Who are your favorite Coin Dealers?
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29 posts in this topic

I work with dealers I respect who trade in the sorts of coins I collect. I test them. A great many are alienating: either they charge way too much, or have the social skills of baboons, or can't keep their sociopolitical outlooks separate from business. Most of the dealers I respect the most are those I meet in person at coin shows.

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On 9/22/2022 at 4:16 PM, JKK said:

I work with dealers I respect who trade in the sorts of coins I collect. I test them. A great many are alienating: either they charge way too much, or have the social skills of baboons, or can't keep their sociopolitical outlooks separate from business. Most of the dealers I respect the most are those I meet in person at coin shows.

Who are the dealers you like to work with the most?

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On 9/22/2022 at 1:18 PM, The Neophyte Numismatist said:

Who are the dealers you like to work with the most?

Faiz Kass-Elias of Rhaesana Numismatics: knowledgeable, fair, honest, a true gentleman. Scott Loos from North Bend (I think); always an excellent selection, taciturn but well respected. Brian Jenner of Coin Cradle, Kennewick, WA; was my local dealer there for many years and I still see him at our coin show in Portland. We always have some good-natured back-and-forth as I'm a Husky and he's a staunch Cougar, but he's one of the PNW's most respected numismatists and honest as the day is long. I also see Dan Templeman of Coin Exchange of Treasure Valley (east Boise), who was my local go-to when I lived there. Locally, my mentor Larry Gaye doesn't sell a lot of coins, but when he's willing to do so he has my undivided attention. Expert in Byzantine and ancient coinage, and a classy man in every way. Failla Numismatics is a local show/online dealership, father/son, that does a great job and I'm always glad to see. Same for Bruce Wonder of Bellingham, a professor emeritus at WWU and someone with a huge offering of world coins. Smart attributor, too, and a genteel fellow.

A lot of people don't know how to ask for discounts. The mantra is always "it doesn't hurt to ask." The hell it doesn't--it can easily offend dealers--but there's a ninja trick. First, pick out a bunch of coins--at least two or more. More than one coin gives the dealer some reason to think of a discount as a volume discount. Mentally total them so you know what the retail should be. Then I ask: "What would the total be for these?" Ostensibly it sounds like I'm just asking them do do some addition; basically all my dealers know exactly what I'm asking there, but since I haven't directly asked, it gives them space to be the good guy. I compare that total to the retail total; if I'm getting 10% off or better, I figure I'm doing okay. I always have cash or check, because dealers hate credit cards due to the fee. This is especially key where the coins are close to melt, and the fee would stretch the margin very thinly.

It might surprise people about the checks, but I can write a check at virtually any coin dealer in the PNW. Not because I'm in any way famous or special, but because I can establish in conversation that I'm in the local club (at the show, of course, this is obvious; I'm wearing a badge for crissakes). We'll know some people in common, and they'll probe a bit in that regard--as they should, just to satisfy themselves that I'm not full of bologna. The logic is that no one is a big enough insufficiently_thoughtful_person to utterly wreck his reputation by dropping a rubber check on a dealer down in Reedsport over $75 worth of coins, and it would only take one bad check to mark me lousy for good. That being the case, they are typically happy to take a personal check; it saves them the Visa fees and I might spend more money from the checkbook than I have in cash on hand. We're going to Bend this weekend, I'm definitely going shopping, and I'm hoping to find some good stuff. I don't personally know the dealers there, but that won't matter. I soon will. Whether that'll lead to some buying is up to them.

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On 9/22/2022 at 3:16 PM, JKK said:

can't keep their sociopolitical outlooks separate from business.

That goes with the territory any time you’re talking to small business owners. 

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On 9/22/2022 at 3:44 PM, JKK said:

I'm a Husky and he's a staunch Cougar,

You should try being a Penn State fan in Alabama right now. These people are nuts!

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On 9/22/2022 at 2:24 PM, VKurtB said:

That goes with the territory any time you’re talking to small business owners. 

And that's fine. If they want to nail those colors to their masts I'll make my decisions partly on that basis. Their right to do so; mine to keep moving and spend elsewhere.

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On 9/22/2022 at 2:26 PM, VKurtB said:

You should try being a Penn State fan in Alabama right now. These people are nuts!

And that's why they live there, and I live here, and I'm never going there, and they're probably never coming here.

