Best Online Coin Auctions

Heritage Auctions offers a good all-around experience for online coin auctions

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Online coin auctions are websites and apps that enable buyers to bid on and purchase coins and precious metals. Also, it's important for sellers to know they’re working with trustworthy auction houses that will strive for maximum value. For a coin collector or investor, knowing where you can go for trustworthy, low-fee online coin auctions is important.

The best online coin auctions have a reliable inventory, competitive pricing, and a history of providing authentic, high-quality coins that accurately match the description to customers. When spending your money on collectible coins and precious metals, trust and pricing are the two most important factors.

Best Online Coin Auctions of 2021

Best Overall : Heritage Auctions


Heritage Auctions

Heritage Auctions

  • Fees: Up to 10% seller's fee ($25 minimum), 20% buyer’s premium ($19 minimum)
  • Free Appraisal/Grading: Yes
  • Coins Insured: Yes
Why We Chose It

We picked Heritage Auctions because it is a large, respected auction house that includes free appraisals, product insurance, reasonable fees, and coin-specific experts to help you through the listing and buying processes.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Staff coin experts available for valuations and other services

  • Free appraisals and grading, including insurance

  • Wide selection of U.S. and international coins

Cons
  • Minimum $25 seller’s fee

  • Some customer service complaints

Overview

Heritage Auctions is a large online auction house based in Dallas, Texas, with offices in 11 additional locations worldwide. Heritage Auctions lists many additional items but stands out as a strong provider of online coin auctions thanks to a staff of in-house experts who appraise and grade coins for free, helping it secure our top overall spot.

Sellers can rely on the experts to ensure they list their coins with accurate descriptions. That also helps buyers trust that they’re getting exactly what they bid and pay for. Coins are also insured until they are received by the buyer at no extra cost.

Buyers can choose between online auctions and scheduled auctions, and most online reviews at sites like Yelp and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) share a positive experience with the bidding and shipping processes. Online complaints focus on slow customer service responses and problems with shipping, but those are a rarity compared to happy customers. The seller’s fee of up to 10%, with a $25 minimum, is reasonable among industry peers.

Best for Rare Coins : Stack’s Bowers Galleries


Stack’s Bowers

 Stack’s Bowers

  • Fees: 20% buyer's fee
  • Free Appraisal/Grading: Yes
  • Coins Insured: Yes
Why We Chose It

We chose Stack’s Bowers Galleries because it specializes in selling rare coins and currencies with active listings for U.S. coins, world coins, ancient coins, and bullion coins and offers free expert grading and appraisals from multiple global offices.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Extensive listings for rare coins by category

  • Expert staff offers free grading and appraisals

  • Long history of selling rare coins and collections

Cons
  • Not fully transparent about seller's fees

  • Higher fees than some competitors

Overview

Stack’s Bowers Galleries started more than 80 years ago in New York and maintains a positive reputation for online sales of rare and collectible coins, garnering the top nod in this category. The company is currently based in Costa Mesa, California, and maintains offices across the United States, Paris, and Hong Kong. It runs online live auctions for coins and currencies, as well as regular daily sales.

While Stack’s Bowers offers free grading and appraisals, it doesn’t publicly share seller’s fees. Buyers pay a 20% fee based on the final sale price. Stack’s Bowers has a history of selling large, valuable collections and coins, with many seven-figure sales in its past.

There are very few online complaints regarding Stack's Bowers, and Better Business Bureau reviews share an overall positive experience for buyers and sellers. It may not be the cheapest option around, but it is a reputable option for finding unique and rare coins for auction online.

Best for International Coins : Spink


Spink

Spink

  • Fees: 20% buyer's premium, variable commission
  • Free Appraisal/Grading: Yes
  • Coins Insured: Yes
Why We Chose It

We picked Spink because the U.K.-based auctioneer operates multiple international coin auctions based in six global locations.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • International coin seller with auctions in six countries

  • Hundreds of years of auction experience

  • Scheduled live auctions with advance online bidding

Cons
  • Limited inventory depending on timing

  • No ongoing sales outside of auctions

  • Lower-fee competitors available

Overview

If you want to buy coins from outside the United States, Spink could be a good choice. Spink, based in London, traces its roots back to 1666. It holds online and live auctions in the United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, China, Singapore, and Japan. Its collection of offerings is diverse, unique, and maintains an international focus.

The inventory may be limited depending on when you arrive at the site. Auctions at Spinks display large groups of items together by theme. You’ll want to keep an eye on upcoming auctions for coin and numismatic-themed auctions.

Buyers should plan on a 20% premium on the final sale price. Sellers pay a variable commission, and rates are not shared publicly. Again, it’s not the cheapest option in the world. But the experience, reputation, and offerings at Spinks make it a top destination for international coin auctions online.

