Selling Your Silver Coins? Not Until You Read This Article!

Don't Sell Your Silver Coins Until You Read This Article!

Photo courtesy of coincollector.org

Here’s a very helpful article from coin dealer Tony Davis originally posted at coincollector.org. Tony gives a dealer’s insight on what you should be aware of before selling and explains the different points to consider in order to receive a fair price. All too often collectors go into the sell process unarmed with this necessary knowledge. Read on and enjoy!

As a coin dealer, we regularly meet with customers who are interested in buying and selling various types of silver coins. Our customers tell us that they have no problem finding online resources about purchasing silver coins, but that it is difficult to find anything online regarding the specifics […]

 

Beyond the Grade, the Devil is in the Details

1929 Quarter ObvEver since the advent of third party grading services there has been an ever growing trend toward chasing numbers instead of quality. Worse yet, at some point third party grading became a crutch, an excuse for novices and veterans alike to no longer rely on their own grading skills. As a result, many newcomers to the field of coin collecting rely solely on the grade to direct their buying decisions, never realizing there are so many other aspects to a coin’s value and appeal until they try to sell.

Truth be told, the best way to build a truly exceptional collection, one that immediately distinguishes itself to any viewer that it has been painstakingly selected rather than simply accumulated, is to understand these matters of esoterica and apply them to your collecting habits. One of the most misunderstood and greatly overlooked aspects of a coin’s eye appeal is the strike.

Now if you are a collector of the classical designs of the early 20th century, i.e. Buffalo nickels, Mercury dimes, Standing Liberty quarters and Walking Liberty halves, then you probably have a grasp on this concept already. These coin series are noted for their artistry in the presentation of their subject matter, but are also notorious for the inconsistency of the design strike. The high relief of the designs, the hardness of the metal (in the case of nickel), and the economic considerations of the Depression era mints all contributed to this high variability in strike. Thus, many of the coins of this era look “mushy” and worn though they may still be in uncirculated condition with no real wear from handling.

However, when you wean yourself from chasing just the number on the coin holder and understand that every MS63 isn’t just like every other MS63, with a little perseverance you can find coins in these series that truly stand out! In the case of Buffalo nickels you may be familiar with the Full Horn designation, referring to the fact that this feature is not always present and so differentiates a typical Buffalo nickel from one with an exceptional strike. Mercury dimes have the Full Bands designation, Standing Liberty quarters use Full Head, etc.

But why stop there? These aren’t the only details on these particular designs that didn’t strike up well. Regarding the quarter, what about the rivets on Liberty’s shield or the line of drapery on her right leg? Shouldn’t the Buffalo nickel display the Indian’s braid and hair to its fullest extent, or the line of fur on the buffalo’s left shoulder? These are points that separate the collector from the accumulator. These are things that make the hunt so much more enjoyable. And not all dealers take these matters into consideration. They’re just chasing the numbers. Take advantage of this and see the difference for yourself!

Descriptive vs. Numerical Grading

Mexico gold

Ambiguity in grading can be the bane of your existence when perusing coin ads, whether it be a print ad, eBay description or a dealer’s scribbled notation on a 2×2 coin holder. Among the most misleading grading terms are Select, Choice and Gem. These terms usually refer to some degree of the Uncirculated grade and have been in use for decades. For this reason, we can safely say with a bit of certainty that not all dealers who use these terms are intentionally trying to mislead. But it is up to you, the collector, to determine for yourself the level of comfort with which you can transact business.

The above terms are examples of descriptive grading. Numerical grading is much more precise. Rather than describing a coin as Select Brilliant Uncirculated (or Select BU), numerical grading should represent the same coin as Mint State 62 (MS62) or so. Descriptive grading allows for much more leeway in the range of a grade. Numerical grading is specific.

So what can you expect when an ad reads “Choice BU Morgan Dollars, grades our choice”? In a perfect world you should receive a nice mix of MS63 to MS64 common date Morgan dollars at a fair price. However, the term “Choice” has no definitive grade range and so a disreputable dealer can be less than honest when selecting your “Choice” purchase. “Select”, “Gem”, High End” and all those other descriptive terms we run into have no specific numerical equivalent either.

Because these descriptive terms have been in use at least since the beginning of modern coin collecting (some of the earliest American auction catalogs from the 1850’s contain them), you can reasonably expect a certain level of quality when these terms are used. Generally:

“BU” or “Select BU” would indicate a range of MS60 to MS62.

“Choice BU” in the range of MS63 to 64.

