Have you recently inherited a coin collection that you believe has real rare or silver coins? Were you part of the Reddit-driven trading movement that bought up silver bullion in the winter, but now you’re not sure how to sell?

Before you go to find a buyer, there are a few things you should know about your coins to make sure that you get a fair price and a good return on your investment.

1. Is It Bullion?

If you have silver bullion coins, the selling process just got much easier. The definition of silver bullion is a coin or bar that is 99.9% silver. It should have a hallmark that should say so, often depicted as a decimal like .999 fineness.

When you have bullion, the quality or rarity is less likely to be a factor in the price (though harder-to-find examples do go for higher prices). The primary factor you need to worry about is the spot price of silver. If you can sell close to spot, you’re in a good position. Since bullion products are often resold and do not require refining (like lower purity silver or gold), you tend to get paid a better price when selling.

2. How Much Is It Worth?

There are many factors that affect the value of your coins: weight, fineness, collectability, and more. It can be hard to know what you should expect to get unless you know more. Get your precious metals evaluated at a bullion and coin dealer like Muzeum Gold and Silver, the home base of the Great Canadian Roadshow, an event widely known for its free evaluations.

Take it to an expert for a professional insight and information. For example, Muzeum coin experts always separate any coins into three major categories:

  • Items that are rare and collectible and worth more than their precious metal value
  • Items that are worth their precious metal value
  • Items that are worth their face value

Depending on the evaluation, you will be guided on the best way to maximize your profits on your sale – whether that means selling them for the precious metal value, or finding a collector in the market who is searching for that specific item.

3. Is It Rare?

In most cases, the value of a silver coin will be based on its precious metal content. Numismatic coins are a bit different. Their value is above and beyond both the precious metal content because it’s both rare and sought-after on the collector market.

These are some of the more common sources of numismatic value:

  • Limited mintage
  • A variation that sets it apart from mass-produced coins
  • Errors in the minting process

There’s always a market for numismatic coins.

4. Is It Authentic?

In any business dealing with valuables, there are likely to be counterfeiters. Especially when it comes to inherited collections or a coin whose origins you don’t know, you will want to make sure it’s real.

Although counterfeiters have become sophisticated, there are three details that will tell whether or not a specimen is real: weight, size, and metal content. All three have to be correct, or else you’re likely dealing with a fake. Taking it to a professional numismatist for an evaluation is the best way to authenticate your silver.

5. Is It Uncirculated?

Mints regularly release coins to the public that are not intended for circulation. Instead, they’re available from mints and local dealers. Unlike junk silver that was in use for who-knows-how-long, uncirculated coins have never been touched by human hands without a protective barrier. Human skin produces oils and acids that can tarnish silver, reducing their value to collectors.

Make sure you get a fair price for your silver by learning what you have. An evaluation will tell you everything you need to know before you sell silver.