Skip to main content

Big Brother says don't?

Should coin collectors be licensed?

No, I haven’t gone big government power mad.

I ask the question more out of a sense of frustration than anything.

If someone had asked me that question yesterday I would have laughed and ridiculed the idea.

Coin collectors don’t need to be licensed. It’s that simple.

But sometimes I think noncollectors need to be.

One of those moments came to me yesterday. I had an email from someone who sent me an inventory of all of the modern Sacagawea dollars that he owned.

There were 45 coins in all with dates starting in 2000 and going to 2008.

They were all certified as high-grade proofs and Mint State pieces. The lowest grade in the set is MS-67 and the highest Proof-70 Deep Cameo.

After the inventory, the owner writes:

“I am not a collector, but would like to know if these coins are worth any amount of money. Everyone wants them, but don’t want to pay what I paid for them. The 2001-S I paid $290 and have papers for every one of them. Would you let me know your opinion.”

My opinion is that if this person had had to apply for a license he probably would have never purchased these coins in the first place.

How did he decide to buy them?

Was he watching a numismatic TV sales program? Did he read some enthusiastic comments on collector forums online, or in his search for Beanie Babies on eBay did he stumble into the coin area?

I will never know. He did not tell me over what period of time he purchased the coins nor why he bought them.

His last words were: “Would you please send me a small reply?”

I did.

I told him he had coins that fall into a new and volatile collecting area.

What more can I tell him?

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."