“Gem BU” in the range of MS65 or higher.

Again, by no means is any equivalency between  numerical and descriptive grading written in stone. When you accept an offer involving descriptive grading, you need to be aware that the level of quality you receive is open to the dealer’s interpretation of that term and it may differ greatly from your own. The best investment you can make to avoid ugly surprises when purchasing coins sight unseen is to educate yourself and learn how to grade. Below are three excellent guides to help you!

MAKING THE GRADE: Comprehensive Grading Guide for U.S. Coins

ANA Grading Standards for United States Coins: American Numismati Association (Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards for United States Coins)

Photograde: Official Photographic Grading Guide for United States Coins, 19th Edition

 

The Jefferson Davis “Death to Traitors” Medal

1861JDOne comes across some very interesting things at a coin show. And after years of traveling to different shows and meeting the many interesting characters that make up the world of coin dealers, one comes to expect the odd and seldom seen from certain of these gentlemen (and ladies). One of these is John Kraljevich. John is younger than you would expect when envisioning a “coin dealer”, but his depth of knowledge of all things common or esoteric belies his lack of years. Take a look at John’s website, jkamericana.com , and you will get some idea of the breadth of John’s expertise.

So last year at a coin show in Buffalo, New York I came to John’s table, knowing full well that he would have amazing things I had never seen before, from contemporary counterfeit Spanish coins to huge, thick medals commemorating some 19th century camera club event. Seriously, check the archives on his site! Anyway, on this occasion I spotted this little brass coin with a depiction of a hanged man on the obverse with “Jefferson Davis” above and the date “1861” below. On the reverse was the legend “Death to Traitors” in three lines. Being a history nut and not really having anything from the Civil War era, I was smitten. I could even overlook the unsightly hole drilled clear through the coin at 12 o’clock.

Well John was a busy man and I didn’t want to take up his time by grilling him when others were vying for his time. We had met on a few previous occasions so I said hello, good to see you, plunked down my money and happily went on my way with my new acquisition.

Fast forward to a couple of days later and my first opportunity to sit down and research my purchase. Just out of curiosity, I drop by John’s website and there is my coin! In John’s inimitable style, he had written this thought provoking description:

“A scarce and popular medalet from the dawn of the Civil War, showing President Jefferson Davis hanging on the obverse, a scene that wins some sort of numismatic prize for lack of subtlety…a specimen like this must hide an interesting story of a vociferous Unionist, perhaps a soldier, who was so moved by this medalet that he wore it for what must have been most of the conflict.”

How’s that for an interesting description? A little more research brought some enlightening background to the manufacturer of this piece. From www.americanhistoy.si.edu :

“This medal was made by the Scovill Manufacturing Company of Waterbury, CT around 1861. The Scovill Company was established in 1802 as a button manufacturer that is still in business today. Scovill was an early industrial American innovator, adapting armory manufacturing processes to mass produce a variety of consumer goods including buttons, daguerreotype mats, and medals. This medal was struck in reaction to the secession of the Confederacy and the election of its President, Jefferson Davis.”

At your next show, be on the lookout for dealers like John. Your collecting interests can take a new and fascinatingly dramatic turn!

Bonding With Our Coins by James Higby

Image courtesy of auctionshelp.com

This story comes from fellow Early American Coppers member James Higby. His experiences mirror our own as we become custodians of our little pieces of history. This article originally appeared in the March 2008 issue of Penny-Wise, the quarterly EAC newsletter, and is reprinted with the permission of Early American Coppers, Inc.

There I sat, toward the end of the first day of a two-day show, having found nothing for the
collection. Even Tom Reynolds’s copper stock, always broad and deep, had failed to yield any
needed variety, at least in the way-down-low state of preservation to which I have had to resort
in these latter days of collection-building. Tom had a corner setting at this particular show, with
what I call his “cheap seats” (where I was firmly ensconced) down the aisle, and his more
stratospheric items on the endcap table. Just for fun, I craned my neck over to the more pricey
Boardwalk/Park Place area, where he also displays his slabs, and, squinting mightily, thought I
spied an item that had twice eluded me in the past – a silver dollar bearing the mystical date of
1799. The more recent of those second-place finishes had found me on cellphone hold with a
favorite dealer, who, when he came back to my call and heard what I wanted, had to tell me that
he wished I had initiated my call 13 seconds sooner. Yes, there I sat, remembering all that, and
loaded for bear.

