Any advice for becoming a dealer at coin shows?
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I have been debating for a while now and I think I am going to start selling at some shows. I’ve acquired some collections where I only want a small portion of, and my inventory of items I would sell is getting large. I don’t want to pay eBay or auction fees and I love talking coins. So it seems like a fun way to interact with fellow collectors and maybe sell a few things. Any of you that have done it have any advice? 

- Don’t do it you are crazy?
- Do you generally sell a decent amount if you have quality items for sale?
- Do raw coins sell well? I have a ton of mid grade coins on the cusp of warranting grading but I would prefer to sell raw. 
- Should I spring for a corner or double table or does it work just as well to have a single table and bring out items as people ask if it isn’t something in your case? Meaning is having more in plain view vital or will people ask for what you have that isn’t out?
- Rent or buy cases? If I start this I plan to keep at it so I’m leaning towards buying. But transporting is an added pain.
- What have you learned that you wish you knew when you started?
- What pitfalls should I avoid?

Any information is much appreciated. And maybe you will see me at a show soon. 

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On 8/21/2021 at 11:35 AM, RWB said:

With a lot of surplus coins, you could try a local show. Organize what you have, determine what to display, and price aggressively to draw customers and interest. Don't rent more table space than you (or with a helper) can supervise and sell from. Track all sales and item requests that you could not fulfill. Make your table space attractive and interesting - not merely a copy-cat flat space among all the other copy-cat flat spaces. If there's a curtain behind your backup table, use that space to attract attention. You might love to "talk coins" but you are there to sell (and possibly buy) - most of the coin talk will be limited to individual items. 20 seconds is the maximum time you will have to engage a potential customer. Recognize that a large proportion of those visiting your table will be poorly informed or ignorant of coin terminology....it's what they are and you can't change that in 20 seconds.

When the show is over, make a cold business examination of what sold-what sat, revenue vs time and expense. Unfilled requests will help you understand the potential buyers at this show and to make estimates for future shows.

PS: Know your inventory.

Great advice 

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Be prepared to have the other dealers flock to your table and attempt to cherry pick your material while expecting you to sell at wholesale prices, like blood in the water.  I'd suggest that you have some junk silver or perhaps some silver rounds if possible, always a few stackers in the crowd.   If you have some of those items that you bought before the run up on silver prices that can be an easy way to cover the table costs for a smaller show.

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On 8/21/2021 at 4:39 PM, Coinbuf said:

Be prepared to have the other dealers flock to your table and attempt to cherry pick your material while expecting you to sell at wholesale prices, like blood in the water.  I'd suggest that you have some junk silver or perhaps some silver rounds if possible, always a few stackers in the crowd.   If you have some of those items that you bought before the run up on silver prices that can be an easy way to cover the table costs for a smaller show.

Dealers will hate me. I will give a fellow collector a deal if I can, but dealers can take a hike haha. I plan on using this as a way to divest a bunch of 90% and ASEs. Good advice. 

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Earth to @VKurtB !

Earth to @VKurtB !

Kindly put the "Speed Grahic" down long enough to craft an answer to this question I have never encountered before.  Surely you must have some ideas from your vantage point as an experienced buyer at shows...

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On 8/21/2021 at 5:13 PM, Woods020 said:

Dealers will hate me. I will give a fellow collector a deal if I can, but dealers can take a hike haha. I plan on using this as a way to divest a bunch of 90% and ASEs. Good advice. 

No matter the sales enjoy the experience, I did this myself a good 15 years ago and it was very educational to see things from the other side of the table.

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On 8/21/2021 at 10:14 PM, Coinbuf said:

No matter the sales enjoy the experience, I did this myself a good 15 years ago and it was very educational to see things from the other side of the table.

It really is......being on the dealer/seller's side is definitely different.  It changed me in many aspects of my participation in the hobby, but in good ways.  I wish you the best of luck and much success, Woods!

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I seldom like to “dicker” when buying. I decide whether the marked price is something I’m comfortable paying, and 9 times out of ten, the seller will quote a lower price, especially if I’m buying several. Always be aware of “net” boxes. That means the marked price is THE price. I love net boxes. I surf them often for surprises. Great fun. 
 

