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Buying Silver Bullion at Estate Sales

Investors and coin collectors have many avenues for adding to their silver collection, from coin stores to pawn shops to online coin dealers. Have you considered visiting local estate sales in search of silver coins? Often estate sales offer affordable pricing and an eclectic mix of gold and silver items. Although estate sales will probably not serve as your steady source for silver coins, it can be a fun and exciting way to add to your collection over time.


Shopping estate sales for silver and gold is a hit-or-miss proposition. The estate may include an extensive coin collection, or none at all. If you are looking for something specific, don't expect to find it at an estate sale. Nevertheless, there's always the chance of running into an estate sale offering a coin collection. If you plan to shop estate sales specifically for silver coins, consider calling ahead. Look through estate sale listings and give the seller a call to see if there's anything for sale you may be interested in adding to your collection. Don't be surprised if coin collections are not listed in the ad for the sale.

At an estate sale, you are more likely to run into silver in the form of jewelry or sterling silver tableware than in bars, rounds, and silver bullion coins. Investors often pass these items up, assuming that they are marked high above the spot price of the metal they contain. However, this is not always the case. Estate sales can be an excellent opportunity to buy gold and silver jewelry and decorative items, diversifying your precious metal collection.

Do Your Research

When shopping at estate sales, do not expect the seller to know anything about the silver offered for sale. Usually, they were not the original buyer. They may not know what they have, or what it is worth. As a result, silver coins found at an estate sale are often priced a lot higher or lower than the current market rate. Because of this, it is more important than ever to know the current value of silver before buying it at an estate sale. Check the current spot price of silver before heading to the sale.

If you do plan to purchase silver jewelry or sterling silver scrap at an estate sale, consider investing in a portable gram scale, as well as a silver test kit. These items can help you gauge the silver content of an item and compute its value.

Payment and Taxes

Be aware that many estate sales are cash-only. Others may accept personal checks or credit cards. Also, if your state charges sales tax on precious metal sales, inquire about whether sales tax will be added to the purchase price – in some cases, estate sales do charge sales tax, which can catch unsuspecting buyers by surprise.

Immediate Gratification

One of the benefits of shopping at estate sales for silver coins is the opportunity to hold the silver in your hand before making the decision. Many collectors prefer to handle the silver coins, jewelry, and bullion prior to the sale. Unlike when buying online, you'll have the silver in your hands by the time you leave the sale.