While auction prices are typically the highest, there are drawbacks as well. Gillis points out, “There’s a fee involved in producing the auction catalogs. Also, the auction companies that deal strictly with numismatic items really only are looking for rare items. They don’t want common coins to take up space so they will definitely cherry pick a collection. They’re not going to be interested in all of them.”
Selling your coins at auction also takes time. “It could be several months between the time the person contacts the auction house and before their coins actually go up for sale.” Since sellers fees can be 15 percent of the value or even more, auctions may not be worth the time for lower value coins.
“If you have a complete set of coins,” said Gillis, “generally that set sells for more than individual coins on their own. To be able to tell if you have a complete set, it’s a matter of looking through the Red Book because it lists coins in sets. That way you would be able to tell if you have the entire set or not.”