Coin and Medal Consignment
Old, uncirculated coins gathering dust in your closet could be a valuable piece of history and worth far more than you imagine. When you are unsure of the value of what you own, Sotheby's offers an easy, discreet way to find out, “How much are my coins worth?” Simply submit images and information about your rare coins or medals through our easy-to-use online estimate form, to receive your complimentary evaluation.
Sotheby’s commitment to numismatics is centuries long. It is the oldest auctioneer of coins in the world; the department was the second established after books and manuscripts. In the past few decades Sotheby’s has sold some of the most important collections ever formed and realized numerous record prices,including the 2002 sale of the 1933 Double Eagle for $7,590,010. Recently, Sotheby’s 2018 sale of Historic Coins and Medals achieved $5,094,629. This auction featured the collection of Ralph and Lois Stone, and was highlighted by a collection of magnificent Morgan silver dollars, a complete set of three cent silver pieces, a virtually complete set of United States silver commemorative coins (1892-1954), a small selection of United States gold coins, and an original set of the 1915 Panama-Pacific commemorative coins, all in superb condition. The auction set a number of records for individual rarities, and established two of the top ten prices realized for any coins sold at auction in 2018.
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Rare Coins and Medals Sold at Sotheby's
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Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is coin collecting so popular?Coins and medals reflect the artistic, economic and political history of the world. For example, President Theodore Roosevelt commissioned America’s greatest sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, to redesign some of the nation’s coins; Brutus struck a coin to “celebrate” his murder of Julius Caesar; and the infamous 1933 double eagle, sold at Sotheby’s in 2002 for a world record $7,590,020, embodied the depths of the depression, criminal intrigue and the end of gold coins as part of the American monetary system. Join the excitement by buying coins and selling coins with Sotheby’s.
- Which kinds of coins should I collect?United States coins and medals are among the most actively collected. Collectors can focus on a single denomination such as the popular Morgan silver dollars, made between 1878 and 1921. Or one can collect examples of various designs or a particular metal or year. If you wish to collect medals, Indian Peace medals provide a glimpse into the interaction of two disparate cultures.
- How are rare coins graded?How well a coin has survived the ravages of time can affect its aesthetic properties and also play an integral role in establishing its value. For many years, grading relied on self-explanatory terms such as “poor” condition and “brilliant uncirculated” condition. Definitions such as these are still used in ancient coin appraisal and most foreign coin appraisal. However, within recent decades, US coins have been graded on a scale of 1-70. Numbers 60 and above represent Mint State coins, while anything MS 65 or above is considered to be of “gem” quality.
- Are uncirculated coins always worth more than circulated coins?It depends. Generally speaking, the quality of preservation is particularly important with United States coins. For example, a heavily worn Morgan silver dollar made in San Francisco in 1884 can be had for under $50. But the same example, offered in the recent Ralph Stone Collection, was in virtually perfect condition (MS 67). Estimated to bring $300,000-500,000, it realized $735,000 at Sotheby’s in New York.
- How do I find a reputable rare coin dealer?As with all collecting areas, it is best to do research to find reputable dealers and auction houses and also read a book or two on the subject. The internet offers many open-access price data-bases and informational sites. Using these resources will enhance the collecting experience and make you a more knowledgeable and savvy collector. Sotheby’s coin and medal specialists offer years of experience and abide by impeccable business standards. Request a complimentary, no-obligation coin appraisal or estimate.
Sotheby’s is your most reliable resource to buy coins, sell coins or consign rare coins, a coin collection, uncirculated coins, antique coins, old coins, a Morgan silver dollar, 1933 double eagle, three cent silver pieces, United States silver commemorative coins, United States gold coins, US coins, commemorative half dollars, liberty head nickel, seated liberty dime, seated liberty quarter, seated liberty half dollar, liberty head quarter eagle, set of Indian head quarter eagles, liberty head double eagle, Saint Gaudens double eagle, military medals, and Indian Peace Medals.