The chairs at Tom’s end table were occupied, so he obliged my request that he get it out of
the case for me. What a beauty it was in its PCGS holder, with its original color and surfaces,
plus a delightful array of die cracks here and there on the obverse (did I just now prematurely
betray that I brought it home with me?)! I quickly became oblivious to my surroundings, going
over the coin again and again, as Bill Noyes advises in the introduction to his books, to find any
and all defects that might be there. I must have flipped the slab between obverse and reverse two
dozen times, before another EAC member and friend sitting next to me leaned over and wryly
observed, “You’re bonding with that coin, aren’t you?” That was the first time I had ever been
asked that question. I responded with another question: “How did you know?” “I recognize the
look,” was his answer.

Suddenly a host of questions coursed through my mind: Was I sweating, or worse, drooling?
Could he somehow detect my elevated adrenaline level from afar? Were my increased pulse and
blood pressure observable from the outside? Was I [gasp] breathing heavily? Or babbling
meaningless syllables? Was I “sugaring the strawberries,” as the French refer to tremors of the
hands? Was I humming my college fight song without realizing it? No, a quick check answered
in the negative to all. But I’m still not really sure. In any event, thanks to Jeff Noonan for
identifying and naming this phenomenon and inspiring this essay.

All of us have probably observed it in others, even if we are not aware of it in ourselves. We
have watched someone else sitting at a dealer’s table, mulling over a potential purchase,
justifying and rationalizing until the decision is made. Some of these potential buyers maintain a
constant patter of verbal interchange with themselves and with the dealer, while others, such as I,
contemplate the purchase in silence. The painful part, handing over the wad of greenbacks or
writing out the check, is mercifully over in practically no time, and the coin is now his/ours. We
then relive the many times we have gone through the exact same sequence of activity in adding a
coin to our collection. Into a secure place in the coin bag it goes, along with assorted other things
that have attracted our fancy at the show. When it’s time to go home, the coin bag is kept close at
hand, just in case we have an opportunity to cop a quick glance at our new treasure while sitting
at a red light or other suitable time. The bonding continues…

It seems that the return to the home domicile is always accompanied by many distractions:
wife and kids to greet, mail to sort through, dog to wrestle with, voice mail to triage, weekend
“work” emails (don’t those guys ever take a day off?) and plumbing emergencies to handle. “Oh,
and your Mom called, twice. She didn’t say what she wanted.” As we go about the fulfillment of
these obligations, we do not forget that a fresh bonding session eventually awaits us. But it may
be hours before we can get back to the coin cache, or, if it was a Sunday show, maybe days.

Ah, finally, it’s Wednesday evening, the most urgent obligations of the work week have been
dispatched, the kids are off to jobs and music lessons, we’re caught up on at least some of the
reading material, and find ourselves in the sole company of Fido, now fed and pottied and
contentedly chewing on a rawhide bone. We remember the treasures we brought home from that
now long-ago weekend coin show. We rescue the coin bag from behind some things that have
accumulated in front of it: our bowling bag from Monday evening, our briefcase containing work
we really should be doing instead of looking at coins, and our son’s guitar case that he just didn’t
have time to put away. But once we dig into the special compartment reserved for the latest
acquisitions and carefully draw them out, we know we’re in for a pleasant evening.

Old copper coins are such easy things to bond with! Perhaps more than any other early
American coins, they have both the look and feel of times gone by. The fact that they were used
by rich and common people alike adds to their appeal. Far from being flashy, they look humble
themselves, sometimes worthy of our pity as much as our admiration. Unaffected by the current
spot price of bullion, they have to stand entirely on their own merit. But there was that something
about these coppers from the show that especially attracted our attention, so we afford them extra
time. We wonder if Lady Liberty feels the same about us as we feel about her.

When I have several new coins to look at in a single session, I like to get them all out and
arrange them in some sort of symmetrical pattern on the top of my desk and under the bright
lamp. I try to include some of my older acquisitions so that they will all get to know each other
better. Doing so emphasizes the spectacular range of colors that old copper takes on, and the less
attractive ones are somehow acquitted of the charges against them and validated by their
acceptance into the company of the nicer pieces. After all, they might just have feelings, and I
wish all my coins to feel good about themselves while they are in my custody.

So, I bond with them. The more I do it, the easier it becomes, for me and for them. As coins
become harder and harder to locate and buy, the realization grows that I might be coming closer
to the time when new purchases are fewer and farther between, all the more reason to fall more
deeply in love with the ones I have managed to make part of my life. At some future time each of
us will purchase our “last” coin, usually without knowing that it is our “last.” Perhaps more true
than with any other series, we buy our coppers less for financial gain, and more for highly
emotional reasons. Thus should we gather our coppers while we may, and make it a point to find
the time to spend with them and strengthen the bond we have made with them across the
centuries.

