Coin auction advice and tips


04 March 2021
John Morgan of Sheffield Auction Gallery gives you a behind the scenes insight into how to buy and sell at a coin auction.

1. Buying and selling coins at auction

There are a number of options if you want to buy and sell coins at auction…

  • Attend the auction in person
  • Book a telephone line and bid remotely
  • Leave a commission bid with the auctioneers
  • Bid via the internet
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2. What are the benefits of buying or selling coins at auction?

  • As a seller an auction allows you to bring the item to a wide audience.
  • As a buyer you may be able to find rarer items.
  • There's a level playing field - you can bid anonymously.
  • An auctioneer brings everyone together to drive the best price possible
    …however, there is a premium, to a seller this is 17.5% and a buyer pays 18.5%.

3. Coin auction tips

  • Go and view the items you are interested in, and view them well.
  • If you're unsure about anything… ask! Auctioneers will give you the information you need.
  • If you're unsure about an item… stay unsure and don't buy it!
  • Beware of other charges: internet bids can come with a commission.
  • Know your limit - don't pay more than you intended.
  • Condition is king! Ensure you know the condition of the item you are buying, it might not be included in the catalogue or description.

4. Auction jargon

Description - what the auctioneer believes the item is, but beware it doesn't always include condition.
Condition report - an additional description you can request, which gives additional details which may not appear in the catalogue.
Catalogue - a list of all the items to be sold in a particular sale.
Lot number - a number given to each item, or group of items, and the order they will be sold.
Hammered price - price at which the item sold at auction.
Estimate - what the auctioneer believes an item will sell for. But the item may sell for much more.
Commission - any additional charges buyers or sellers may have to pay (always be clear on this first and check whether they include VAT)

Think your ready to visit an auction? Discover the nearest auction houses near you with our directory.


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