Start with an “inline” table. They’re cheaper (overhead is a killer), and easier to monitor to not get ripped off. Have business cards ready. Many shows create “later sales”, after spouse checking goes on by the buyers. I always get to every table when I shop at a show. When I’m working for the ANA, less so. I lose NO sleep over lost buys. Streetcars. The “extra cost” of prime locations will enhance your “dealer to dealer” visibility, but that’s not a concern for you. Any idea how soon you might try it?

Edited by VKurtB
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On 8/21/2021 at 10:14 PM, VKurtB said:

I seldom like to “dicker” when buying. I decide whether the marked price is something I’m comfortable paying, and 9 times out of ten, the seller will quote a lower price, especially if I’m buying several. Always be aware of “net” boxes. That means the marked price is THE price. I love net boxes. I surf them often for surprises. Great fun. 
 

Start with an “inline” table. They’re cheaper (overhead is a killer), and easier to monitor to not get ripped off. Have business cards ready. Many shows create “later sales”, after spouse checking goes on by the buyers. I always get to every table when I shop at a show. When I’m working for the ANA, less so. I lose NO sleep over lost buys. Streetcars. The “extra cost” of prime locations will enhance your “dealer to dealer” visibility, but that’s not a concern for you. Any idea how soon you might try it?

I’m ready at the next opportunity. I debated seriously on the dalton show and ended up not doing it. I’ve got enough to sell for several shows so whenever the opportunity arises I’m in. 

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Since you are in Alabama, consider attending FUN 2022 since you can probably drive there.  Splitting a booth might work.  But you'll definitely have lots of traffice there if you have a problem unloading stuff at a local show. (thumbsu

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@Woods020. I would have to be honest with you, that thought has never occurred to me. By way of analogy, I know prosecutors hone their skills as members of the district attorneys office in NYC, and then leave to become defense attorneys, a common practice, but the gulf between them is wider. Sam Leibowitz defended th nine Scottsboro boys in Alabama, but became a hanging judge in Brooklyn. Earl Warren, too, was a noted liberal as California governor, but made an about face on the U.S. Supreme Supreme Court. There are parts of the Deep South that have never gotten over his activism.

If a girl scout were to come by with a gaping whole in her Whiman album, no way I am going to hit her with a snarky remark regarding Fair Market Value.  I don't now if dealers have Bargain Boxes handy but if they don't they probably ought should.  There's a store owner who's downsized to renting a booth in his old age who has long past realized he cannot afford to turn away business in his twilight years.  There is a seismic shift and chasm between being a buyer and seller. They've never had any problem from me.  They -- I am talking years ago -- will be firm in their pricing but will make a concession if you put down a nice deposit indicating your continued interest in a sale and intent to follow through. I don't know if I have what it takes to be a dealer. It is easy to speculate what you would do if you were, but I wouldn't want to speculate as to the outcome. Coins, after all, are a business.  The easiest to get along with are the retired seniors. They enjoy the attention and helping those just starting out.  I've met some great, down-to-earth dealers over the years with great stores of knowledge who are only too anxious to share it with young folks. I have my sights set on the big show in Jan. 2022 emphasizing world coins.

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@Woods020 I wish you luck if you get into dealing hope it works out enough for you to pursuit a hobby/career out of it. Maybe you can start a small private online website to help sell even more of your coins to help keep your inventory fresh and new from time to time 

when I went to shows I’ve got tons of business cards from dealers with websites (that have inventory) I do business with them all time at the shows and online private websites . I haven’t bought on coin on eBay since 2010 was last time I ever bought a coin on eBay . I haven’t been to coin show for about 3 years I’m guilty of converting over to internet coin buying dealing with only dealers that I trust that I’ve met in person at coin shows 

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On 8/22/2021 at 6:28 AM, Jason Abshier said:

@Woods020 I wish you luck if you get into dealing hope it works out enough for you to pursuit a hobby/career out of it. Maybe you can start a small private online website to help sell even more of your coins to help keep your inventory fresh and new from time to time 

when I went to shows I’ve got tons of business cards from dealers with websites (that have inventory) I do business with them all time at the shows and online private websites . I haven’t bought on coin on eBay since 2010 was last time I ever bought a coin on eBay . I haven’t been to coin show for about 3 years I’m guilty of converting over to internet coin buying dealing with only dealers that I trust that I’ve met in person at coin shows 

I have a website built ironically. I’ve been dabbling with this idea for a while and just haven’t pulled the trigger. I’ll talk to my accountant next week to see how best to go about going live. Shows are much less a concern with licensing and taxes. I have zero misconceptions that this will be a full time gig. I am lucky to have a day job that coin dealing won’t replace. But it could be a fun side business. 

