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Community Voice Responses: July 16, 2019

From the June 21 Numismatic News E-Letter

Would you buy a coin that has not been authenticated?
If so, when? If not, why

Here are some answers sent in from our E-Newsletter readers.

For the most part, yes. But if there are any questions about high value or key date coinage, it’s an extra bird in the hand so to speak.

Jason Elwell
via Facebook

The only time I would buy a coin that has not been authenticated would be if it was dirt cheap, say under $25.00.Otherwise, I would not risk spending more money on a raw coin.There are too many counterfeit and overgraded coins for sale.Counterfeit coins are a big business in China, but even in the US there are counterfeiters, and well-meaning sellers who don’t know what they have.I happen to be looking for a certain rare coin on eBay at the moment. Becuase of its rarity, prices tend to be high even in the lower grades.Why would I risk buying a fake?Even a low grade fake is still a fake, and it may be harder to tell that it is. I realize that some people love raw coins, to which I say, good luck, you will need it.

Peter Glassman
Schaumburg, Ill.

My Collection is 100 percent authenticated through NGC and PCGS, not because I intend on ever selling it. It’s nice knowing my coins are genuine. Authentication and grading is important and certainly adds value to any collection. I suppose there are hobbyists who will buy coins that are not authenticated, and run the risk of finding out down the road that they were duped. Direct purchases through the Mint is also a safe way to not get scammed. Price has a lot to do with it, also.

As they say, if a price seems too good to be true, then it’s probably a fake. And if you are going to spend a substantial sum on any coin, it only makes sense to verify what it is that you are getting.

Steve McGowan
Algonach, Mich.

I would if I liked it, but would prefer authentication when available. I usually send them to ANACS. They’re the experts.

John Dunkle
Address withheld

I would probably trust the seller and only buy it if I’m interested enough.

Peter Moon
Address withheld

Short answer, no. Long answer, I have. I have had one that came back as cleaned and I still like the coin, so it’s not a loss. I will not buy off eBay or the likes. I stick with dealers and build a relationship with them, and go on how they have treated me in the past to decide on the risk of buying the coin.

Gary Wernersbach
Zimmerman, Minn.

Naturally, 99 percent of coins are worth so little that it makes no sense to pay extra.

Krysztof Fordonski
via Facebook

Generally, no. There are too many counterfeits and, to a lesser extent, altered coins, circulating in the numismatics marketplace (in my opinion, certification that a coin is genuine is the primary benefit of using a third-party grading service; assigning a grade is secondary).

That being said, if the value of the coin was relatively low (several hundred dollars or less) and I knew and trusted the seller, with no doubt that the seller would take the coin back and refund my money with no argument should the coin be proven to be a fake or altered, I might buy a raw coin.

James Sibley
Spring, Texas

I assume the question refers to authentication by PCGS/NGC, etc. If so, I have purchased many coins that were not authenticated by a third party grading company. I have studied the coins I collect enough that I am probably at least as qualified as they are to determine authenticity of the coins.

Bill Eckberg
West Palm Beach, Fla.

Your question is sadly directed to the age 50 and under so-called collectors out there that don’t know anything about real numismatics...only plastic collecting.Grading, reading, understanding numismatic books on a variety of subjects, taking classes, and attaining knowledge numismatically is beyond their comprehension because they know everything better since they understand MS60-70.

Those of us curmudgeons who took the time and passion to pursue this hobby (yes, it once was a hobby), look upon the third party grading services as the most deplorable, exasperating insult to the numismatic hobby/industry. Yet, some of the oldsters took advantage! They use plastic holders and stickers to usurp the bewildered incompetents of which they’ve hooked completely. I see them regularly at club meetings, auctions, my office, and my monthly seminars where they ask me WHY.

At least some are starting to see and understand the vast numis-swindle of the “clique” group that esteems themselves so highly and regards us all as pawns and sucker idiots.

To answer your question...yes. I don’t need a slab to tell me what the coin or its grade is. I’m a numismatist.

Alvin L. Stern
Address withheld

Yes, from a reputable auction house or dealer for a non-investment, fun type coin that I just liked.

Lonnie LaVertu
Herndon, Va.

Yes, from the US Mint or directly from a foreign mint, otherwise probably not. There are too many counterfeits out there to warrant buying uncertified coins.

Harv Laser
via Facebook

There’s the age-old saying, 'buy the coin, not the holder,' however, if authenticity isn’t the issue some buyers prefer our commemorative strikes in certified slabs in order to prevent toning, dust or fingerprints. Other means of encapsulation can work just as well.

Grove Minting Company
Via Facebook