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No single e-mail can make you a

I think the hobby needs a TV show called,

I think the hobby needs a TV show called, ?Survivor ? Numismatics.? This might dramatize in a memorable way the knowledge and habits required to have a successful hobby career.

Too often good advice is like my writing that you should always eat your vegetables. Nobody will really disagree, but no one will be out changing their diet when I am done either.

The same is true with some basic coin collecting advice.

I received another one of ?those? e-mails while I was away attending the Mansfield Numismatic Society show.

It reads:

?I am e-mailing you to ask for your advice. I have been collecting coins for many years. Now at my age I want to dispose of my collection. My question is: What is the best way to dispose of my collection and at the same time being assured of not being ripped off?

?Do you recommend selling them on eBay??

How do you boil a lifetime of advice into a few words e-mailed to someone in the course of a hurried business day? I feel inadequate and every point can be expanded into much larger points.

This is how I responded:

?The best way to dispose of a collection is to sell it back to the dealer from whom you bought some of the best pieces because he knows the coins and he knows you. Absent that, you are flying blind. If you have a high dollar value collection, you can call a major auction company and see if they will take it as a consignment. Smaller holdings can be offered to individual dealers.
?If you want to take the time to offer the coins on eBay, that is another option.?

What I didn?t write could take many pages. But the real warning for us all and a question I have asked in print before is how can someone spend a lifetime in the hobby and not know who to call at the end?

If you see yourself in this question, now is the time to start dipping your toe in this exit pool before you have to dive into it.

Who is trustworthy? That is a critical question. What transactions have you made in your life that gave you the most satisfaction? Answers likely will give you a short list of persons you can put on your trust list.

Ask them for advice. They will give it, but they also may charge you for it, especially if they don?t know who you are. This is especially true if you want an appraisal.

You have to make it easy for them, too. Winnow out the low value items from the significant ones. You have to tell them or show them what you have with some degree of specificity so they have an idea whether its Uncle John?s milk can of Wheat-back cents, or a nice VF set of Mercury dimes. They also would like to get a shot at buying the good stuff.

Virtually every collector has some scarce items and, say, some bulk silver. Keep your focus on the good stuff.

Don?t rush the process and don?t deal with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable. In the end, a collector has to go with what his gut tells him is right. Then he will be a survivor in the best sense.