Archive | March, 2012

Network of Niches

30 Mar

A Network of Niches within the numismatic community is what brings everyone together.  Knowing how everybody works together or doesn’t work together well is important.  General knowledge of each niche market within the numismatic industry is usually a good thing to have coupled with a specific area of focus for your own business; this draws a pretty traditional model for the average numismatic business.

Numismatic news is very important too.  What business or individual gets along with another is important information to have.  Why?  As the reader, you will have to put on your thinking caps to decipher the why; there can be many reasons though.  Who is a direct competitor? Who is an indirect competitor? Does dealer A get along professionally and/or personally with dealer B?  Who is a subsidiary business of another and who is a standalone business?  These facts can be important in negotiation of terms.

The following list mentions only a few of the many niches that are in the numismatic community.  Some niches can be grouped with others and some niches do well standing alone:

Bullion, Supplies, Books, Seated Liberty Coins, Jewelry, World Coins, Gold Coins, Standing Liberty Quarters, Coins of Ireland, Coins of the United States, Spanish Colonial, Grading and Authentication Services, Ancients, Software, Auction Houses, Mint Products, Carson City Coins, Numismatic Collectables

The network of niches can be discussed in further details amongst your friends and colleagues within the industry but this just skims the surface and can provide a head start for anyone who may be entering blindly.  Niches are found in any marketplace and the network does not establish itself, nor does it happen overnight.  Please feel free to comment how you wish.  Thanks for following!


Numismatists: Be Aware of Your Surroundings

12 Mar

Unfortunately there are thieves in this world.  On March 11, 2012, a Pennsylvania coin dealer had $150k in numismatic value stolen from inside of his car in, apparently, a matter of seconds.  A link to the story here:  Stealing coins is not a new thing, however.  In 2007, in conjunction with the summer FUN show a coin dealer was held up outside of the Peabody hotel near the convention center.  Dealers and collectors need to be aware of their surroundings at all times.

There are some measures that a dealer or collector can take in order to minimize risk of loss of property.  If you have a permit to carry a firearm, you might want to consider having it on your person every single time that you have inventory or other things of value with you; the element of surprise can be somewhat of a deterrent to a person or persons with bad intentions such as stealing.  A person should always be watchful of anyone that may be following them into, around or out of a convention center, coin store or other venues.

Try to never travel alone if you can help it; the more people the better.  Always look to see if a car is following you on the way home from a show.  Always take your coins inside with you in their unmarked wheeled or carrying cases.  Mail the high value items back home or hire private security to transport some of your things if necessary.  None of these procedures are full proof implementation processes, not even private security, but they can minimize risk.

Stories of burglaries, robberies and even homicides revolving around the industries of coins, bullion, diamonds, pawn and other related businesses have been transpiring since the beginning of all of the aforementioned professions.  Pony express stagecoaches were robbed constantly during the old west for crying out loud.  THIS IS NOT NEW!  Often times, situations are made too easy for thieves.  Leaving your things in your car while you go inside for dinner is one way of making things easy for a thief.  It is possible that had the $150k in coins been inside the restaurant with the dealer during his stopover for a meal, the coins may still be in the dealer’s possession today.  It is also possible the dealer would have just been robbed in the parking lot, heartwarming, I know.

The fact of the matter is that being a numismatic enthusiast can be a super fun pastime, but when thefts like this occur, it puts a bad taste in my mouth for so many things.  It makes people angry and sometimes helpless at the same time.  It is your job to always be familiar with your surroundings as well as others every moves and behaviors when you are managing value.  These occurrences are not new, they seem more prevalent than ever and they will happen in the future.  Do what you can to minimize the risk involved.

Please comment on this post however you feel moved to do so.  I would love to hear from you.

How to Prepare for a Coin Show

11 Mar

What do you normally do before a coin show? Some people listen to Vivaldi in order to clear their mind on the drive or flight to the show; others stress about all of the business that they need to conduct in order to make their expenses and finance their high life. Here are a few things that always help me to prepare for a coin show.