Best for Coin Collections : eBay


 eBay

 eBay

  • Fees: 7% to 12.35% seller’s fee
  • Free Appraisal/Grading: No
  • Coins Insured: Up to $999 included
Why We Chose It

We chose eBay because it is one of the largest auction websites in the world, with many coin collections and individual coins listed for sale at all times.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Well-known online auction marketplace

  • Many ongoing listings for coin lots and collections

  • Buy from individuals and larger coin sellers

Cons
  • No included appraisal or grading service

  • Higher potential for fraud than centralized auction houses

  • Many hobbyist and non-professional sellers

Overview

eBay is a place to buy just about any collectible you can think of, including a large section dedicated to coins and currency. As of this writing, there were more than 11,000 eBay search results for coin collections, including a mix of auctions and “buy now” offers, making it the best for collections. If you know what you’re looking for, there’s likely someone selling it on eBay.

While eBay connects you with many buying opportunities and professional sellers, there are plenty of bad deals, poor-quality coins, and first-time sellers, too. You may have to navigate many listings to find a specific type of collection or coins to fill in the spots in your collection. While it’s not common, there is also an increased risk of fraud and counterfeit coins on a large marketplace like eBay compared to a professional coin auction company.

On eBay, sellers pay all of the fees to the site. Selling fees are 12.35% for coin sales up to $7,500 and 7% for larger sales. Sellers may pay additional fees for special listing features or a large number of listings.

Best for Bullion Coins : Pristine Auction


Pristine Auctions

Pristine Auctions

  • Fees: 15% consignment fee ($5 minimum) plus $10 commission on lots of $25 or less, 17% buyer’s premium
  • Free Appraisal/Grading: No ($8 to $150)
  • Coins Insured: Yes with an automatic 1.5% fee
Why We Chose It

We like that Pristine Auction requires authentication for many sales and includes extensive listings for coins and bullion.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Extensive listings of bullion coins

  • Most coins are certified and graded

  • Easy-to-navigate online listings

Cons
  • Some competitors offer lower fees

  • Website focuses more on sports memorabilia

  • No free appraisal and grading service

Overview

Pristine Auctions is a large auction website based in Phoenix, Arizona. The site focuses primarily on sports memorabilia but has extensive listings for coins and other collectibles, as well. As of this writing, the site contained more than 700 listings in the coins and bullion section, earning it our top spot for bullion.

For sellers, the process is very easy. Pristine Auctions takes care of photos and listings, which are included in the seller’s fee. If an appraisal is needed, fees range from $8 to $150 depending on the item and are deducted from the sale price. Buyers pay a 17% premium on winning bids. There may be additional surcharges depending on payment methods and other options.

This is a relatively small, family-owned company and doesn’t have the long history of some competing coin auctioneers. Still, it does a great job of making the buying and selling processes easy and employs strong authentication policies. While there are a few complaints, it earns excellent reviews overall, and most customers have a positive experience.

Best for Live Auctions : LiveAuctioneers


LiveAuctioneers

LiveAuctioneers

  • Fees: Seller's fees from $199 + 15% for up to 400 items, buyer’s premium varies (around 15% to 25%)
  • Free Appraisal/Grading: No
  • Coins Insured: No
Why We Chose It

We chose LiveAuctioneers because it specializes in live auctions, including online and offline auctions, with extensive listings for coins and bullion from many participating auction houses.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Live auctions for coins, bullion, and other items

  • Bid on listings from multiple auction houses

  • Extensive listings and an easy-to-navigate website

Cons
  • Fees vary and can be high

  • No free appraisals or included insurance

  • Auctions are listed and handled by each auction house

Overview

LiveAuctioneers is a live auction website that brings together auction houses from around the United States. It’s like an eBay for professional auctioneers only, where sellers pay fees for bulk listings that typically include hundreds of items, many of which are professionally appraised. However, appraisals are not guaranteed or included by default. The company's experience and professionalism lift it to the top spot for live auctions.

Shoppers pay variable fees that change depending on the item and sale price, with buyer’s fees ranging from around 15% to 25% of the final sale price.

Some buyers like that LiveAuctioneers brings together listings from many participating auction houses, while others may dislike shopping from a disjointed group of sellers. But for live auctions online, LiveAuctioneers gives you an excellent selection. It holds very good reviews on Trustpilot but more complaints with the BBB, so be sure to closely read the terms and fees before bidding.

Best for Low Fees : GreatCollections


GreatCollections Coin Auctions

GreatCollections Coin Auctions

  • Fees: 0% to 5% seller’s fee, buyer’s fee up to 12.5% ($5 minimum)
  • Free Appraisal/Grading: Free appraisal, paid grading
  • Coins Insured: Yes
Why We Chose It

We chose GreatCollections because it charges low, competitive buyer’s and seller’s fees.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Very low seller’s fee up to 5% and competitive buyer’s fee

  • Extensive listings of collectible coins and bullion coins

  • Specializes in coins and currency

Cons
  • Coin grading isn’t free

  • Grading is done by outside companies

Overview

GreatCollections is a good destination for fee-conscious online coin auction buyers and sellers. Seller's fees are capped at 5%, while buyer’s fees go up to 12.5%, depending on how you pay for your order. While the site will give you a free estimate on the value of a coin you intend to sell, grading isn’t free. Costs are deducted from the seller’s payment.

GreatCollections focuses specifically on coins and currency. There are major sections for both U.S. and world coins, enabling you to browse by price and origin. The site design is a bit dated, but it works fine and is easy to navigate.

