If you've recently found yourself dealing with the sad task of cleaning out a parent's, grandparent's, or other loved one's home after his or her death, you may find yourself wondering what to do with a number of potentially valuable items you don't have the room or desire to store -- from antique guns or coins to 45 records and vintage designer suits. When it comes to antique coins, value determinations can run the gamut from face value (or less) for common coins made from tin or other cheap metals to millions of dollars for some of the world's rarest coins, but figuring out which end of the range your new coins fall into is key in deciding how to get rid of them. Read on to learn more about the various ways to rid yourself of unwanted antique coins (from figurative liquidation to literal smelting), as well as what you'll need to do to have a value assigned to your coins so you can determine how to proceed. 

What are the different ways you can liquidate or otherwise dispose of antique coins? 

While the idea of a worthless coin seems counterintuitive (as a coin is literal currency), there are a number of coins around the world that are worth far less than a single U.S. penny -- with it taking nearly 2,000 Uzbek Tiyins or 850 Burmese Pyas to total the face value of one U.S. cent. Other than their value as a novelty or collector's item, the most worthless coins (both antique and modern) are often best suited for the metal recycling process. This is especially true if the coins contain potentially valuable metals like copper or silver or if their face value is especially low.

Coins that are found to be worth a bit more than face value can be sold on the private market at an estate sale, online auction website, or even at a pawn shop. The price you'll get for these coins can vary by the type of sale you're pursuing, but you'll generally be able to cover any appraisal expenses while keeping a bit of cash in your pocket as long as you have a solid appraisal on which to stake your asking price. 

The rarest and most valuable coins are usually best disposed of through an auction house that specializes in rare coins. Your potential buyers in this situation are likely to have many more questions about the coins' origin and value than you're able to answer on your own, and an auction service with experience in rare coins can help facilitate this transaction and get you the highest possible selling price. 

Where should you begin when deciding what to do with your new coins?

In order to determine whether your coins are rare treasures or are only worth their weight in copper or tin, you'll need to have them professionally assessed (or "graded") by a coin dealer. (As a bonus, if your coins are determined to be valuable, these dealers will be able to help you auction or sell them.) During the grading process, the coin dealer will first examine the coin for authenticity by looking for some common signs of alteration. If the coin is determined to be genuine, it's then assessed a grade based on its condition -- from Mint for uncirculated coins to Good for those that have lost most of their luster. The higher the grade and the rarer the coin, the higher the price you'll be able to fetch. 

You may want to do some preliminary research on your own to avoid wasting time and money on the appraisal of modern-day Uzbeck Tiyins, but a quick internet search of some of the more common coins in your inherited collection can give you a good starting point when deciding how you'd like to proceed. Contact a coin grading service like Rocky Mountain Coin Inc for additional information.