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On balance, I am all for it. And based on your comments, heretofore, on the Forum, you strike me as being a knowledgeable, at times fesity, discriminating collector with an eye toward quality..  And who knows, if you had a French 20-franc gold rooster dated 1914 in MS-67 condition -- a coin neither TPGS has yet to certify, I would dispense with its examination and buy it from you, in cash, sight unseen -- solely on your word.  🐓

Edited by Quintus Arrius
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On 8/22/2021 at 10:32 AM, Woods020 said:

Shows are much less a concern with licensing and taxes

I often wondered that , I know some brick and mortar shops needed a license to do business and also in some areas licenses to deal in precious metals but a numismatic or antique license dealing should cover that both ways  . I don’t know , I don’t do business selling coins or precious metals on daily basic . but lugging coins around from show to show ? Seems like a a lot tedious work!  buy yourself an handgun for protection and learn how to use it … I happen to carry a 9mm for daily protection pray I never have to use it on someone but the way society is today , who knows where the S**T gonna hit the fan !

I’ve heard stories of coin dealers getting robbed outside the shows or at hotel place or diner coin dealer Julian Leidman comes to mind the time $500,000-$700,000 worth of coins were stolen off him while he was chowing down on food in a diner they broke into his vehicle to steal the coins. He never got all of them back either so carrying a handgun isn’t a bad thing it’s your god giving rights thanks to the 2nd amendment ! 

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On 8/22/2021 at 11:19 AM, Quintus Arrius said:

On balance, I am all for it. And based on your comments, heretofore, on the Forum, you strike me as being a knowledgeable, at times fesity, discriminating collector with an eye toward quality..  And who knows, if you had a French 20-franc gold rooster dated 1914 in MS-67 condition -- a coin neither TPGS has yet to certify, I would dispense with its examination and buy it from you, in cash, sight unseen -- solely on your word.  🐓

You’d buy the coin in “MS67 condition” according to whom and at what price? While well intended, your remark was far too vague to mean much of anything.

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On 8/22/2021 at 11:19 AM, Quintus Arrius said:

On balance, I am all for it. And based on your comments, heretofore, on the Forum, you strike me as being a knowledgeable, at times fesity, discriminating collector with an eye toward quality..  And who knows, if you had a French 20-franc gold rooster dated 1914 in MS-67 condition -- a coin neither TPGS has yet to certify, I would dispense with its examination and buy it from you, in cash, sight unseen -- solely on your word.  🐓

Believe it or not I’ve kept an eye out for these roosters. I don’t deal with a ton of people that have much in the way of world coins, but I do keep an eye out if some are there. I wouldn’t take my word for an MS67, particularly over a TPG, but if I ever see a pristine example you will be the first to know. 

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Thank you all for the advice. I know some of you have actually been behind a table selling and I appreciate the wisdom. I’ll dip my toe in and see how it goes. My end game would be to in a small way finance my personal collection, have some fun, and maybe have opportunities to view and purchase more coins at a reasonable price. No delusions of grandeur on my part that I will be a rare coin mogul 

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On 8/22/2021 at 12:29 PM, MarkFeld said:

You’d buy the coin in “MS67 condition” according to whom and at what price? While well intended, your remark was far too vague to mean much of anything.

