7 Questions To Ask A Coin Dealer

Posted by admin on Thursday, August 18th, 2011

There are many places to buy coins to start a collection, or to add to an existing one. Existing collectors may be sellers, and there are plenty of items for sale on Ebay. Real world auctions are another excellent source of coins. Certainly, from all these sources some terrific bargains are to be had.

But a bargain is only a bargain if the item bought is genuine, and in a condition to warrant the price paid. So how can a collector be sure that the coin he is purchasing is genuine, and that the good faith he puts in the seller is reciprocated?

One way to ensure that the coin bought is the coin wanted, is to use the services of a coin dealer. With the internet, a list of coin dealers nearby is easy to find. But if the buyer is new to collecting, or the dealer selected is new to the buyer, it’s going to be important to assess that he is what he says he is. This, most likely, will mean a face to face meeting. Looking into the eyes of a dealer will often tell a collector if he is the real deal, or a fake waiting to be uncovered.

Here is a list of questions that should always be asked before entering into any agreement with an unknown coin dealer:

What does he know about the area of specialisation of the collector?

A dealer who deals mostly in pre war US coins may be able to source a 1932 Australian Half Penny, but would he know that it was bought at the right price, and that it is indeed the exact piece the collector wants? Only so much can be wrestled from books, and experience counts as the better part of expertise.

What credentials does the dealer hold?

Is he a member of numismatic societies? Does he lecture on his specialisation? Can he show society certificates, or testimonials from satisfied clients, which confirm his claims. A knowledgeable dealer will be only too pleased to discuss his background, experience and affiliations with a prospective client. Membership of the Professional Numismatic Guild is a very good sign of a dealer’s credentials, as they have stringent entry requirements.

What is the History of The Dealer?

Coin dealers spring up all the time, and disappear just as quickly. A company that has been around a long time will have built up a regular client base, and simply by its continued and long term existence has testimonial as to its quality. Newer dealers may offer better deals, but may not be around to answer queries in the days, months, or years, following the purchase of a prized piece.

How often does the dealer attend trade shows or auctions?

A dealer that spends time on stalls, or visiting exhibitions, auctions, or shows, will have his finger on the pulse of what’s hot and what’s not. He’ll have a better appreciation of price, and be known within coin dealing circles. This could be important when the coin desired is rare: a dealer that is known amongst his peers will be better equipped to secure a great coin at a great price.

Does the dealer offer two way deals?

Many reputable dealers will offer what is termed a ‘two way deal’. They are so confident about the coins they sell that they would be happy to repurchase from a collector. This actually gives them a continuing stream of coins, and increases not only their market presence and perceived expertise but their profits too. It also serves to give the collector peace of mind.

Are the coins for sale certified by independent graders?

This is a big question to have answered. An independent grading by, for example, the NGC or the PCGS, gives the coin for sale a rubber stamp of authenticity. It improves the value and the ability for resale. A dealer whose coins are certified in such a way takes his coins, his work, and his buyers, seriously.

What is the customer service like?

If a collector is to have a long term relationship with a dealer, its going to be important to know what level of service (short term and ongoing) can be expected. Do they have a website? Will they answer email queries? Is there a dedicated customer service number? All these are questions that a collector might want answered before entering into a relationship with a dealer.

Receive the right answers to all of these questions, and a collector can be assured of a long and fruitful relationship with a competent and well respected dealer that will see his job as helping the collector at every opportunity.

Share your thoughts

You must be logged in to post a comment.