Articles Published by Ken Dunn - Dunway Enterprises
Coin collecting is the collecting or trading of coins or other forms of legally minted currency.
Frequently collected coins include those that were in circulation for only a brief time, minted with errors or especially beautiful or historically interesting pieces. Coin collecting can be differentiated from numismatics in that the latter is the study of currency, though both are obviously closely related.
After searching through your change boxes and hitting up friends and neighbours for spare coins, at some point you’ll want to add to your collection by buying coins. But as the saying goes, let the buyer beware. There are literally thousands of places to purchase collectible coins, and knowing how to find a reputable dealer is of the utmost importance. Here are some good places to start.
The Professional Numismatic Guild is a non-profit organization whose goal is to protect coin collectors from fraud and misrepresentation. Their member dealers must have a verified amount of over $100,000 in numismatic assets before they can join, and all members are full-time coin dealers with an average of more than 25 years of experience in the field.
A great advantage to finding a dealer through the PNG is their arbitration process; an unbiased third party arbitrator will handle any disputes arising from a purchase from one of their members. View their complete member list settle any at the Guild website at www.pngdealers.com.
The American Numismatic Association and the American Numismatic Society also have lists of recommended dealers available on their websites. Membership in these societies assures the buyer that the dealer will be held to certain standards of integrity and conduct, and the buyer will generally be safer than when working with a private dealer.
When considering a purchase, understanding the grading of coins is critical to the collector. The National Numismatic Grading System offers books, videos and accepts submissions of coins to be professionally graded. The Numismatic Guarantee Corporation also offers coin-grading services, based on the standard scale of 70 points. If you are thinking of buying a particular coin, this can be a good place to look to determine a fair market price before you put down your money.
Many collectors buy and sell at online sites like eBay or other auctions. Some of these online auctions do offer guarantees that aim to protect the bidder, but one must be diligent in reading the fine print before bidding. The competition on some auctions can be intense, and an auction can go on for a lone time. Not quite true auctions, many established coin dealers may have an online store that they advertise through auction sites. This might be in addition to their physical store. One advantage to online stores is that you can often view a digital computer scan of the coins listed for sale that will help you make good purchasing decisions.
Coin collecting magazines are also good sources of buying coins. Unfortunately it’s not always possible to view the coins you are buying, and anything bought “sight unseen” comes with an inherent risk. If you buy from a dealer who advertises in a magazine, be sure to check to see if they belong to any of the professional coin dealer organizations mentioned above.
Make sure the dealer has a fair return policy and do not start out with major purchases before developing faith in the seller. It is safer to buy certified coins and modern coins through mail order than it is to buy older coins that may have been cleaned to look like a higher grade of coin.
Many collectors enjoy actually viewing and holding the coins they are considering. If this sounds good to you, hit the local sources for your collection. Local auctions and estate sales are usually well advertised in advance so you can view the coins before you bid.
These sales are a good way to increase the size of your collection. Conventions and trade shows are another great way to see the product before you buy; check online for a show coming to a town near you.
However you choose to add to your collection, keep these safeguards in mind and you’ll be on your way to the collection of your dreams.
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