An 1809 Half Cent from eBay

As a break from my usual posts, I thought it might be fun to present a coin and explain my thought process when I was contemplating the purchase. A perfect opportunity presented itself when I recently purchased an 1809 Half Cent that had some problems off of eBay. I’ll also tell you that I overpaid. The best part is I would do it again in a minute. Here’s why!

I was browsing through some early copper auctions on eBay and came across this coin. It was listed with no attribution and no reserve. The seller also made no claims to its grade, rarity, or originality. The seller did however have many previous coin sales and a great satisfaction rating. She also offered a 7 day, no questions asked return service. These are all “must- haves” for me when I decide to turn loose of my cash for something I can only judge by a photo, which in this case was large and of good quality.

From that photo it was obvious that the coin had been cleaned. The surfaces were unnaturally red for a 200 year old coin that had seen a substantial amount of circulation. If you focus on the actual wear present on the high points of the design (hair curls, leaves of the wreath) you can see that the coin is around a low to mid VF. There’s also a scratch traveling diagonally through the I and B in LIBERTY which is fairly well hidden, ending in the hair.

So why did I buy this coin? Well I just happened to have a copy of  “Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of United States Half Cents” (see the Resources page for a link). Breen describes 6 distinct varieties for the 1809 Half Cent, ranging from Rarity 1 (Common, more than 1250 known) to Rarity 6 (Very Rare, 13 to 30 known). From the diagnostics on this coin I attributed it to be the Cohen-2 variety. The ES in STATES is punched higher than STAT and the date is punched close together and straight rather than having the 1 and 8 spaced wide apart. This particular variety is listed as a high Rarity 3, nearly Rarity 4 in the Breen Encyclopedia. A fairly scarce variety!

With shipping I ended up paying about $35 too much if this had been a common variety. But even after knocking the grade down to a Fine-12 for the problems, once I took into account the scarce variety designation, I figure I made a good purchase. In time this Half Cent will tone to a more natural color and I can live with that for the price paid. Knowledge is power!

EAC 2011: A Big Thank You To All My New Friends

This past week my wife, Wendy, and I traveled to Portland, OR for the 2011 Early American Coppers Convention. This was the first opportunity we have had in the last 8 years to vacation together sans children. I had some misgivings that Wendy would enjoy an outing that was primarily a coin convention since she really has no interest in coins. But through the efforts of so many fellow members, and the wonderful hospitality extended to us both, we look forward to next year’s convention in Buffalo, NY with equal anticipation, if nothing more than to reconnect with our new friends.

We arrived Monday evening and had a quick, easy ride on Portland’s Max Light Rail to the Doubletree Hilton Hotel. Let me just say that I have never slept better in any hotel in my life! With a few days to go until the convention, Wendy and I headed downtown on Tuesday for a leisurely self guided tour of the city’s various pubs and eateries (once again thanks to Max Light Rail). Davis Street Tavern was the first stop, Kell’s Irish Pub, Powell’s Book Store (pack light, you’re hauling home some books!), and then on to Henry’s Tavern. Hats off to Kell’s! Fish and chips, lamb stew, shepherd’s pie, beer I can’t get in PA, ’nuff said!

Wednesday featured an outstanding 9 mile hike through Silver Falls State Park courtesy of Jerry Bobbe. Harry and Phyllis Salyards struck up a conversation with us on the bus and never hesitated to stop and talk with us throughout our trip. I lost count of all the waterfalls but I’ll never forget the lunch of pastrami sandwiches and the most amazing trail mix ever, eaten in a cave behind an enormous waterfall. Thanks Jerry, Larry, and Ricky for shepherding us slow computer geeks out of the ravine and up 271 steps!

Thursday was kicked off by a grading and counterfeit detection seminar by Steve Carr and Doug Bird. Wendy sat this one out but I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to learn about EAC grading and actually grade and compare 31 Half and Large Cents. I sat next to Bill Eckberg, the Region 8 administrator, who was very friendly and forthcoming with his information. At the kickoff reception that night, Wendy and I met Brad and Dee Vries. Brad, who had several coins consigned to the Saturday auction, showed us a refrigerator magnet he made out of a damaged 1794 Large Cent. How cool?