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...in the beginning i mostly worked with a select group of specialized dealers...5 decades later the dealers mostly come to me with their finds, they usually offer me first refusal, they basically dont want me to learn from another collector that a coin im interested in was offered to them first...i usually pay the asking price, we r far passed the "whats ur best price" phase, first refusal is the discount...occasionally im given a lot price or the option of buying coins individually...i pay cash unless its in the 5 figures, i never use credit cards, if ever requested i always give the same reference name no further questions...the select dealers i deal with all know each other...these days the creme d creme coins often end up in signature auctions n thats where i go, follow the coin if u will...i do still shop the bourse for coins in my "boredom" collections because thats where the "real" coin collecting experience still exists, the camaraderie, the fun of the find...my favorite part? the holding the coin in hand after purchase....

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On 9/22/2022 at 12:40 PM, The Neophyte Numismatist said:

 

  • Who do you typically work with?  
  • Are they specialists or generalists?  
  • What is your favorite part about working with them?

So much of how anyone answers your questions will be defined by what they collect.   If I collected raw coins only, say large cents or ancients, or are buying very high grade examples, it could very well be a huge benefit to have a working relationship with a select few dealers.   Partly to reduce the risk of buying a fake, because no matter how good you are with a coin type or series having someone to be a sounding board to confirm your thoughts is very valuable.   And for those who only buy 18th and early 19th century coins working with a dealer or two can greatly enhance one's ability to get the "first crack" at new coins, perhaps even before they even come onto the market.   And hopefully those dealers are able to spot well hidden cleanings and issues that you might not.   But for collectors that predominantly buy only slabbed coins, twentieth century coins, and modern coins working with a specific dealer or two is not going to be all that important unless, again, the collector is looking to buy condition census material. 

I have no specific dealer or group of dealers that I work with currently, partly because I am not doing very much buying, but also because I'm not working on any series or collection that would require any special expertise.   The only dealer I have ever contacted to help me find Lincolns for my set is Andy and his wife at Angel Dee's, they are specialists in Lincolns and Bufalos.   Having heard good things about them I decided to make an effort to meet and discuss my wants with them at one of the LB shows in the mid twenty teens.    The best part of working with Andy was that after talking to him at the LB shows, he knew what I wanted in terms of the quality and look that I was going for thus I was confident that if he sent me something (he did several times send me coins to review in person prior to payment) it would 99% of the time be what I would like.   They were able to help me to locate (and in one case upgrading) 5 or 6 difficult mid twenties S mint coins that perhaps I would not have found otherwise.

For now the few coins that I am buying I can find via auctions or occasionally via the two ebay sellers that I follow so there is no current need for me to work with or have a WTB list with any dealers.

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On 9/22/2022 at 6:52 PM, J P M said:

Northeast Numismatics

Funny you mention Northeast, I just bought a Morgan Dollar from them I was having trouble finding for a reasonable price. I think you recommended them earlier this year. I was actually going to buy 2 recently listed and while putting them in my cart the other was scooped up. Rats.

I pretty much would stick with them, Apmex or Littleton for online dealers, and Great Collections for auctions, but I find Littleton is a little pricy with the Morgan Dollars.

Also USSQ.com (US State Quarters) has some pretty good prices on raw/slabbed/ogp contemporary coins like the ASEs as well as Presidental and Innovation dollars.

Edited by EagleRJO
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I have been shying away from eBay lately as there is a lot of impaired or counterfeit garbage where I have to spend countless hours weeding through the trash and making offers for the raw coins I'm interested in, just to find 3 decent ones I ended up buying since earlier this year. Have purchased a few slabbed ones there too with a little teeth-pulling.

But lately it seems like ppl on eBay are stuck with buying high earlier this year and are not bidding the coins, or it appears they have multiple accounts to bid up coins being auctioned. So, for slabbed auctions I have been sticking with Great Collections and getting some really good deals lately.

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Cant help but to notice that people are a little tight-lipped about who they are working with :ph34r:.  I have no concerns on that, so here are the dealers I commonly work with:

  • Frisco Mint/Early Cents - Specialist Dealer (Copper)
  • David Lawrence (Generalist)
  • Stacks (Generalist)
  • Sarasota Numismatics (Generalist)
  • Northeast Numismatics (Generalist)
  • DB Rare Coins (Generalist)
  • In God We Trust Coins (Generalist)
  • Liz Cogan (Generalist)

I also buy from HA, GC, and eBay (auctions), and a mix-and-match of dealer/collectors at local coin shows.

