Coin collecting is a popular hobby that people have been doing for hundreds of years, dating back to the Renaissance. Many people are drawn to this hobby mostly to collect coins of significance such as rare coins, gold coins, mint error coins, and coins of historical significance. There are many of these types of coins out there that are worth good money, but there are also many remade and counterfeit coins that look like their more valuable counterparts, but are worth much less. This is why it is important for serious coin collectors to know how to find a reputable coin shop, whether they are looking to sell their coins or buy more for their collection.
It is easy to be deceived by fake coins and coin dealers looking to exploit collectors that do not have the same level of expertise. Before you go to a coin shop to buy or sell coins, make sure you take the following into account to ensure that they are a reputable dealer.
Research Their Experience
Generally speaking, the longer a coin dealer has been in business, the more they should know about appraising rare and valuable coins. Many coin collectors view their purchases as an investment, and therefore seek the advice of a trusted and knowledgeable coin dealer to provide accurate information. The best way to get the information you need to determine the experience and expertise of a coin buyer is to go into a coin shop and talk to their professionals. You should ask the coin dealer the following questions:
- How long have you been in business?
- What are your specific areas of expertise?
- Is your coin shop part of the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) or the American Numismatic Association (ANA)?
- Do you have a physical store? (For coin dealers you meet at a coin show.)
- Do you have partners in the industry?
The answers to these questions will give you a much clearer idea of the experience and specialization of the coin dealer. Membership in either the PNG or ANA is a positive because it means that the coin dealer has demonstrated an acceptable level competence and ethics to be allowed membership to these organizations. It is also a good sign for a coin dealer to have partners in the industry because this shows respect and continuity with their peers.
Check for Real Assets
It is important for a coin dealer to have genuine assets so that you know they will be in business for the foreseeable future. If the shop is full of authentic coins and other collectibles, this is a good sign that they are a financially stable business. However, it is also possible that the valuables in the shop are being sold on consignment which would mean that the coin dealer does not actually own these items. The reason it is important to assess how long the coin dealer will be in business is to protect yourself from getting ripped off by a coin dealer that will soon be out of business.
Assess Their Reputation Among Peers
An effective way to tell if a coin dealer is reputable is to assess their reputation among others in their industry. Coin dealers may get a bad reputation among their peers if they are unethical or not trustworthy, making it a good idea to avoid these coin dealers. If you know other coin collectors, ask them what their experience has been like with different dealers. This will give you further insight on a coin dealer’s reputation.
Assess Their Ethics
Ethics are very important when assessing a coin dealer because it is too easy for a dealer to rip off people who do not know what their coin collections are actually worth. Membership in the PNG or other similar organizations indicates that the coin dealer does uphold the ethical practices necessary to even be considered for membership. Ethical coin dealers always take the time to assess each of your coins and provide you with a fair estimate based on real market value.
Determine Your Recourse for Disputes
It is very important to look into what kind of recourse you have for any disputes for your own protection. A coin dealer who is not a member of the PNG or similar organization is not held to any type of standard and may be difficult to deal with if there is a dispute. PNG members agree to go through an arbitration process each time a complaint is brought up to settle the dispute. Working with a coin dealer that has PNG membership and a good reputation can save you the trouble of bringing a lawsuit against a non-member coin dealer.
Here are some more simple tips to help you determine whether a coin dealer is reputable:
- Reputable coin dealers should offer free appraisals with no risks or obligations.
- An appraisal of your coin collection should be matched by a cash offer for your coins.
- Many reputable coin dealers will come to your home or office for an appraisal.
If you are looking for a reputable coin dealer to sell your collection, make sure you look for the characteristics described above when choosing a dealer. PGS Gold & Coin is a trusted coin dealer and buyer in the Chicago suburbs that offers free, no obligation and no risk appraisals for your collection. We are endorsed by many industry organizations including the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), and the American Numismatic Association (ANA). Our professionals have years of experience with expertise in U.S. coins, and we always provide a fair and honest appraisal based on market conditions.