You see it every day on coin collecting forums and Facebook groups: “I found this coin collection while going through my relative’s estate, but I don’t know what any of it is or how much it’s worth. Help!”
You understand the history and value of your coin collection, but how do you make sure that knowledge gets passed on? If you’re thinking of passing your collection to a family member, it helps to give them all the information they need.
First, make sure all of your coins are in good quality, long-term holders. You don’t know how soon the new owner of the collection will be able to take a look at it, and you don’t want any of your coins to lose value because they were in a lower-quality storage system.
Next, make sure everything is labeled. Collector Tom O’Brien writes, “jot down the price you paid for an item, compared to the catalog value. Only thing is, most people don’t think of doing this until they are already deep into the hobby.” If you can’t put all of the information on the coin holder, consider keeping a notebook with the information in it. Include all identification of the coin, as well as the year you purchased it and how much you paid. This will be incredibly helpful to the future collector in understanding the value of the collection.
Steve Wolfe, another long-time collector, explains: “I have extensive spreadsheets on my collection complete with purchase data and photographs so it can be properly accounted for if I sell or if my heirs do. I’ve been doing this for over 25 years now. I also have a document explaining the basics of the business side of the hobby and contacts of people and organizations I trust my wife or children to do business with.”
The end goal, regardless of method, is to ensure that your knowledge of your collection is passed down with the physical coins. Decades of research, roll-hunting, and other numismatic labor should not be lost.