With gold at record highs many collectors and amateur dealers are clamoring to buy your items. A professional numismatist can help you realize the most for your collection when the time to sell comes. Time, knowledge, and integrity add value to any collection and using a professional helps you to maximize your dollar. I have seen numerous cases where a collector or amateur dealer costs the owner a tremendous amount of value.
Recently we were involved in a deal that nearly cost a couple a tremendous amount of money. First they had a 'collector' friend of the family come in to help them figure out the value of what the collection was worth and get it sold. This friend agreed to do this for a small fee, 5% of the collections value. He spent two days cataloging what was there and assigning values. He said that he would take his commission in coins. When it came time to sell he brought the coins to our company. Unannounced to anyone he was also trying to gain a finders fee from our company. The finders fee was over $35,000 on this rather large collection. Once it was discovered that he was 'double dipping' the deal the coins he had taken as a commission were returned. The value of the five coins he had kept were an additional $60,000. Not only was it an attempted 'double dip' it was almost a mauling.
The cost of a professional appraisal may sound like more up front, but the savings can be monumental. Most coin appraisals are based on a time factor. Having someone who knows how to sort a collection saves time. If this couple had first brought the collection to us the appraisal cost would have only been about $1,500, far less than the over $35,000 they ended up paying.
Knowing how to pay a fair price is important. Many collectors or amateur dealers have no idea where to sell rarer items and thus they offer "safe" prices. Not only knowing what a coin is worth but also where to sell it is valuable to all involved. Collectors will often say they are buying a collection for themselves, but then turn around and sell a portion of it to re-coup their full cost or even make a profit. This is a popular way for collectors to grow their own collection at no cost to themselves. Not always the most lucrative for the seller.
A collector or amateur dealer may look at your collection as a "once in a lifetime opportunity". When this happens the costs can be tremendous. In the example above had the 'double dipping' not been discovered the cost to the couple selling would have mounted up to nearly $100,000. A professionals job is to maintain integrity and high prices in every collection and not to look for "once in a lifetime opportunities." Business professionals must make a profit to keep the doors open, but trying to make a killing is best left to the amateurs.
• Allen Rowe is the owner of Northern Nevada Coin in Carson City.