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Coin and Paper Money Collecting/worth of U.S.silver coins


I am trying  to sell  some 1964 and prior US silver coins. Most   are Washington quarters and Roosevelt dimes but also have Liberty standing half dollars.   Most coin  dealers i.e. jewelry stores say they only have silver melt value   and will offer up to $2 for dimes and up to $5 for the quarters. I am confused because when I look at wholesale  price guides  they  list   the dimes at a value of $2.50-$16.  And for e.g. a common 1947 washington quarter from $5  to $48. Why even list the coins by condition and year if they only have a metal value? Why the difference? Where would be the best place to sell these coins? Most are in great condition.  Thank you very much for your help in this matter.


It's a matter of time ad trouble. The jewelry stores and pawn shops are at the bottom of the food chain when talking about collector coins. They buy the coins at about 80% to 90% of melt and resell in bulk to a refiner for 5% to 10% over what they paid. Most of these shops do not have the knowledge or take the time to separate any coin from the group they are offered that has added numismatic value.

For melt values, see:

Wholesale price guides should range in the area of 50% to 60% of the retail value, but with the value of gold and silver fluctuations, many guides can be off with the value of lower grade coins. The key to separating coins with numismatic value lies with the date, mint mark, and condition of the pieces.

For grading, see:

For values, see:

Coin dealers should offer you a higher price then jewelry stores or pawn shops. If you live close to a local shop, they should offer an opinion as to their value at no charge. Should you decide to sell your items to a dealer, they will offer about 50% to 60% of the retail value. Always try and get at least two opinions and try and deal with PNG dealers if possible. Here's a link to find one in your area:

Check eBay listings in the coin category to find similar items and see what they bring.

The highest prices for collector coins are usually obtained by placing them in auction. Next would be selling them to a private party for more than you would get at a coin shop, and where the private party gets a break and can purchase them for less than the coin shop retail price.

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Thank You and Good Luck in your collecting.  

Coin and Paper Money Collecting

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Ronald Fern


I can answer most all questions relating to US coins, tokens, and currency. I'm not strong on world coins or ancients. Primary field of expertise is errors and varieties. Over 55 years experience in coin collecting. Part time dealer since 1976. Employed by McDonnell Douglas/Boeing for over 34 years as an Industrial Engineer/Technical Specialist before retiring in 2002.


Worked weekends for "Lonesome" John in the late 1960's to mid 1970's processing error coins, packaging, and preparing orders. Worked with John Devine and Fred Weinberg on several California Error A Rama's in the early 1970's. Served as display judge at annual Error-A-Rama coin shows. Opened and operated mail order coin business DBA "CAL ERRORS" in 1976. Contributor to Alan Herbert's "Official Price Guide To Mint Errors" and Fivaz/Stanton "Cherrypickers' Guide". Worked Saturdays at Huntington Beach Coin Exchange 1980-1999. Had table and sold coins at a number of coin and gun shows in So CA, AZ and NV. Sell coins, tokens and currency on Facebook. Past "Errorscope" Editor. Presently CONECA Examiner.


Errorscope, Numismatic News, Civil War Token Journal, Error and Variety News

AA Degree LBCC pre Engineering, 1964 BS Degree CSULB Ind Technology, 1968

Awards and Honors
1st Place EAR Trophy for Civil War Token Errors, NLG Author of Year Award for best monthly coin column "Error News and Views" in small Numismatic paper, owned and published by Ray Anthony.

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