Friday was spent on the bourse lusting after coins I had no chance of owning (yet). I met too many big names to list but every one of them had time for my questions. Jack Robinson, you are a gentleman. I was  short a little cash to purchase the new CQR, yet you said, “Go ahead, I’m sure I’ll catch you.”, and then you threw in two back issues just for reference! And Jack Beymer, back in 1977 or so you were my first mail order purchase, a 1868 three cent nickel, and yet you treated me like an old friend!

Out of all the educational seminars, I only managed to attend one. Buell Ish, from the Colonial Coin Collectors Club, gave a great talk on how to form an interesting New Jersey type collection. The seminar was well attended and Buell stuck around afterwards to speak with any individuals who had questions or comments. Buell also moderated the CCCC meeting Saturday morning, a small meeting but very enjoyable. His seminar will probably be the topic of another upcoming post (with permission of course).

It was also Friday that I set my sights on several coins at the lot viewing for the Saturday auction. 12 coins met my criteria but my wallet didn’t meet theirs! That evening Wendy and I attended the EAC dinner in honor of author John Wright. John’s stories entertained and educated us all, even Wendy and the other wives who tolerate us self proclaimed numismatists, a better term for the obsessive compulsive basket cases we really are!

Saturday Rob Norvich and his wife Nikki treated us to a waterfall tour (by bus) located in the Columbia River Gorge. One word describes Oregon’s forests: primeval. At any time you fully expect a Velociraptor to step out onto the trail. It’s amazing. And once again everyone on the tour treated us like old friends, even though this was our first EAC convention.

The Saturday night auction was exciting to say the least. Out of those 12 lots I had marked in my catalog, I ended up with 3. Lot #7, a 1786 NJ copper, quickly fell into my hands, followed by a beautiful 1834 Half Cent, and a 1800/79 Large Cent in VG. Look for future posts about the history of these coins here!

Sunday arrived and the convention came to an end. I caught John Wright and his wife Mabel after the Annual Meeting and purchased a copy of John’s book from him. We exchanged email addresses and John took a look at my acquisitions from the previous night. After looking at my 1800/79 Large Cent John told me I have a good eye. Coming from John, I couldn’t have asked for a greater compliment!

A special thanks to Bim Gander and his wife Cindy. Bim, who organized the convention and now serves as the club’s VP, met me in the elevator Tuesday night and made it a point to inquire numerous times as to how Wendy and I were enjoying ourselves throughout the week. I look forward to becoming more involved with this wonderful club in the future and hope that our experiences serve to drive more interested souls to join EAC.

Ebay: Coin Buyer Beware!

Let me begin by saying that I love ebay and have used it many times in the past several years with only one or two hiccups. I even racked up a few hundred transactions as a seller of  ’60’s and ’70’s comic book titles. But unlike some sellers on ebay, customer service was my A-1 priority. In the field of coin collecting one has to be very careful when shopping online. And it’s not only unscrupulous sellers you have to watch out for. The hobby, by its very nature, can complicate things as well if you think about it.

Having been on both ends of the buyer/seller relationship on ebay I’ve come up with a list of things I look for when I’m thinking about making an online purchase. First of all I size up the seller. For me, a coin purchase is an important outlay of money. It’s money that will be tied up for years. I expect nothing less than 100% satisfaction with the coin when I get it in hand. That’s why a seller needs to have a money back guarantee. If a seller doesn’t explicitly state a return policy, that’s a strike against them in my book. They must also have stellar feedback. I know, I know, sellers can get blamed for things that are entirely not their fault. I’ve had it happen to me and I understand that Bob in California doesn’t care that it’s January and I’m shipping from Pennsylvania in a blizzard. He will still blame me if his item doesn’t arrive in 5 days or less. Read the feedback. You can tell when someone is taking it on the chin or the complaints are valid.

Pictures! I want big, clear, well lit pictures of the coin. If the picture sucks you may as well assume the coin does too. Move on.

Last, but not least, pay attention to the wording in the auction. Estate sale? Doubt it. Found in Grandma’s attic? Baloney. Selling a coin on ebay does not require a heart rending story about how much the seller hates to part with their family heirlooms but they have to pay for their mother’s operation and blah blah blah. And don’t buy in to the auctions with letters 3 inches high stating “RARE!”, “UNIQUE!”, “ONE OF A KIND!”.

Stick to sellers who are knowledgable about the coins they sell and don’t try to hype the item. Make sure the grammar is correct and doesn’t sound like someone for whom English is a second language. Unfortunately, a large volume of counterfeit cast coins made in China are sold on ebay. These are mostly Trade Dollars and Capped Bust half dollars. If you’re unsure, don’t buy.

