Oakton Coins & Collectibles
About us
What we buy
What we sell

Frequently Asked Questions

Common gold, silver & coin questions

Do you buy all forms gold? even my old broken jewelry?
Yes, we buy all forms of gold, silver and platinum. It can be ugly, old, or broken. It does not matter to us.
Should I clean my dirty coins before selling them?

No, never try to clean a coin, no matter how dirty or ugly it looks. Cleaning damages the coin.

Are old coins rare?

Some are rare, some are not. Just about everything is common. If you think about it, that’s what makes rare stuff rare — the definition of “rare” is… “most things aren’t”. Just because you don’t see Buffalo nickels in your pocket change every day, that doesn’t make them rare — every coin dealer in the country probably has tons of them. For most of the older types of coins, there are usually at least a few “key dates” (worth more), while all the rest will be common dates for that type of coin.

Are all old coins worth a lot of money?

Age does NOT make something rare or valuable! If that were true, rocks and trees would be worth a fortune, and we’d all be rich. However, while that’s generally a true statement, there’s always an exception. If a coin is extremely old, even if it’s a common date for the kind of coin that it is, the value can rise significantly if it’s in mint or near-mint condition. Just remember that for most coins, especially the more modern stuff, they’ll still be very common even in brand new, mint condition.

I found a gold dollar in my change. What's it worth?
If your "gold coin" looks like this.....
not gold
It is not gold and it is worth a dollar. Spend it. If it is not a Presidential or Sacagawea dollar maybe you did find gold. Come visit us during business hours and we will give you free appraisal.
I found a quarter that says 1776 on it, is worth anything?
If it looks like this.....
not gold
It is United States Bicentennial Coinage, it's worth a quarter spend it (it's not from 1776).
I have a bunch of Eisenhower Dollars (beau dollars) what are they worth?
Generally, Eisenhower Dollars are worth one dollar.....
not gold
however, the US Mint did make some special silver collector's issues. If you look on the side of the coin and it has a copper/clad band, it is worth a dollar. If it has no copper band, then you may have a silver one.

Should I sort my coins by date before bringing them in?

It's not worth the effort. You might be tempted to organize your coins by individual date. People have brought us their coins carefully arranged by date and by decade and placed in separate Ziploc bags, paper envelopes, and coin tubes.

When we appraise a collection the first thing we do is separate coins by their composition (e.g. copper, nickel, silver or gold). If possible, organizing your collection into these groups will be a great help:

-Gold coins
-9o% silver dollars (1878 through 1935)
-9o% silver dimes, quarter, and half dollars (1892 through 1964) -40% silver JFK half dollars (1965 through 1970)
-Lincoln Wheat Cents (1909 through 1958)
-Buffalo Nickels (1913 through 1938)
-Jefferson Nickels (1938 and later)
-All other obsolete U.S. type coins
-U.S. Mint proof and uncirculated sets
-U.S. Mint commemorative sets
-Currency and paper money -Foreign coins / tokens

Are my Hummel figurines worth a lot of money?
China, plates, Hummels, ceramics, porcelain, ... look pretty…. but are not often worth a lot of money. Things of this sort are usually worth just a couple dollars to us.
Should I itemize your coins in a spreadsheet or text document?
If you make a list, more than likely, we won't be able to use it. We need to see your coins in order to judge their condition and value. No matter how thorough or complete your list may be, we can evaluate your collection faster by going through the coins rather than from your list. So before you decide to go through the time and effort to make a list, please understand that while a list may be useful to you, it won't be to us. Besides, as part of our appraisal process we prepare a written list for you.
Will you buy my foreign coins, even if they are not silver or gold?
Yes, we generally buy them by the pound. We pay $3/lb for foreign base metal coins. Basically everyone has some foreign base metal (not silver or gold) coins laying around. The banks do not accept coins for exchange value.

Should I remove coins from an album that was assembled by a collector?

Coins that were selected and placed in an album by a collector have a much greater chance of being worth more than their metal value. It is much easier for us to search for key or rare dates in an album than from a heap of coins. As a result, if your coins are already in a book, it is best to keep them intact until we can review them.

Why do gold and silver ounces cost more than the spot price I see on tv (or wherever)?

Generally, the price you see for gold is based on one futures contract for gold, that futures contract theoretically controls 100 troy ounces, or one brick of gold (1,000 oz for silver). So if you want that price, you need to open a futures account with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and buy the 100 oz of gold or 1,000 oz of silver for future delivery. Paper cash is not accepted. Ironically, you might never actually get physical delivery. Many gold and silver contracts are settled for (digital) cash, whether you like it or not.

Think of the spot price of gold as a guide correlated with the physical product. Sort of the way the price of oil is loosely tied to what you actually pay at the pump. Many factors make up the premiums on physical gold and these factors constantly change. The spot price is just one of them.

Do you report customers buying and selling to the IRS?

Coin shops work on the same rules as banks. When cash transactions take place that equal over 10,000 dollars in a given period, we are required to file a currency transaction report (CTR).
Do you do consignments?
Yes, we also do consignments, & can help with whole estate liquidations / clean outs.
Can I get a loan?
We are not a pawn shop, so no loans. No electronics, car radios, furniture, or catalytic converters (that's junk yard stuff).
How old do I have to be to sell to Oakton Coins?
You must be over 18 to sell to us, and must produce valid identification.
Do you pay more than scrap prices for jewelry?
Yes, sometimes if it's fashionable (resellable). Designer names help a lot: Tiffany & Co., Georg Jensen, Gucci, David Yurman, etc.
Do I need to make an appointment?
No appointment needed during normal business hours. Call and make an appointment if the regular hours are inconvenient for you.
Do you charge for appraisals.

Verbal appraisals are free.

Written appraisals are $20 (refundable with sale of appraised item).

Insurance (inflated) appraisals are $40 an hour with a minimum of $20.

Do you buy ivory?
No. Although it might be technically legal to buy antique ivory pieces, due to to political pressures from the U.S., Europe, & now China, it has virtually no resale value anymore. So no ivory - its time has passed.
What do you buy besides, coins, paper money, gold and silver?
Lots of things: diamonds, gems, comic books (1960s and before), baseball cards (1960s and before), Star Wars toys (1980s and before), meteorites, stamp collections, pocket watches, and more. If you have something interesting to sell but it's not for us, we can direct you to a potential buyer.
What areas does Oakton Coins serve?
Oakton Coins & Collectibles is centrally located in between downtown Evanston & downtown Skokie, very close to the northside of Chicago. Walking distance from the CTA yellow line Oakton stop, and the 97 CTA bus. Plenty of free parking in front and more in back. People often visit from Chicago, Morton Grove, Evanston, Rogers Park, Evanston, lincolnwood, Glencoe, Winnetka, Niles, Park Ridge, Kenilworth, Des Plaines, Prospect Heights, Highwood, Palatine, and more.
Understanding Pricing

Retail: Highest price possible because goods sit around for long periods and all the costs of labor, property and taxes.

Ebay: The asking price is meaningless. Anyone can ask any crazy price for anything.

Wholesale: How most things trade - the price that a retail person attained goods at.

Insurance appraisal: Fantasy number - based on 3 x retail or even higher.

Futures spot price: Only roughly correlated with the actual price of physical metal - based on a future price of very large contracts - Gold 100 troy ounces, Silver 5,000 troy ounces , Platinum 50 troy ounces.


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