By David A. Martens
I feel compelled to reply to L.A. Saryan’s article “Rogue dealers need to clean up act” in the Feb. 18 issue of Numismatic News.
I’m just a simple 64-year-old coin collector who since I was 7 years old has bought 100 times more coins than I’ve sold. I’ve never sat at a dealers table at any coin show; I’m primarily a collector.
Mr. Saryan begins by giving an overwhelming review of his education, experience, publications and contributions to the numismatic field. It is evident that humility is not one of his shortcomings. Possibly it was to assure all readers of his creditability and that his viewpoint must be the “gospel truth.”
Mr. Saryan then goes on to explain the unbelievable behavior of a “rogue” dealer at a coin show. It seems that he saw a gold bar in the seller’s display case and immediately mentally questioned himself as to the authenticity of the gold content. He then asked the dealer, “Is this bar solid gold?’ and was dismayed by the seller’s rude response, “If you don’t think so, you can just keep walking.”
You questioned the dealer’s honesty. Yes, Mr. Saryan, you just challenged that dealer’s honesty right to his face and he got angry. I think I would have had a similar response myself. Maybe you could have asked, “Good day sir. I was attracted by your gold bar, and you know better than I know how many counterfeits that are unknowingly circulating. Have there been any tests or certifications of the gold’s purity?” But you didn’t.
Your second experience was with a “rogue” Internet dealer. It seems you were interested in an ancient coin being advertised for $775. You made him an email counter offer of $425. You stated that you knew that $425 was not a fair market value offer for the coin, but that you were going start low.
Again, you were flabbergasted when the seller responded with anger because of your ridiculous offer “of half the price of the coin.” Amazingly you went on to say that you did not offer the coin at “half” its value, but really it was 54.8 percent of his value.
Excuse me, Mr. Saryan. I’m just a lowly collector with little of your experience, but you did offer him half the price of the coin. You tried to low ball him with a ridiculous offer and then quibble over a definition of “half” and 54.8 percent and you wonder why the seller was angry?
You stated, “Why such outrage over a polite and honest offer?” Your offer was neither. You tried to low-ball an experienced dealer, got caught and suffered his rage. You got what you deserved Mr. Saryan.
In ending, I believe there are “rogue” dealers who try to cheat inexperienced or unknowable buyers. But there are also “rogue” buyers who do the same.
Mr. Saryan needs to understand the word “empathy.” The question he needs to ask himself is who was the “rogue” person in his article, the seller or the buyer?
This “Viewpoint” was written by David A. Martens of Rockledge, Fla.
Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects.
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