Often clients find themselves with an old coin or bank note collection that might be something from their past, or a collection gifted to them from a loved one. The idea of caring for or determining the value of a numismatic collection can be intimidating, especially if they do not have a background in collecting coins and bank notes. It’s important to find the right information to determine the value of your collection. Here are a few tips to help you determine what your collection is worth.

First thing is to figure out what you want out of the collection. If you want to know how much you could sell your items for, you should look at the Realizable Cash Value. If you are buying coins or notes to build on the collection, the Retail Value will be the appropriate value to consider.  If you are insuring a collection, Insurance Value should be used.

The first point of order is figuring out what the metal price of your pieces is on the market. You’ll want to follow the current market pricing for gold and silver, as that will determine roughly the minimum of what you can expect based on the percentage of these metals present in your coin. A good guide for coin value is the latest Charlton Coin Guide, which you can use with the latest market information to make an informed decision. A reputable dealer will not only check the metal contents of your pieces, they will be able to place the coin in numismatic value, which depending on rarity and condition, may increase the coin value quite a bit. Building a relationship with a place you can actually go visit in person is key, as you want to ensure you’re dealing with a knowledgeable and reputable dealer with extensive experience. Do a little background research into places near you; the peace of mind is worth it. 

Adding to your find is another fantastic option for someone who has just landed a nice base collection inheritance. Being informed is key, and here too, the Charlton Catalogue of Canadian Coins is considered top notch. For banknotes, we recommend Canadian Government Paper Money, also published by Charlton Press. If you find yourself with World Coins, then we recommend looking to Krause Publications, as these publish a variety of the most respected price guides and catalogues. 

For insurance, you’ll want to have the collection appraised, and for that again, you need to visit a business that is worth your trust. Depending on the size of the lot, we suggest calling ahead of time and booking a consultation, so you get one on one experience where you won’t feel rushed and can take time to really understand what you have. Do not clean your coins before you bring them in to either appraise or sell; this is a mistake many new collection owners’ make. Chemicals and the oils on your hands can damage and depreciate the value of what you have, so handle everything with gloves. For banknotes, do not iron or clean them, and if they’re in plastic sleeves, do not remove them at all. 

All this can feel a bit overwhelming at first, but that’s why a good dealer can help with the transition, and gives not only their best advice, but can guide and assist you in the direction you choose. We have a list of helpful links for you here, to make the decision-making process as painless and hopefully as enjoyable as possible. For assistance, call us at 1-888-236-2646 with any of your numismatic needs, or visit our reference book selection available online at