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Four Ways to Benefit by Giving your “Want List” to a Coin Dealer

Some collectors enjoy the “thrill of the chase” – searching on their own for the coins they want to buy.  But it’s easy to get tripped up…so if you like being your own advocate, you have to be an expert in the area you’re buying.  You have to know the individual characteristics of the coin issues you’re looking for, where to look, the “real” market prices and how to negotiate with the dealers you’re buying from; and then you’ve got to have the time to do all this.

But by giving your Want List to a dealer you have confidence in, you’ll get free expert advice as you build your collection/investment, and you should be able to save money and profit from this assistance.  Here are four ways you can benefit by giving your “Want List” to a capable dealer:

1. Saving money. If you think you’re saving money by doing this work yourself – think again!  Coin dealers normally offer other coin dealers wholesale discounts off the retail prices of coins.  As dealers in this business, we negotiate coin deals all day long, every day, and we know the market.  A dealer advocate can often save you money – sometimes substantial money!

For example…I recently purchased a Mint State Seated Liberty silver dollar for a collector/investor and sold it to him for $4,750.  The other dealer’s original asking price was $6900.  My negotiation saved this buyer $2,150 – that’s a 31 percent discount!  And that included my commission.  This was an extreme example of a savings, as dealer markups are usually much less, but one must know the market and how to negotiate in order to maximize you’re purchasing power.

In another example…I had been working with a collector/investor for less than a year who was at this year’s F.U.N. Show in Orlando where, for nearly $50,000, he purchased the last coin he needed to complete his gem Walking Liberty half dollar collection.  He was excited to buy the coin and he paid the dealer’s full asking price.  He later told me, “I thought you’d be at the show, but I didn’t have your phone number with me.  I should have called you because you probably could have saved me money.”  It turns out the dealer owned that coin for three or four years and was probably ecstatic to sell it – especially at full price!  This buyer’s emotions got in the way of making a more sensible purchase, whereas a third-party dealer/negotiator most likely could have helped him save a few thousand dollars.

2. Bigger reach. Obviously common coins are easy to find, it’s just a matter of price when buying them.  But if you’re looking to buy scarce and rare coins, it could take months and years of looking to find acceptable coins.  As a collector/investor do you have the capability on your own to search all the nooks and crannies of the marketplace that a dealer can?

Most coin dealers regularly attend shows, and many of us regularly attend major shows all around the country.  We know which dealers are likely to have the kinds of coins someone is looking for.  We also buy and sell coins over online dealer trading networks, we have websites, advertise, and some of us attend major auctions where we’re able to view the coins in person and discuss them with our clients before bidding on them.  Most coins look different in person than they do in online auction photos.

3. Advice/grading services. Are you an expert in the series or types of coins you want to buy?  If not, it’s easy to get tripped up and there might be ways to maximize your purchases by working with a competent, experienced dealer.

It stands to reason that if you’re loyal to a particular dealer you feel comfortable working with, he’ll look out for you over the long haul while you’re building your collection/investment.  You’ll most likely get great advice about avoiding particular coins and why, how to determine “real” market pricing, or in re-submitting coins to alternate grading services, for example.  You might even get “first shot” at particular great coins that other customers are next in line to buy from this dealer.  One thing is clear, a long-term, loyal customer will be given experienced advice and will be treated more favorably than a buyer who’s just price shopping on his or her own from dealer to dealer.

4. Reselling your and upgrades and duplicates and/or collection. One of the functions a coin dealer normally helps a client with, who’s building a collection, is in selling duplicates that have been upgraded, and often the whole collection at some point in the future.

A dealer you’ve worked with over time often has other collector/investors who are looking for the same coins you’ve got for sale.  Working through this dealer to sell the duplicates you’ve upgraded, or you’re your whole collection when the time comes, is often more expedient, and results in better prices in the end, than consigning coins to auctions and paying much higher commissions.  Remember, buyers discount the prices they’ll pay at auction by the buyer’s premiums and you may also have to pay consignment fees.

A dealer who’s helped build a collection over time will be familiar with the coins and will look out for your interests.  Chances are, that dealer will work more favorably on price or consignment fees in helping you sell off and place your holdings.  Sometimes, if handled properly, a well-balanced complete collection will command higher prices collectively, than will coins sold on an individual basis.  A dealer you’ve worked with for years will most likely provide you with the best service.

“Want Lists” – When I work with clients who have given me their want lists I like to get to know them by phone, and often meet them or have dinner with them while traveling.  This fosters a great relationship that benefits both parties over time.  And we usually have fun and both profit financially in the process!

I like to discuss a client’s long-term goals in building his or her collection/investment.  I also discuss what he/she wants in the coins they’re looking to purchase, such as in grade, grading services, strike, luster, toning, price ranges, etc.  And I offer my suggestions and advice if they want it.  Such consults are normally included in the services a dealer provides when working with a client over the long-term.  This service alone is well worth the loyalty given to a dealer who really should get paid for providing such advice and counsel on its own.


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