Not really.  Remember, I never laid eyes on any coin or slabbed I bought. I put my implicit trust on the top two TPGS. My only mishap occurred when I bought an MS-67 encapsulated by NGC from a reputable Cailformia dealer with instructions to forward it directly to PCGS, which declined to cross-grade.  My only recourse was to study the coin carefully as depicted among the dealer's wares on-line It was then that I learned, relying solely on my experience, that the coin was grossly overgraded. (In point of fact, I believe you yourself would have agree.) In any event, my money was refunded, I paid all related costs ahead of time, and oddly, never held the coin (slab) in my hands. I concured wholeheartedly with PCGS' call.  Note:  It was a 1910 MS-67. -- which I still have not acquired. Price, as our Great Zadok, would say, is a moot point. I have wired funds ($50 via JP Morgan Chase) coverson fees to euros, (what I call bribes, which were inducements to relinquish private ownership) and, if it comes to it, as it already has (Customs fees) which our Conder, citing chapter and verse, stated was unwarranted. I don't know what Fair Market Value is. It seems to depend on who wants what at any given moment. What I learned from experience is if you do not act quickly, someone else may, and you opportunity is lost.  I have my APB's AND BOLO's out there everywhere they ought to be.  Unfortunately, the dates I seek are in Europe, primarily, where the prices run higher. I appreciate your interest.

Edited by Quintus Arrius
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On 8/22/2021 at 1:13 PM, Woods020 said:

Believe it or not I’ve kept an eye out for these roosters. I don’t deal with a ton of people that have much in the way of world coins, but I do keep an eye out if some are there. I wouldn’t take my word for an MS67, particularly over a TPG, but if I ever see a pristine example you will be the first to know. 

Much obliged. 

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I did this a few years ago just to sell some items that I no longer wanted/collected.  I bought some second hand cases and some table cloths and lights (be sure to have some good lights to help customers out) and since I knew the dealer that ran the show it was easy and overall a fun experience.  As others have said, be mindful of security going and coming back as well as at the show table.  Price everything before you go and know what room you have to negotiate (a percentage works well, so if you know you have 10%, you can come down $10 on a $100 coin, it's easier to know when to take or decline offers).  Document all that you are bringing and what you sell, so you can at least know if you are missing anything.  I also had a half off box which people could rummage through, and I thought it would be fun for kids, but as it turned out it was more of a pain than anything, so I shifted it to 2x2s in a binder that was half off so people could more easily find specific dates and denominations.  I had no problem with dealers buying from me, but I don't think I offered them significantly different prices.  Hope this helps!

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On 8/22/2021 at 7:32 AM, Woods020 said:

Shows are much less a concern with licensing and taxes.

Depends on where you are. I've heard stories of city revenue agents coming into shows to check every sellers license and confirming sales tax collection. 

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On 8/24/2021 at 12:10 PM, gmarguli said:

Depends on where you are. I've heard stories of city revenue agents coming into shows to check every sellers license and confirming sales tax collection. 

I am learning that. I was talking to a dealer recently and he said he had to read up on state regulations every time before he went to a show because he couldn’t keep up with it all. 

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My state doesn't have a sales tax on coins/bullion any more, but I admit that was a factor in the timing of my decision to set up a few times.  I waited until after the repeal of the sales tax as I didn't want to deal with it and only brought non-taxable things to sell (they still charge tax on albums, supplies, etc.).

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On 8/24/2021 at 12:27 PM, jtryka said:

I did this a few years ago just to sell some items that I no longer wanted/collected.  I bought some second hand cases and some table cloths and lights (be sure to have some good lights to help customers out) and since I knew the dealer that ran the show it was easy and overall a fun experience.  As others have said, be mindful of security going and coming back as well as at the show table.  Price everything before you go and know what room you have to negotiate (a percentage works well, so if you know you have 10%, you can come down $10 on a $100 coin, it's easier to know when to take or decline offers).  Document all that you are bringing and what you sell, so you can at least know if you are missing anything.  I also had a half off box which people could rummage through, and I thought it would be fun for kids, but as it turned out it was more of a pain than anything, so I shifted it to 2x2s in a binder that was half off so people could more easily find specific dates and denominations.  I had no problem with dealers buying from me, but I don't think I offered them significantly different prices.  Hope this helps!

It may be heresy to suggest this, but if I were renting a table at a coin show, I would want someone with me, preferably a woman to help me keep an eye on things.  I am rather firm but my own sister, not much younger than me would be the perfect foil. I have.never been to a brickand-mortar store that wasn't staffed by two or three salesmen.  Even Stack's employed an armed security guard. (Paramount, which has since changed its name but still on West 57th Street, was robbed twice. A single salesperson however vigilant, is insufficient

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