Frequently Asked Questions

What types of collectible material do you buy?

Broadly speaking, I purchase any money worth more than its face value. The following is a general guide. Some exceptions may exist!

  • Paper Money: 1957 dated and earlier.
  • Pennies: 1958 and earlier.
  • Nickels: 1938 and earlier + 1942-45 with large (P, D, S) above Monticello¬†
  • Dimes and quarters: 1964 and earlier.
  • Half Dollars: 1970 and earlier.

Items that are still available at banks such as green seal $2 bills, State Quarters, Eisenhower Dollars, Sacagawea Dollars, or Presidential Dollars are usually not worth a premium over their face value. Again, some exceptions may exist; contact me and I am happy to discuss in detail.

What makes a coin rare?

Most people assume that because a coin is old that it must be rare. Yet believe it or not, there are many ancient coins thousands of years old worth less than the cost of a fancy Starbucks drink!

The reason that some old coins are worth a lot has to do with 3 main factors: Rarity, Popularity, and Condition. In order for a coin to be valuable it must score high in most of those categories. I am happy to explain this in depth, and also offer my opinion on any coin that you think does well in the categories mentioned!

How do I find the value of my coin?

Finding the true value of rare coins can be very difficult. It takes years of experience to fully understand the complexity of the coin market. For all that it does well, the internet continues to be a poor reference for beginners seeking information as there are many websites that offer misleading or incorrect information.

The general reference guide that is published yearly and is respected by collectors is called the “Red Book” or the “Guide Book of United States Coins”. It is published annually, and is a good place to start, just remember the values it lists are considered to be “retail” prices. “Retail” price is what a collector might be willing to pay for a nice example, but it does not reflect the price a dealer would pay.

If this sounds daunting don’t worry! I am here to help. I offer free appraisals via email or at my office in Fishers, depending on the item(s).

Should I clean my coins?

NO!! It is very important to leave coins as they were found.

While it is natural human tendency to clean and care for things that might be valuable, it turns out with coins, the cleaning almost always does more harm than good. Most collectors today prefer their coins to be “original,” meaning they have the same (or nearly the same) Patina, or “toning” that they did when they were still circulating in our economy. Keep in mind that worn coins will naturally have a dark and tarnished look to them. This look is what collectors are after, so DO NOT clean tarnish!

In rare circumstances where professional cleaning might be needed, I am more than happy to diagnose any issues and offer assistance with safe, industry accepted methods.

I inherited a coin collection and I know nothing about it, and it stresses me out trying to figure out what I should do and who to trust! Help!?

Remain calm! This is exactly the type of situation that I assist with every day. While numismatic professionals like myself do our best to encourage collectors to sell their collection within their own lifetime, they often put it off too long (or are too attached), and eventually it falls on the shoulders of the benefactors.

You probably have many concerns and questions. Don’t worry, they will be answered. Whether you have a sandwich bag of coins or an entire room full (yes, this happens sometimes!), my goal is to make sure that you get the MOST out of your coins and have peace of mind.

Everyone’s goals will be different. Some folks just like to sell everything for a fair price and move on, and others may be more interested in simply learning the history, getting them organized, and finding out how best to keep their coins safe. No matter your goal, I will see that it is met. If I can’t meet your needs, I will find someone who can.

I am thinking about having my rare coins and currency graded. What does this cost?

I make coin grading a hassle free process! First, I offer free assessments of grade and condition at my office in Fishers. After a short consultation, if YOU feel that your coins are candidates for professional certification and encapsulation I am more than happy to act as your grading valet! Your coins will be sent promptly and safely to the TPG (third party graders).

I charge a one time basic professing fee of $40 per lot, plus the cost of grading. Along with not having to worry about shipping I am also happy to provide regular updates on the status of your coins as they go through processing. I can send coins to NGC, PCGS, CAC. I can also send paper currency to PMG! I strive for prompt service!

Do you have a coin shop? Do you have hours that I can come in to chat with you and browse?

I am a full time numismatic professional with a brick and mortar location in Fishers. However, it is not a full service coin shop. Due to security reasons, as well as overhead and inventory fluctuations, I require that an appointment be made in order to consult with me or view my inventory. This is easy to do, and it is for the benefit of all parties.

While I have worked in coin shops and greatly enjoy and appreciate them, I really believe I can better serve my customers by providing a fully individualized experience. Shop workers often have to juggle many tasks at once based on flow of business with public walk-ins. My appointment-based approach allows to see that each customer is my one and only focus. My office is conveniently located just south of I-69 Exit 205 in Fishers.

How do I see your inventory without making an appointment?

For the time being the majority of my inventory can be seen on my eBay store Sam Shafer Numismatics (username sshafer11), or on the official RoundTable group “The Virtual Coin show on Facebook”.

If you see something you like, and would like to request a price quote, please let me know by sending an email to, or by messaging my Facebook Business Page. I can usually do a better price.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to eBay’s strict policy against deals outside of their website I cannot reply to any inquires in eBay messages about prices of items outside of the site. If you contact me through the eBay messages it may negate the deal entirely as eBay will put a watch on the item, expecting it to be pulled. They consider this to be “caught red handed.” I cannot jeopardize my account. Therefore, please ONLY contact me about eBay item price inquiries via email, phone, or my Facebook Page. Thank you!

My question isn’t answered here…

If you’ve got questions that aren’t answered here, please feel free to contact me.

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