  1. Write a checklist of things to take to the show.
  2. Have everything packed to take to the show at least 4 hours before leaving (procrastinators often find this difficult).
  3. Price your collector coins for sale before you get to the show.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the current spot prices of precious metals that you plan to buy or sell.
  5. Practice strategies for negotiation in front of a mirror; there are always terms to consider when buying or selling and thinking about this ahead of time will help you during the moments of professional compromise.
  6. If available, look at the dealer directory for the show and notice table locations that might be important for you within the room/rooms where you will be.

I guess that you could do some breathing exercises to hold you back from all of the excitement that is about to burst out of you from going to a coin show! But realistically, logically, the above mentioned six preparations should help get any collector or dealer ready for a coin show in a well-organized, yet basic manner. I’m only writing this because some numismatic enthusiasts just don’t know what simple approaches could assist them in having a good show.

I suggest taking some of the above measures and trying to put one or two to use in order to see how they might work for you.  Caveat lector, maybe they won’t work (they work for me). I would like to hear about how you prepare for a coin show; leave me a comment!

ebay: The Never-Ending Coin Show

5 Mar


“Ebay was founded in 1995 and it is a forum that connects individuals and small businesses in order to buy and sell with each other,” (1 source link below). On ebay, people buy and sell almost anything except for, I believe, firearms and live animals. For our purpose, people can buy and sell coins on ebay!

For numismatic enthusiasts, ebay can be a nonstop, online coin show. Ebay is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week of numismatic madness. While writing this evening, the site had about 460,000 lots for just “United States coins.”

Two of the common things to be sure of before buying on ebay are listings with “actual photos” and really good qualitative positive “feedback” of sellers. Some sellers use stock photos that are borrowed photos used in a feeble attempt to show buyers what they are selling. For coins, that just does not work because every coin is unique! We won’t talk about stock photos for bullion or generic coins; those can sometimes be acceptable.

Feedback can also be a huge determining factor for buying on ebay. If a seller has a track record of selling items and receiving positive feedback from a significant variation of buyers then their next item that they sell will probably be good also. Plus, your credit card or paypal’s buyer protection should safeguard you from fraud or any damage/misrepresentation of items.

There is a ton of content on ebay and it is impossible to see everything. Some people buy an item or more every day on ebay and others only buy something once in a while. Ebay can be useful for pricing similar items to give you an idea of what yours might be worth or you might find ebay to be a forum where you can buy or sell what interests you.

Be smart and make sure you have taken necessary measures to protect yourself if something goes wrong with a deal, but have fun with searching on ebay and see if you like it. I recommend for you to give the site a try if you haven’t already.


“Poor 1,” Just A Fad or Here to Stay?

4 Mar

Poor 1 is numerically the lowest grade of a coin that you can have where the coin is still identifiable; not only can that piece still be identifiable but more and more it is becoming highly collected. PCGS and NGC registry set collectors are interested more in these with every day.

More dealers are offering poor 1 graded and encapsulated coins for sale in their inventories and they are asking good money for some coins! More collectors are starting to ask for these poor 1 graded coins, PCGS or NGC, at trade shows and in coin shops.

Is a poor 1 worth more than a fair 2 even though it’s lower grade? In many cases, “yes” has proven to be the correct answer. For some coins a poor 1 might be worth more than a coin in fine or very fine, (now you just think I’m talking because I like to hear myself.) Seriously, I saw an 1876 Carson City Half Dollar (PCGS PO01) in a dealer’s case last week who wanted more than $200 for his coin; I thought he was crazy and thanked him for quoting me a price. In fine condition that coin is worth well under $100 to most people, but the market sets itself on these low grade coins; maybe $200 was worth it.

I think that the registry set popularity of poor 1 quality coins are here to stay. They are cheaper than “top pop” priced coins. Furthermore, in many cases they are just as hard to find, if not harder to find than “top pop” examples.

Poor 1 could be the collecting wave of the future, what do you think?