Advice about Selling Gold Coins by Auction
Advice about selling gold coins buy auction, including gold sovereigns, Krugerrands and other bullion and collectors coins Look at both the seller's & buyer's premium.
Are Auctions the Best Way to Buy & Sell Coins?
Many people believe that the best way to buy coins is in an auction. Others think that the best way to sell coins is in an auction. Which view is right, if any?
As leading dealers in gold bullion and collectors coins for over 40 years, we believe we are quite well qualified to offer some advice about selling gold coins.
For a number of years, the world's biggest auction houses, Sotheby, Christies, Philips (Glendinings), and a few others have held large auctions of important collections. These prestigious auction houses can provide, or used to provide, a useful market place for high value coins, large hoards, and larger collections. In recent years, the number of coin auctions held by the larger auctioneers appears to have declined. Smaller more specialised auction houses have often taken their place, but they too appear to struggle for business.
One major drawback to selling in some of these larger auctions was the delay. It might be necessary to wait several months for the "right" auction, then it would take time to catalogue, after which there would be a wait to get paid. It might take 3 to 6 months from deciding to sell to getting paid. At any auction houses, but particularly at the larger ones, it was quite possible for very high grade coins to be handled carelessly at public or trade viewings. This could result in lower prices obtained, or even unsold coins being returned to their owner in poorer condition.
The larger auction houses charge for photographs in their catalogues, and coins consigned to them are not automatically covered by insurance. This could add extra charges to the costs of selling.
There was major publicity about a decade back when the larger auction houses introduced buyer's premiums, i.e. a charge to the buyer over and above the hammer price. This was in addition to the commission charged to the seller. For years the larger auction houses had been charging between 10% and 15% commission to sellers, but vendors could shop around and haggle over commissions, especially when large collections were involved. Also many auction houses share their commissions with agents who introduce sellers. the buyers premium was a simple but clever and very effective way to grab a bigger percentage of the sale price. Although a number of major antique dealers staged buyers strikes, these quickly faded out. Buyers at an auction are not in any position to haggle about buying commissions, whereas vendors are.
The result of these double commissions has been to create a significant jump in the profits and margins of the large auction houses. Smaller auction houses have followed their lead. Most auctioneers now charge between 10% and 15% commission to both buyers and sellers, typically making about 25% total commission. In the UK, and probably similar in most other countries, VAT cannot be reclaimed on buyers premiums, many vendors cannot reclaim VAT, so the cost of selling by auction is now close to 30% of the hammer price. Many, probably most, dealers will work for less, depending on the type of item.
Electronic (Internet) Auctions
Internet auctions such as Ebay have made significant changes in the international marketing of many different types of item, but particularly to antiques and collectables including coins.
They have made it easier for buyers and sellers to meet up to buy and sell, particularly for specialised items, and second-hand goods, the type of article which the mainstream High Street retailer is not good at.
eBay have established a de facto monopoly within the space of a few years, and now has over 90% of the internet auction market for coins. Any such monopoly should be a cause for concern by its users.
More to follow...
Please see our separate page of advice about selling gold coins on eBay.
Gold Bullion Coins
Providing you go to a specialised gold coin dealer, you can buy for less and sell for more using traditional dealers, and get paid more quickly than by using auctions. Many bullion dealers work on as little as 1% or 2% "commission" when buying or selling, depending on volume. A margin of 5% or 10% would be quite high for a bullion coin dealer. This compares very favourably with all auction houses, even electronic ones such as Ebay.
If you have gold bullion coins to sell, you would be best to contact one or two dealers, including us. We are happy to buy any quantity of gold bullion coins large or small.
Some sellers seem to think that all dealers always pay low prices. While there are many small dealers who undoubtedly make most of their money by paying very low prices, most dealers pay very competitive prices. We, for example, are happy to buy most gold coins in any quantity, often at 1% or 2% discount. Considering this is less than eBay's starting commissions, we think this is a good deal for most people. You also get a cheque by return post, rather than having to wait. You can also deliver them in person to our premises.
Naturally, we are not the only dealers around, it's worth checking round your local area first, which can save you postage costs. Bear in mind though that you may need to contact a specialist dealer, and we have only about two major competitors in the UK. If you try to sell to a jeweller, they may acid-test and damage your coins without asking your permission, because they are unlikely to know the gold content, or to have specific coin (numismatic) expertise. They will usually expect to buy your coins at 10% discount, or even worse. Coin dealers may have more expertise, but many coin dealers prefer to avoid gold bullion because of the low margins, and the necessity to lay out large amounts of cash, and other cost such as insurance cover and risks while the coins are in their possession. Some dealers prefer to stick to Roman coins or some such specialist area.
Selling Gold Coins to Us
New - Buy / Sell Prices on Gold Sovereign 4 Coin Proof Sets
We have recently created a new version of our original Proof Sovereign Sets page, with buy and sell prices quoted.
Buying Gold Coins & Bars on eBay
We Buy Krugerrands
We Buy Gold Sovereigns
We Buy Gold Bars