The site offers extensive insurance from the time the coin arrives at GreatCollections until the buyer receives it after shipping. The site maintains very good customer ratings with few complaints. If you’re a serious coin collector or want to buy with low fees, GreatCollections is a good choice.

Final Verdict

When shopping for coins at auction online, you can choose between mega auction sites like eBay and smaller, specialized sites focused just on coins and currency. Heritage Auctions is our top choice overall due to a balance of expertise and reasonable fees. However, those looking for lower costs or a more hands-off experience have options as well. If you’re hunting for something specific, any of these online coin auction sites should provide a positive experience.

Compare the Best Online Coin Auctions

Company Years in Business Fees  Average Shipping Time Coin Types Available
Heritage Auctions
Best Overall
45 Up to 10% seller's fee ($25 min);
20% buyer’s premium ($19 min)
1 to 4 weeks U.S., World, Historic/Ancient, Bullion
Stack’s Bowers Galleries
Best for Rare Coins 
88  Seller fee varies;
20% buyer’s premium 
USPS standard shipping times U.S., World, Historic/Ancient, Bullion
Spink
Best for International Coins
355  Seller's commission varies;
20% buyer’s premium 
Varies depending on the item U.S., World, Historic/Ancient, Bullion
eBay
Best for Coin Collections
26  7% to 12.35% seller’s fee  Varies based on the seller U.S., World, Historic/Ancient, Bullion
Pristine Auction
Best for Bullion Coins
11  15% consignment fee ($5 minimum) plus $10 commission on lots of $25 or less;
17% buyer’s premium 
Shipping within three business days of full payment U.S., World, Bullion
LiveAuctioneers
Best for Live Auctions
19  Seller's fee varies, optimized for auction houses;
Buyer’s premium varies, around 15% to 25% 
Varies depending on the auction house U.S., World, Historic/Ancient, Bullion
GreatCollections
Best for Low Fees
11  0% to 5% seller’s fee;
Buyer’s premium up to 12.5% ($5 minimum) 
Varies based on the customer-chosen shipping method U.S., World, Historic/Ancient, Bullion

How to Choose the Best Online Coin Auctions

When you’re shopping for valuable coins and metals, it’s important to pick trustworthy auction websites that stand behind the products they sell or give you clear information on what you’re buying so you know the risks. Also, pay close attention to fees, as some auction houses add a big premium onto final sale prices.

  • Company reputation and trust: Reputation and trust are important with auctions, as you want to know you’re really getting what you paid for. Free grading and appraisals are a major perk.
  • Fees and pricing: Some auction sites only charge sellers, while others charge both the buyer and seller. In some cases, total fees can add up to more than 30% of the item value.
  • Available inventory: You may want a rare coin that’s hard to find or you may have flexible goals. Depending on what you want, you may prefer a live listing site like eBay or a timed auction site with limited bidding windows.
  • Insurance: Protecting your product is important. The best coin auction companies provide full coverage until the product is in the buyer’s hand.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Do I Know How Much My Coins Are Worth for an Online Auction?

Many online coin auction websites offer free grading and appraisal services, while others charge extra. Depending on your knowledge of coins, you may be able to estimate the value by comparing recent online sales of similar coins. If you’re in doubt or have a large collection, it may be worthwhile to pay for an expert appraisal before selling (if it’s not included).

How Are Coins Packaged for Shipping After Auction?

Coin packaging may vary depending on the seller. Many coins are stored in hard plastic cases for protection. Beyond that, coins are typically shipped in plain boxes, padded envelopes, and other common shipping containers. Some auction sellers make a point to ship with unmarked packaging to avoid disclosing the contents. For high-value purchases, you may need to sign for the package on receipt.

Does the Online Coin Auction Site Insure My Coin Collection?

Online coin auction websites typically provide insurance from the time they receive the coin until it’s shipped and received. Shipping insurance may be included in the purchase price but sometimes requires an additional fee. Therefore, it’s best to only buy from insured sellers who guarantee your purchase through delivery.

What Happens If My Coins Don’t Sell at an Online Coin Auction?

If you list your coins for sale through an online coin auction and they don’t sell, you have several potential options. Some auctioneers give you the ability to relist your coins until they sell, or at least give it another try. Others may send the coins back, possibly requiring a restocking or return fee.

Methodology

When reviewing the best online coin auction sites, we looked for auctioneers with a positive reputation, reasonable pricing, and a large selection. Companies that employ in-house experts for grading and appraisals earned a higher ranking, as did companies with a long track record of providing coin auction services.

When choosing winners for each category, we looked at the types of coins sold, fees, expertise, and customer reviews to ensure the site would be a good fit for a wide range of buyers and sellers. Any coin auction website on this list may be a good fit, depending on your coin auction sale or purchase goals.

Article Sources

  1. Yelp. "Heritage Auctions - Dallas, TX." Accessed July 29, 2021. 

  2. Better Business Bureau. "Heritage Auctions Complaints." Accessed July 29, 2021. 

  3. Better Business Bureau. "Stack's Bowers Galleries." Accessed July 29, 2021.