How to sort a very large coin collection?

General discussions about canadian coins.
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Sly Lake Moth
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How to sort a very large coin collection?

Post by Sly Lake Moth » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:24 am

Hello all,

I've been asked by my employer (I'm something of a personal assistant) to sort through his father's coin collection, roughly. While I learn very quickly, this is a rather large coin collection - he has, for example, nearly 6,000 nickels from the 1930s, rolled by year.

Sorting through the bulk stuff like those nickels isn't TOO bad, because I can safely assume that he went through them and would have pulled out anything extremely valuable: but I still have a few thousand individually packaged coins that are sorted into little coin boxes that it will take a long time to puzzle out!

I should mention that it's 95% Canadian coins, and then mostly between 1920 and the late 1970's, but there are some coins dating back to the 18th century.

I guess my question is, where would you start? I'm in the Toronto area (more or less), and I've already identified all the gold, platinum, and silver bouillon coins, so that's done at least!

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Lightw4re
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Re: How to sort a very large coin collection?

Post by Lightw4re » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:30 am

First, identify Key Dates and coins with the highest value :
http://www.coinsandcanada.com/coins-prices.php

Second, separate your silver coins from the rest of the collection (10 cents to 1 dollar coins).

Third, look for the coins with the highest grade, mint condition.

Fourth, search for major errors and varieties.


It looks like you will have a lot of fun with this nice collection of coins. In the process, feel free to ask us any questions!

Bill in Burl
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Location: Golden Horseshoe, ONT

Re: How to sort a very large coin collection?

Post by Bill in Burl » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:15 am

I would suggest that you buy a Canadian coin guide first, either Charlton's Vol 1 or the Whitman Haxby guide or the Wiley/Haxby guide.... all published annually. Then go over the denomination sections in question so you have a general idea as to which coins sell at a good premium over the rest. Just pick a condition/grade to compare for all the dates (say VF-20 or XF-40) to give you a general idea of the scarcity of different dates, rather than condition. When you are going through piles/boxes, set those scarcer coins aside. Also put aside those that appear to have little or no wear or have a luster to them for coins, say, 1955 or before. All 10 cent to dollar coins before 1967 are .800 silver and those 1920 and before are .925 (including the 5 cents) ... keep the silver separate from those after 1966. For silver coins 1920-1967, there are .6 troy oz of silver for each face dollar. If the daily world silver price is $30, each face dollar of coinage would be worth $18 full scrap silver price. A dealer should give you 85-90% of that $18 price ($16-16.50 or so). So, for example, a 5 dollar roll of dimes would be worth $80 or a little more to most dealers that buy scrap silver.

Condition is everything in collecting .. it makes no difference the age of the coin. It is condition and supply/demand scarcity. Cleaned coins will substantially reduce their value .. don't clean any of them and set aside those that appear to have been. From the dates listed, I would expect 95% or more of them will just end up being bulk lots. Check Ebay for what bulk or roll lots of each date/decade denomination are going for ... use the section for what they actually SOLD for, not the prices that the vendor sets. You will get a very good idea what things are actually worth by seeing what's been sold in the last few months, not what's being offered. Good luck with your chore, but it should be fun.
Bill in Burl

Sly Lake Moth
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Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:03 pm

Re: How to sort a very large coin collection?

Post by Sly Lake Moth » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:23 pm

Thanks guys (gals?)! We'll be selling the entire collection, ultimately, but I'm just trying to pick out the rarer/more valuable pieces so they don't get scrapped by accident!
You can look forward to a bunch of questions from me regarding grading, presumably in a different section of the forums! First up will be what I think is an AU-50 1948 Silver Dollar.
The hunt continues!

-Cheers, -Kat

Bill in Burl
Posts: 625
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:41 am
Location: Golden Horseshoe, ONT

Re: How to sort a very large coin collection?

Post by Bill in Burl » Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:38 pm

When you said that there were 6,000 nickels, my mind conjured up visions of 1950-1970's pennies and nickels, with some silver mixed in. If you have stuff like a '48 dollar, then you need to pick up a copy of Canadian Coin News as well to get a moderately-accurate RETAIL Trend on the coins. Then check Ebay sales for how much coins actually SOLD for, not what they are asking. But first, you need to learn how to accurately grade.
Bill in Burl

Bill in Burl
Posts: 625
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:41 am
Location: Golden Horseshoe, ONT

Re: How to sort a very large coin collection?

Post by Bill in Burl » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:38 am

If you need any help with Large Cents, preferably Vickies, PM me and I'll give you a hand. I am just down the road in Burlington.
Bill in Burl

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