Numismatic Coin Club World Internet Numismatic Society

The Other Side of the Fence
By Brandon Frei, WINS#868

In numismatics, I can think of few things as exciting as being handed a handful of coins and being asked to identify them for someone who knows very little about them. I love the idea of being able to view coins that have been tucked away for years, or to help spark a numismatic interest in another person. I'm certain that every person reading this article has, at some time, been handed a few coins, tokens, or medallions, and been asked if they knew anything of what they were holding.

Very recently, I had the displeasure of being asked to help someone sell her father's coin collection. I say displeasure because it breaks my heart to take someone's years, or even lifetime of effort, and trade them for a few dollar bills. Lucky for me, she gave me the opportunity to go through it and make sure the collection goes to a loving home. I've been able to catalog much of the collection and have already found a nice home for some of the items. Frustratingly, there is still a bit of inventory remaining and I'm struggling with how to proceed.

As many of us know from personal experience, rarely does the average collector earn a profit on their purchases. Most often, we are lucky enough to break even should we muster the strength to let a coin go. Now, compound that difficulty with trying to sell an entire collection in a truncated amount of time. The chances of recouping any value decrease incredibly when there is a large collection and little amount of time to sell it off.

As I was going through the collection and thinking of the best way to sell things, my awareness and appreciation for coin dealers increased. Coin dealers have to take snapshot looks at a collection and determine a price they can pay to give the seller a reasonable offer while retaining the ability to profit from the purchase. Overall, they will end up making a profit, it could be days, weeks, or even months, before they cash in on their investment. The more I struggled with how to proceed and who to contact, the more I realized that it's not so easy being a coin dealer. Lucky for me, my normal coin experiences are on the side of the buyer.


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