It is no secret that there are many outlooks on rare coins out there. Some are worth millions of dollars, some are barely worth their weight in metals. While there is certainly nothing wrong with collecting coins because they are particularly fascinating to you, and not for their monetary worth, it is still very important to take steps to ensure that you are not being taken advantage of.
The difference between two nearly identical coins can be so small that the untrained eye may not even notice it. Coins are graded depending on a variety of factors, most importantly the quality, liquidity, interest factor, and scarcity. Clearly, there is a great deal of nuance and subjectivity that goes into how they are graded, which is why it is imperative that you purchase only from trustworthy sources who have their products accurately graded.
Today, we have coins that are graded in increments of poor, fair, almost good, good, very good, fine, very fine, extra fine, almost uncirculated, uncirculated, and brilliant uncirculated. For an even more in-depth rating, we can turn to the Sheldon Scale, established in the 1950s, which is a number grading system from 1-70.
When buying rare coins, it is so important to do some research before diving in. There is an old industry saying, “Buy the book before you buy the coin.” Before you spend your money, you need to be sure that you know exactly what you are paying for, including its grade, market value, as well as the reputation of the company.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to only buy from reputable dealers with a long history of treating their customers with the respect that they deserve. There are plenty of throwaway companies who are just trying to take advantage of the consumer. On the obverse side of the coin, there are plenty of companies who have become well-known because they consistently provide exactly what they advertise, at a fair price to the buyer.
Knowing that you are buying from a trusted source is a wise long-term step as well. Establishing a relationship with a company who truly values your business is the best way to protect yourself from counterfeits. While a good company will almost never sell a counterfeit, and never intentionally, you don’t want to be the one who loses out if one somehow slips through the cracks. If you receive a coin that is not exactly to your liking, you want to be able to know that you will be protected.
The bottom line is that it is not hard to find an ethically sound rare gold and silver coin dealer; you just need to do a little bit of research. A good dealer will be happy to provide you with information about the piece you are buying, and will be enthusiastic about working with you – not your money.