I have written often about the responsibility of coin collectors to give proper instructions to heirs for the disposal of coin collections.
My task is one that will never be completed because coin collectors are so terrible at taking this advice.
I had another of those emails from someone wanting an appraisal for his father’s coin collection.
Are too many coin dealers missing the boat in not making noncollectors aware of their ability to appraise a collection, or are noncollectors so uncomfortable with coin dealers that they will write to me for suggestions?
With so many coins being passed on to the next generation, coin dealers should raise their profiles in matters of appraisals.
They should take the Yellow pages approach and take permanent ads wherever they choose to place them under appraisals.
Some dealers do this. If you Google coin appraisals some names and locations come up, but it strikes me that many more dealer names should be popping up when this search is conducted.
It would also help if dealers who do appraisals would be explicit in advertising what they will charge. Something like, half hour consultation, $50, would both be informative and it would keep the tire-kicker crowd away.
If they want to say it is a refundable charge on the sale of the coins, they can advertise that, too.
A local street address that is quickly and easily reached and not at the end of multiple screens on dealer websites would help direct people too. A phone number on the same screen would also be useful.
Minnesota’s recent coin dealer registration law shows just how low coin dealers are perceived to be by some individuals.
Advertising in a professional manner can help change that perception. Coin dealers advertising their ANA, PNG and ICTA memberships would also reinforce their professional standing in the eyes of anyone who sees them even though we know the general public will not know what those organizations are.
Nothing we do will solve this collector's heir problem completely, but every effort made will help diminish it.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."