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A Guide To Starting A Business Selling Old Coins

a guide to starting a business selling old coins

There is a popular ‘old-school’ way that is still as effective as it was before for making some cash. The selling and trading of old coins is still a large market one can dig into to earn some extra money.

Most people want to earn some extra income to top up their living expenses, but only a lucky minority are generally able to find a stable and rewarding source of income outside regular employment. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies offer investors easy ways to dabble in side-hustles that make cash, but selling old coins can be quite lucrative if you know how!

In this guide we will learn about the old coin industry in detail. We will cover how to conduct market research and find the best ways to sell old and rare coins so that you can turn this hobby into cash.

Step-By-Step Guide To Starting An Old Coin Business

Before you start working on your old coin business, you need to understand a few things and follow the initial steps below:

  • First of all you need to decide what kind of business that you want to build. Will your business be that of a specific niche or type of coin, or you will be working on a broader market area like online marketplace or local consignment shops.
  • After that you need to start doing relevant market research and build a network with established coin dealers. You will have to join some trade organisations to be in with the right crowds, and It will help if you read publications related to the industry. One of the biggest routes to success in this business idea is to create strong relationships with other traders in your area.
  • Once you are ready, you have to decide what the legal structure of your business will be. Your business can be that of a sole trader, partnership, private limited company or a corporation.

Each type of business has its own pros and cons largely around the reporting requirements and paperwork involved in tax returns and the liability for debts. You should make sure that you understand each option fully before deciding which is the right route for you.

  • The final step is to set up the infrastructure of your business. You have to find a good location and get your licensing or permits from local councils if applicable. Once you have these fundamentals in place, it’s time to source some old coins ready to sell them on at a profit!

Platforms like eBay and Etsy will provide you with a large audience where you can use effective market strategy to create a customer base.

Can You Make A Profit Selling Old Coins?

It might seem surprising to some that selling old coins can help you earn money. It does take a fair amount of knowledge of the industry to make a profit, but with the right customer base and competitive, but fair pricing, you can absolutely make a profit selling old coins.

An old coin business allows you to access a large variety of coins coming from different historical timelines and cultures. You can target coin collectors who are looking for some special pieces or they have a unique collection of themes like Ancient Greek coins or currencies of the Renaissance period. .

This business will also allow you to create relationships and connections with other coin dealers or collectors from all around the world. It’s these relationships with others in the know, that will help to create new opportunities for trade and networking. Both of which are vital for the growth and success of your business.

Understanding The Coin Industry

Understanding the industry that you want to work in is key for every business venture.

For the coin industry, this would include:

  • Dynamics of supply and demand that can affect the prices of these coins
  • Historic Pricing – what has previously sold well
  • Demand for different coins – which era / style of coins are popular?
  • Types and grades of coins – not all coins are equal!
  • Strategies for buying and selling coins

Whether you’re just getting started, or are trying to expand an existing coin selling enterprise, it pays to be knowledgeable in these key areas.

In addition to all these, it’s very important for you to maintain an effective communication and relationship with your customers. They will help bring more business for you and create a strong client base for your business.

Conducting Market Research And Analysing Competitors

Are you aware of what makes a business successful? It is a strong market research – knowing your target audience and shaping your offering to their wants and needs.

Market research is a practice that allows you to identify the needs and preferences of your consumer in the target market. It enables you to find gaps in what the current market is offering so that you can use your own business product and services to fill this gap.

Good market research can help you in developing some effective marketing strategies and use them in your product and services to meet the needs of your customer.

In doing a research for old coin market you need to follow the given checklist:

  • Find out about how your competitors use their product and services to attract the clients.
  • Closely analyse their marketing strategy
  • Evaluate their pricing structure.
  • See how customers are responding to their business and what are some points that need to be improved.

After learning the details and making improvements in your own business strategy, you will be able to create a business that not only stands out in the market but also brings amazing profits on table.

What Is The Best Way To Sell Old Coins?

Once you learn about how to start and run an old coin business, you need to choose between the different options for selling old coins.

Some of the options that you have are:

  • A large group of old coin dealers are selling them on sites like Ebay and Etsy. These platforms have a large consumer pool and they charge you lower fees than traditional auction houses.
  • You can also visit different coin shows. In these shows the collectors and dealers will look at your pieces and buy if they find them appealing.
  • Retail channels are also a great option for coin selling. Some of the popular retail channels include antique shops or coin dealerships
  • The downside of retail stores is that they are few and far between, meaning that it may take additional effort on your part to make in-roads in the area, especially if it’s not local to you.

The decision of how to best sell your coins will be largely dependent on your own preferences and the quality of coins that you are carrying. If you have researched your market and assessed the risks that you might come across, then you should have some clear options to choose from that will suit your target market. .

What To Prepare Before You Start Selling Old Coins


Once you know where you will be selling your coins the next thing that you need to do is to build your inventory up. Your inventory is the stock (coins) that you have to sell.

To be as competitive as possible, it helps to have a wide variety of coins, and a broad spectrum of price points. The coins will need to be valuable to buyers which could come from their quality, scarcity or condition.

To tick these boxes, you will need to:

  • Source coins from trustable and known dealers/sellers in the market
  • Work with partners that can help you with the documentation of some rare older coins to validate their authenticity.

It’s important for you to know and understand how much inventory you need that will help you meet the customer demands without putting yourself at loss.

