By Gerald Ringer
I have been reading Numismatic News for the last 10 years and always am amazed about collectors complaining about the coin dealers.
The adage, “You get what you pay for” applies equally to finding a reputable coin dealer.
The trick is finding one who has the time and is actually willing to sit down with you to discuss your particular coin searches and at the same time understand your small monthly budget.
I met my local coin dealer six years ago at the local flea market. Yeah, I know, I can hear you serious coin collectors just groaning, but Bob, my coin dealer, has helped steer me in directions I might not have taken.
On Saturdays when things are slow at his shop, I take my 6- and 15-year-old boys and we sit on stools and talk about the latest coin trends. My sons have been going to the Midlands Coin Show every year since they could walk and they understand the dual albums I am putting together will be theirs one day.
But back to Bob; when he is upgrading his own personal coin albums he gives me first dibs on the coins he pulls out before his other customers. He has taught me what “3 diamond” Indian coin grade is, among many others lesson. He is my local Alan Herbert, answer guy. It is hard these days to find a good reputable dealer, but it is well worth the hunt, just like that coin you want.
His understanding of my meager monthly coin budget has been helped by him setting aside a wish list reserve box of coins I want to get. He started me on the BU Kennedy halves (proofs included) last year and I went today to pick up a few dates from my wish box.
He said another customer noticed my box with the last seven silver proof coins to finish completing my set asked if he could buy them, but Bob said, “Sorry, I left that box on the counter by mistake. Those are promised to another customer.”
He also occasionally gives my boys some low-grade nickels and they act like they won the lottery every time. Now I have to start an Indian nickel album as well. You know you have a great relationship with your coin dealer when you get a hand delivered Christmas card when you drop by the shop.
So this is my ode to my “Poor Man’s Coin Dealer.” They are out there, but you have to work a little to find one and then introduce yourself.
This “Viewpoint” was written by Gerald Ringer of Columbia, S.C.
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