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Online marketplace poses pricing issue

It’s no secret that many brick and mortar coin dealers are doing significant amounts of their business via the Internet. This is happening to retailers everywhere. Over-the-counter and coin show bourses are feeling this shift in markets, but no so much for auction houses or coin dealers who have a significant online presence.


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

What is becoming increasingly 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 the same coin in a lower certified grade.

A major problem is some of the Internet audience are beginners and “closet collectors.” Buying over-the-counter, at a show or at a club gives a collector the opportunity to learn what other people say about a coin they are considering. On the Internet I see many over-graded, 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. Collector buying habits are changing. Knowledge of what you are buying remains critical.

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

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