Skip to main content

Letters to the Editor: March 3, 2020

New 2021 Silver Eagle Proposed Design

Again, America loses an opportunity to make a great design. The new eagle is great on the reverse, but arrows should be in the eagle’s claws, not olive branches. It continues to make America look weak just like the obverse with Walking Liberty. The gold coins of the 1800s look better and show America’s strength. What a shame.

T. Capone
Address Withheld

Coin Market Predictions for 2020

I believe it will be very similar to 2019 unless there is a national recession: most coins will continue their slow, downward spiral in price (and demand) while a select group of top pop e.g., last year’s MS-68 1938-S Mercury dime and true rarities (for example, an 1884 Trade dollar) will continue to do well. They will mainly be chased by folks with a lot of new-found cash (tech millionaires/billionaires who yesterday couldn’t make their mortgage payment but, today, after their firm’s successful IPO, are awash with cash.) People who believe that the coin industry is going to be just fine with time are, in my opinion, fooling themselves—it’s death by a thousand cuts similar to what’s happened to stamp collecting, antiques, classic paintings, and so many other “things” we baby boomers held so dear. Our children are just not interested in what our generation collected.If you don’t believe me, count heads at the next coin show you attend—how many are under 40 and how many are over 60? Over 70?

Frankly, if it weren’t for NGC and PCGS introducing registries, plugging into our competitive nature, I believe the decline in coin collecting would have been more dramatic. Don’t get me wrong,there will always be people collecting coins, just like there will always be people fancying a Chippendale highboy chest; Just not as many and, as a result, the prices will be significantly lower.

But, let’s end on a high note. After 55 years I recently returned to coins when I retired, joining a couple of local coin clubs, attending my first ever coin show, and I already have my flight and hotel reservations for ANA’s World’s Fair of Money this August. I’m also carefully buying NGC/PCGS-certified classic coins (ideally with a CAC sticker as my hope is that two heads are better than one when it comes to third-party authentication and grading.)Do I think I’ll ever make a dime off of my purchases? Heck no. But I’m having fun. So, let’s enjoy what may be the world’s greatest hobby, but let’s also be realistic in what the future might hold.

James P. Sibley
Spring, Texas

Response to Coin Show Etiquette

I’ve been collecting coins since I was a young paperboy and I am now a senior citizen. I have read the three previous “Viewpoints” on the topic of “Coin Show Etiquette Suggestions” and I have a few to add for both buyers and sellers.

First, let’s deal with buyers. The most important rule to follow is to wait your turn. If you walk up to a dealer’s table and there is someone ahead of you, nod to the dealer and then if there is room, look over his/her stock. If the dealer’s table is crowded, a quick “I’ll be back” is polite and then move on. When you talk to a dealer that has a coin you are interested in, it is acceptable to bargain with the dealer. Most dealers put price tags on the coin’s holder, but unless they aren’t planning on making many sales that day, they will work with a buyer on the price. That is assuming the buyer is being realistic in their offer.

Speaking of price, if the dealer is a full-time dealer and they have a coin underpriced, I don’t believe the buyer has a responsibility to tell the dealer. If it is a part-time (vest pocket) dealer, I have mentioned to them that they should check the price of the coin we’re discussing. Our coin club, the Albuquerque (N.M.) Coin Club, holds two shows a year. The show is Friday through Sunday, with Dealer Setup from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Friday. The dealers take this time to do a quick set-up and then visit other dealers to make buys or trades with them. I’ve actually heard dealers say that they attend the show just for this brief time dealing with other dealers.

If you don’t like to bargain with a dealer before you buy anything, walk the whole show and look at what the different dealers have to offer. The coin you want may be one aisle over at a lower price. By the way, don’t tell this to the dealer with the higher-priced coin, just buy it from the lower-priced dealer and smile and buy another coin with the money you just saved.

Now let’s talk about dealers. First, don’t judge someone by the way they are dressed, they may have just left work and came directly to the show. I’ve seen people in jeans and a tee-shirt buy a coin for several thousand dollars and somebody in a suit buy a bullion coin. It doesn’t cost anything to smile and be pleasant, it could mean the difference between making or not making a sale. There are a lot of new coin collectors out there and the way a dealer acts can either relax a buyer or cause them to walk away. If the buyer is the only person at the dealer’s table, they should take the time to answer any questions the buyer may have. The buyer just shouldn’t take too much of a dealer’s time. Every person that stops at a dealer’s table is a potential buyer and should be treated as such. I’ve stopped at a table and the dealer was too busy talking to the dealer at the adjacent table and ignored me.

Dealers are people and as such, each have their own personality. The ones that smile and treat each buyer as a special person will do the most business. Buyers also have individual approaches. The ones that are pleasant and make reasonable offers will most likely walk away with the coin they wanted at the price they wanted to pay.

Patrick Montrose
Sandia Park, N.M.