If you are starting a coin collection and need to build from the ground up, you’ll want to find a place to shop. It can be daunting to look at the advertisements and never really know the difference between a sly pitch and a coin dealer interested in informing an audience as well as selling to it. If you aren’t careful, you can end up on the wrong side of a few investments.
• Get a referral. If you are the coin-collecting pioneer in your circle of friends and family, you won’t have a lot of help as you get started. However, if you do know someone experienced in collecting, you can get a referral for a dealer to trust. Once you have the endorsement of someone you know and trust, you can set aside your fears and skepticism and focus on what really matters, i.e. the coins themselves.
• Get to know them socially. If you live in a smaller community, you might find it easier to get an introduction to a coin dealer working in your city or town. Once you get to know this person on a social level, you should be able to tell whether the dealer is a straight shooter. Some people are very adept at disguising their intentions, but since a dealer doesn’t expect you to be a customer, his defenses will be down.
• Get feedback and read customer reviews. Another way to go is to the treasure trove of feedback and reviews: the Internet. You might not see much written about an old-school coin dealer online, but for the online brokers you’ll find a ton of information to work with. Beware of the reviews that seem out of place. Just because there is one damning review, it doesn’t mean the dealer can’t be trusted. It could be an enemy or a competitor trying to sully the reputation of an honest person.
The bottom line is it will take a combination of research, recommendation and gut feeling to decide if you have found a dealer you can trust. However, once you get this step out of the way, you’ll be able to focus on building your coin collection and have a place to shop. You’ll also be able to build a relationship with someone who can help you with your education in rare coins – an invaluable resource for years to come.