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Knowledge critical when buying online

Over-the-counter businesses and coin show bourses are feeling the shift of more of the market to the Internet. The effect is not so much for auction houses or coin dealers who already have a significant online presence.


No one really knows just how many collectors there are, especially since people are increasingly buying online rather than taking the time to visit a show.

What is becoming apparent is the challenge to correctly price coins being sold online. One thing lacking in the Internet market is consistency. This is a true supply and demand market, unpredictable from one transaction to the next. As an example, there have been recent First Spouse gold coin sales online where a coin in a higher certified grade sold for less than in a lower certified grade.

A major problem is that some in the Internet audience are beginners. They lack the knowledge to realize they are making a mistake. Buying over-the-counter, at a show, or at a club gives a new collector the opportunity to learn what other people say about a coin they are considering.

On the Internet, I see many overgraded uncertified coins as well as problem certified coins with such disclaimers as “AU detail,” “cleaned,” and “genuine.” There are many intermediate grade certified coins offered, grades seldom addressed in pricing sources.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

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