Shopping a Coin Around: Buyer and Seller

1 May


From the perspective of The Numismatic Enthusiast, Buyer: 

A young man (probably mid-twenties) walks into our store and asks what we would pay for his liberty half eagle.  It’s a common date, I grade the coin ms61 or ms62 and I offer $385 at the time.  I can sell the coin raw for about $405, at the time, wholesale.  If we had a customer to sell it to, which we didn’t, we could have made maybe $30 instead of $20.  The thing is nobody ever comes into the store asking for a BU or CU quality liberty half eagle.  For one thing, the Indian fives are way more popular and nowadays many customers ask for the coin to be PCGS or NGC certified, even for a common bullion type coin like this. 

The customer tells me I can get more for this item at another shop down the street.  That may be, but let’s say he is offered the same exact price ($385) down the street, what is the chance that he will actually take the time to walk or drive back down to us to sell the half eagle for the same price that I just offered??  My guess is he will just sell the coin in the place where he received the most recent offer and not waste any more of his time, that’s rational. 

Maybe it is best to make the second or third offer.  On an item like this, does the twenty dollars make a difference?  You decide.  Should I get upset?  No, I should, however, reevaluate the situation and try a different approach next time.  The seller/shopper of an item should, however, try to be clear in their intentions saying something like, “Good afternoon, I am shopping around for offers on this coin or collectible and would like to see what you would pay for this,” something like that. 

At this time, the potential buyer can then make a judgment of whether the item is worth making an offer on or whether there can possibly be another nontraditional manner in which to handle the situation.  Example, “May I make the second offer?…Would you go ahead and get some other offers and come back to see me last?  I’ll make the last offer<– Nobody ever said that business was pretty.  Many dealers and collectors across an array of professional fields do this, it’s a common scenario.  As the potential buyer, you ask yourself the question: Play or pass? And what could be the repercussions of each?

I encourage you to share a moment with me that this post reminds you of.  Have a great day!


David Bozsik

The Numismatic Enthusiast


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