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How do you Pass Down Collectible Coins?

There are two ways to pass down collectible coins to your heirs: as a gift while you are alive or bequeathed as part of your estate. Depending on the overall worth of your tangible and intangible property, both means have significant benefits and limitations. Total estate value, current appraisals and market values of Precious Metals are all factors to consider.

Where to Start Coin Collecting

An important step when you consider passing your collectible coins to your children is to call a family meeting. Ask if they are interested in having the collection and discuss what that might entail. If keeping your coin collection within the family is important to you, make sure you gift it to someone who will respect that request. Have a conversation about long-term ownership and who they might pass the collection to later in their life. This is also a chance to resolve any potential conflicts that may exist over all your family heirlooms. In addition to monetary value, collectibles can carry emotional meaning, especially if they have been in the family for more than one generation.

Factors for you and your heirs to consider include storage needs, proper care and insurance requirements. You may discover your heirs do not want the responsibilities of owning collectible coins and that bequeathing items to a museum or non-family member is a more desirable choice.

Including Collectible Coins in Your Trust or Estate

Coins are considered tangible property because they have intrinsic value and can be touched and held. This is true of coinage that carries collectible value, as well as coins that have a worth primarily determined by their Precious Metals content. Anyone who inherits Gold or Silver must pay estate taxes on this property. The amount is determined by tax rates in your state and the market value on the date of death of the person who bequeathed the Precious Metals.

The primary advantage of including collectible coins in an estate is that the executors can ensure the property is correctly distributed among your intended heirs. Donating your collection to a non-profit organization can sometimes lead to a lower estate-tax bill, a considerable benefit if your heirs do not want your collection.

Passing On Coins as Gifts

There are several advantages to passing your coins on before you die. Initially, you get the emotional joys of seeing your collection enjoyed by your heirs. Once you have gifted your collection, you can begin the process of educating the recipient on things such as maintenance and future acquisitions.

When giving away your collection during your lifetime, it is imperative to have the coins appraised first. This will establish a historical record of ownership and can help avoid arguments among siblings who feel they have been slighted regarding overall gift value. For coin collections that are divided among multiple parties, encourage each person to have their own appraisal done within a reasonable amount of time to continue the paper trail of authenticity.

If several of your heirs are interested in your collection, consider the overall valuation before dividing it up. Coin collections are often worth much more together than as individual pieces. It is helpful to create an itemized list of your collection before making any sort of transfer. Important details to include on the list are:


  • Date of purchase
  • Purchase price
  • Known origins and history
  • Series and mintage details
  • Previous appraisals and official estimates of value

You should take photographs of each coin individually and include reference numbers to the images in the list details.

If your collection is worth more than $10 million, you may want to plan a year-to-year gradual gifting process for tax reasons. Each heir can be gifted with up to $14,000 per year in assets without the need to file a gift-tax return. When you die, gift portfolios above $14,000 will count against the estate-tax threshold. 

Passing Down Bullion vs. Collectible Coins

Transferring bullion to your heirs is not all that different from passing down collectible coins. The value of the bullion bar, bullion coin or ingot determines if tax reporting is required, with the same $14,000 threshold applying. One key difference with Gold and Silver bullion is how the value is determined at the time of transfer. When given as a gift, the worth is based on market value at the time the gifter purchased the bullion. If passed on after death as part of an estate, the taxable amount is based on market value on date of death of the estate owner.

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