especially if you are located in the Northeast U.S., we may even try to arrange a viewing of the coins in person. In the end, if we think we can give you the best price for your collection, we will make you an offer. If not, we will refer you to other dealers or auction houses. Remember, our primary concern is making sure you get the best price.
Only if we decide to handle your collection will we ask you to ship the coins to us. (Of course, you are free to just send us coins first and skip all the homework, but we don't advise that.) If we do ask you to send coins, we will give you a guarantee in writing of our minimum offer. When we receive the coins and have a chance to examine them, the offer may go up, but it will never be less than the guaranteed minimum, assuming the information you have given us is reasonably accurate. Sending coins to us does not obligate you in any way to accept our offer. If we cannot make a deal that works for both of us, we will return the coins to you at our expense.
Currently we do not accept coins on consignment, but we may do so in the future. Generally, with coins of exceptionally high quality or rarity, you will realize the best price by consigning to a firm that will sell your coins at auction or by private treaty. As we grow our business, we may run mail-bid auctions and accept coins on consignment, to provide you as a seller with more alternatives.