Marketing & Storage

Once you have the inventory it is crucial to have an efficient system to help you with storing, displaying and marketing your old coins.

You will have to buy some high quality coin holders, display cases or any other storage container. It’s important to invest in good quality packaging since it will help you in highlighting the worth of each piece in your collection. It will also help if these are easily transportable so that you can bring your coins to people to view.

For maximum exposure, you can create an online store, website or social media page. They are quite useful in marketing businesses to different audiences from all over the world.

To get the best out of these platforms, you should take some high quality pictures and write clear and authentic descriptions of each piece.

How To Identify Your Old Coins

Old coins are a fascinating and valuable collectible and it can be fun to learn how to identify them, as well as essential for your business. To start, the first thing you should consider is the denomination of the coin. This will typically be indicated by a number (e.g., 5) or a specific symbol (e.g., $), along with an abbreviation of the currency unit (e.g., USD, GBP). In addition, you can use the date on the coin to determine its age and value.

The shape of coins can also be useful in identifying them – for example, many old coins minted prior to the 1700s are irregular in shape due to different manufacturing techniques.

Knowing how to identify and date old coins will be a key part of your business. It comes down to several key points – denomination, currency unit, date, and shape.


You can identify the old coin by reading the denomination of the coins. A denomination of the coin is a number along with the symbol and a currency unit that is mentioned in an abbreviated form. For example: $5USD. You can also use the date on the coin to find its value and age.

Coin Shape

The shapes of old coins are also helpful in determining how old they are. Irregular shapes were common before the 1700’s where there were no repeatable mass manufacturing techniques available.

More modern coins will be more regular in shape, like the round coins that we’re used to using today.

Coin Size

The size of a coin is another good factor to use to try and identify them. Coins come in a wide range of size depending on the country or the timeline in which they were minted. The Ancient Romans for example made coins that were a lot bigger than the coins that we have now in the 21st century.

Coin Colour 

As time goes by the colours of coins have also changed. You can identify old coins by noticing the changes in the colour of metal that has been used to mint them.

Inscriptions on Coins 

Last but not the least, you have to see the inscriptions and images on the coins. Different inscriptions can be helpful in dating a coin as can the imagery used on them. The images can be of simple aesthetic design or informational details like mint marks or reference catalogue numbers – take a close look to find all the available information on the coins.

How To Establish The Condition Of Your Old Coins

Since you are already looking to start an old coin business you might be familiar with coin grading. It is the method used to note the condition of old coins and is helpful in setting a value for the coin ahead of finding a buyer for it.

Numismatists are experts of coin grading. They use a set criteria to check the features of coins and you may well need the services of one if you find a particularly rare gem!

The criteria that numismatists use to grade a coin is based on :

  • The appearance of the coin
  • If any defects or flaws are present on the coin e.g, scratches, nicks, tarnishes and dents

Coins come in a lot of different grades (just like precious stones or metals). Each grade has its own unique features and properties that help to decide its worth.

If you can’t find an expert to help you with this process, then you can examine the coins closely yourself using a magnifying instrument that allows you to:

  • Check the surface quality of the coin
  • Check the quality of metal
  • Find signs of wear and tear around the face or rim of coin

A key feature to consider while you are grading the coin is the surface quality. You should see how smooth and lustrous it is in comparison to the other coins that were made around the same time and using the same methods.

Another grading tip is to weigh the coin using a weighing scale to see if the weight matches with that of the original coins of the time. If you miss any of these details you might not be looking at a genuine coin.

Which Old Coins Are In Demand?

Some of the most popular coins that are in demand right now are:

1973 EEC 50 Pence CoinCoin collectors across Europe and beyond treasure it as a commemoration of the United Kingdom’s entry into the European Economic Community.
2012 London Olympics Aquatics Fifty PenceHonours one of the most recognisable sports events in modern history.
1983 Two Pence “New Pence” CoinA coin minted by mistake.
2015 Silver Two Pence CoinHonours Sir Isaac Newton’s discovery of gravity.
2009 Kew Gardens Fifty Pence CoinCelebrates the most important botanical display in history.
2008 ‘Undated 20 Pence CoinAn early twentieth-century coin depicting Queen Elizabeth II’s first official picture.

Overall, these old coins represent important moments and milestones from throughout British history and continue to draw attention from both numismatists and casual collectors alike.

Should I Get My Coins Appraised?

A coin appraisal is where you ask a professional coin expert to review and assess your coins. The benefit of this is that you will get a professional opinion on its value, market demand and worth, the downside is that it may cost you money to have this service carried out.

You should therefore weigh up the decision based on how likely you think the coin is going to be worth a significant sum of money. It may be that you save this specialist service to authenticate the value of particular rare coins that you are already fairly certain are going to be in demand rather than get every coin in your collection appraised professionally.

Ultimately, whether or not getting your old coins appraised is beneficial will depend on your personal goals and the overall state of your coin-selling business. If you are looking to make a profit by selling your collection, then an appraisal may help to maximise your return.

Final Thoughts

The buying and selling of old coins can generate a profitable business but it is certainly a labour of love. As with all businesses, you will need to do your market research, get a good collection of stock that you can sell on for a profit, and understand the nuances of this industry. It’s certainly a business that will require a genuine interest in coins and you may decide to keep it as a passion hobby on the sideline or combine it with the buying and selling of other antique artefacts.


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