The safest way to purchase on ebay for the novice is to stick to coins certified by a third party service. The most reputable are PCGS and NGC. Bargains can be had when you use a little caution. Just keep in mind that if it seems too good to be true, it is.

Cherrypicking 101

Let’s go back to the coin shop and find out how you can gain a huge advantage over most coin dealers by focusing on every aspect of your favorite coin series.

Luckily for us collectors, there aren’t many dealers who are experts on every coin series. Very few have the time to master the nuances of assessing grade, strike, and originality for every item in their inventory because they’re too busy running a business!

For example, while I was looking at the coins in the display case of the coin shop from my last post, I noticed a 1911 Barber dime in a cardboard 2×2 holder that the dealer had graded as VG (very good) and had priced at $3.00. Now even though I’m not an avid collector of the Barber series, I’ve always found them easy to grade. A VG Barber dime won’t have a full LIBERTY on the tiara. This coin had a full, fairly sharp LIBERTY.

The next thing I looked at was the strike. When a coin die becomes overused the design elements become mushy and lack detail. Buffalo nickels are notorious for poor strikes. Barber dimes are generally well struck but the wreath on the reverse suffers the most when the strike is poor. All I could see when I examined this dime was good honest wear, and not the amount of wear I would expect to see on a VG coin.

Finally, I looked at the coin’s originality. This is probably the most difficult aspect of a coin to master. Mainly through the ignorance of previous owners, the vast majority of Barber coinage, dimes, quarters, and half dollars, has been cleaned at some point in their existence. Coins with original toning are very difficult to locate. It’s far more likely that the Barbers you encounter will show circulation wear but be cleaned or “dipped” in some harsh chemical that has stripped away the original color that silver acquires after 100 years of oxidation. Silver shouldn’t be bright and shiny after a century. This 1911 dime was a nice even gray with no “hairlines” in the fields.Hairlines are an indication that a coin has been rubbed with a cloth.

So here was a 1911 Barber dime with VF (very fine) details, a nice strike, and original color in a VG $3.00 holder. The 2010 Red Book gives a value of $7.00 for a VF grade. Thanks to a little reading (and a coin dealer unfamiliar with Barber dimes) I just picked up a bargain! And that’s what we call “cherrypicking”.

Coin Shop Etiquette

I was walking around a collectibles shop at our local mall the other day and spent some time looking through the various coins on display. Just standing their watching the daily goings-on gave me several post ideas so this will be the first in a series of coin shop observances. A lot of collectors have questions about pricing, etiquette, and just how to cultivate a relationship with a reputable dealer. Then there are the huge opportunities that present themselves when you’re observant and know about grading, how to spot rare varieties (cherrypicking), and the different strike characteristics of your preferred coin series.

Basic common sense will go a long way towards insuring a warm reception from your local dealer. For example, you have to realize that most shops have a lot of expensive inventory on hand, so coming in wearing flip flops and a sleeveless t-shirt may not inspire a lot of confidence in your sincerity to make a purchase. It’s not necessary to dress up, but clean casual clothing, maybe a collared shirt, will bump up your credibility and put the proprietor at ease.

Give some thought to the fact that the person behind the counter is running a business, their time is valuable, and they expect to make a profit. You are not only paying for a coin. You are also paying for service and knowledge. I have done business with my friends at jjteaparty.com for years. I know many of them on a first name basis. Gail Watson calls me by name and knows about my love for Buffalo nickels and Standing Liberty quarters. Will I pay a little extra because Gail takes 5 or 10 minutes out of her day to talk to me when I place an order? Hell yeah!

Because we recognize that time is money, always make a courtesy purchase before leaving. It doesn’t have to be much. Even though a dealer’s inventory may not have what you’re looking for, you can always pick up an inexpensive book or some collecting supplies. Just a little consideration like this will elevate you from “tire kicker” to “patron”.

And now a word about haggling. Some people feel the need to dispute the price of everything. I could no doubt write an entire post on this topic (and probably will) so here are a couple of brief thoughts: sometimes you come out on top and sometimes you overpay. In the long run, it’s a wash. That being said, a long term relationship with a knowledgeable, friendly coin dealer is more important to me than being considered a nuisance. Bottom line, if you think it’s too much, don’t buy it.

Simple, huh? As long as there is thoughtfulness and consideration on both sides of a transaction, I’ll be a repeat customer. Next time we’ll talk about how you can arm yourself so that you always make intelligent, informed buying decisions, and how you can make a little money at the same time!