Rare Coin Essentials
buy a coin based solely on the grade assigned by the grading service
The best grading services in the business are PCGS and NGC but they
are not perfect. Both services have many coins on the market that
are over graded. Human beings, who are imperfect, grade coins. When
humans get tired, have a bad day or are over worked they make mistakes.
The grade represents the opinion of rare coin graders in one moment
of time. As a result, you should always buy the coin and not the
holder. Experienced collectors know the difference between a coin
that's completely original and one that's been dipped, artificially
toned or tampered with. They also know when they're looking at a
MS64 coin in a MS65 holder.
real rarity and stick with the highest quality you can afford
Gem 18th, 19th and early 20th century coins are legitimately rare.
They are dramatically undervalued as compared to modern coins that
are all the rage.
figures you see indicated for PCGS and NGC must be taken with a
grain of salt
Many coins are sent in over and over again. The same coin can be
submitted 10 times at each service until the submitter either gives
up or gets the higher grade. So a coin may be much scarcer than
is indicated. A low population coin may be VERY common. Trust me
there are thousands of PR70 Buffalo dollars. They're not rare. Coin
hoards do break, like the Wells Fargo $20 1908 Gold deal. A fairly
rare coin can become very common when a deal breaks.
scratches in holders
Use Brasso for removing fine to moderate scratches from slabs. This
works amazingly well!! Simply apply the Brasso using a soft rag
or paper towel to the surface of the slab. Allow a few moments to
dry to cloudy film. Then simply wipe off. Removes most fine scratches
from the plastic. Works great!
residual sticker gum
Use WD40 (yes WD40!) to remove the residual gum left behind on holders
when stickers are removed. We have all tried many things to remove
this "goo", most do not work! WD40 works like a charm!
pass your want list out to more than a couple of dealers
A common thought regarding want lists is to provide the list to
as many dealers as possible. If you think about it for a minute,
it is self-defeating. This becomes more relevant if you are looking
for very rare items. Our advice is to provide your want list to
a few select and experienced dealers, one of which we hope would
be us, and let them do their job. By passing your want list out
indiscriminately, you can drive the prices up on the very items
you are looking to acquire.
substitute for having a friend in the rare coin business
My clients are my friends. I love the hobby and have bought and
sold over $100 million in rare coins. I know every trick in the
book and frankly have forgotten more than most dealers know about
U.S. and Russian rare coins. I'll spend the time teaching you and
guiding you. I'm not a sales person, I'm a professional Numismatist.
get stuck with a "TRAP"
A "trap" is a term used by rare coin dealers to describe a coin
that no one wants. This can be a coin that is very darkly toned,
over dipped, and/or borderline for the grade assigned by a certifying
grading service. Coins that are considered traps more times than
not sell wholesale at steep discounts to the published bid and ask
prices. Quite often, telemarketing dealers purchase these coins
because they can be sold for a larger margin of profit to unknowledgeable
buy rare coins that have their "original skin"
That's right, all rare coins start their existence with an original
skin. Unfortunately most coins are mishandled, cleaned, and miss-stored
and they lose their original skin. While it's true a coin can be
graded MS65, MS66 even MS67 without its original skin - it can never
really be considered premium quality.
Want to buy the right coins?
Once you know what the difference is between a coin with an original
skin and one without it, you'll never settle for the one without.
on rare dates and steer clear of the generics
Whether you're buying a few coins or building a collection (perhaps
a type set), I strongly recommend that you steer clear of the most
common examples. Instead, zero in on rare examples of the type of
coin you are buying. In the case of 19th and early 20th century
type coins, acquiring a rare example can cost as little as an extra
20%-30%. Think about it. You would buy something 3, 5 even 10 times
rarer for 20%-30% more, wouldn't you? In the case of Morgan Silver
Dollars and $20 Saint-Gaudens, you can find coins 20 and even 50
times rarer for premiums of less than 50% over that charged for
common dated coins. Why? The answer is easy. Most base their purchase
on the price of the coin. The lower the price the more comfort.
But that's not how you should buy rare coins. You should focus on
rarity, condition and relative value. If you do you'll wind up with
a solid rare coin collection that will be both financially and aesthetically