To fully answer my own question:

I like all of these dealers for different things, but they all have one common thread... all of them have very nice material.  

Chris McCawley and Lucas Baldrige at Frisco Mint/Early Cents are very knowledgeable and have taught me a lot about copper, and some of the tougher varieties.  The knowledge that they have shared with me has paid-off in every dealer interaction since I met them (Especially when dealing with generalists).  They have also put me into contact with other Half Cent experts.

Note: If you are just getting into a particular specialty, I recommend building a relationship with a specialist dealer (or two).  A good specialist dealer will "level-up" your knowledge, turn you on to the right resources and other collectors that are willing to share information with you.  They are almost guaranteed not to be the cheapest... but you can avoid some of the common costly pitfalls/mistakes that a newbie would make (and that stays with you forever.) 

 

 

Edited by The Neophyte Numismatist
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Honesty & Truthfulness

Knowledge of coins

Knowledge of grading

Reasonable return policy

 

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On 9/22/2022 at 6:15 PM, tigerbait said:

Rude people are particularly offensive to me.  

You clearly aren’t in the Middle Atlantic states then. 

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On 9/23/2022 at 11:25 AM, RWB said:

Knowledge of grading

“Agree with ME about grading.”

There, I fixed it for you. 

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On 9/22/2022 at 5:08 PM, JKK said:

And that's fine. If they want to nail those colors to their masts I'll make my decisions partly on that basis. Their right to do so; mine to keep moving and spend elsewhere.

I can’t drive two blocks without seeing You Know Who 2024 flags on every other house. 

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On 9/22/2022 at 6:08 PM, JKK said:

And that's fine. If they want to nail those colors to their masts I'll make my decisions partly on that basis. Their right to do so; mine to keep moving and spend elsewhere.

Well said!

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On 9/23/2022 at 4:07 PM, VKurtB said:

I can’t drive two blocks without seeing You Know Who 2024 flags on every other house. 

@VKurtB Are you going to actually respond to the topic of this thread, or are you just here to continue to "Statler and Waldorf" it?  It would be awesome to see some value added...

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On 9/23/2022 at 3:33 PM, The Neophyte Numismatist said:

 

@VKurtB Are you going to actually respond to the topic of this thread, or are you just here to continue to "Statler and Waldorf" it?  It would be awesome to see some value added...

I find it difficult to take much of anything numismatic online with very much seriousness at all, that’s true. I like Angel Dee’s and Allen Berman. Usually I shop the material, not the dealer. Easily 95% of my serious pieces have been bought raw at in person auctions without Internet bidding. I buy very few graded coins. I usually “make them”.

Edited by VKurtB
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On 9/23/2022 at 3:33 PM, The Neophyte Numismatist said:

 

@VKurtB Are you going to actually respond to the topic of this thread, or are you just here to continue to "Statler and Waldorf" it?  It would be awesome to see some value added...

Besides, Statler and Waldorf are my idols. 

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On 9/23/2022 at 4:55 PM, VKurtB said:

I buy very few graded coins. I usually “make them”.

Gotta like that comment! Almost all of what I buy is raw also, because I collect coins not labels. It does limit my options somewhat because I have to be very careful without decades of experience to rely on.

I don't feel comfortable yet just walking into a random show, auction or shop to look at some raw coins quickly to pick some to buy or bid on right then. I am comfortable with one local dealer I trust who handles a lot of raw coins, and he is working on my "want list" you recommended I give him.

Edited by EagleRJO
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Also, a few have mentioned specialists which I have seen for world coins or ancients, but is anyone aware of specialists with Morgans? I am having trouble filling some holes in my collection at a reasonable price. It may just take time and patience, but options are always good.

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On 9/24/2022 at 11:28 AM, EagleRJO said:

Also, a few have mentioned specialists which I have seen for world coins or ancients, but is anyone aware of specialists with Morgans? I am having trouble filling some holes in my collection at a reasonable price. It may just take time and patience, but options are always good.

I really love pre-decimal British stuff. That’s tougher to find locally at auctions. Not impossible, but close. That’s what I buy at shows mostly. But every once in a while, I get lucky with an auction lot named “miscellaneous bag of foreign coins”. I’ve often found a single coin in there that justifies my bid on the whole bag. 

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