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Takes more than a call to be dealer

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, the old saying goes, and that appears to be true in this economy.
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The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, the old saying goes, and that appears to be true in this economy.

I received a call from an individual who said he was a coin dealer or who wanted to be a coin dealer. I didn’t quite catch which.

I’m not sure, either, as to how he got my name or the name of the firm. He didn’t seem to know what Numismatic News is or anything about our competitor in Ohio.

He wanted to know if there was some sort of industry newsletter available that he could obtain to find out what was going on in the field on a professional level. He didn’t seem to be interested in a general hobby newspaper.

I said there were organizations in numismatics that offer publications. I cited the American Numismatic Association. He had never heard of it, but was eager to obtain the phone number. I gave it to him.

I mentioned the Professional Numismatists Guild as the top organization for coin dealers. He hadn’t heard of that either, but he was hopeful they might have something for him. I tried to caution him that this organization was one that he probably wouldn’t qualify for, but he was eager to contact it, so I gave him the telephone number as well.

I got the feeling he was looking for some sort of wholesale supplier, though he never used that description.

These kinds of telephone calls always cause me to wonder. Usually, coin dealers start out as collectors. Collectors learn the basics of the business simply from their efforts to put a collection together. They understand the basic framework in which we all exist.

Whether they subscribe to a hobby paper, or join the ANA is up to them, but at least they know that these resources exist.

I am curious as to what might have prompted this particular individual to take an interest in professional numismatics. He did not tell me.

Has he been swept up by all of the advertisements out there about investing in gold? Does he have a brother-in-law who is telling him how wonderful the business seems to be? Or is he out of a job because of the bad economy and he found the Krause Publications phone number online?

The caller certainly did not ask for me by name when he telephoned.

This is not my usual kind of contact. I do get calls of this kind from time to time, but they are infrequent. They also tend to bunch up, so perhaps I will receive several more along these lines in the next few months. I will wait and see.

There is a lesson here for all of us. People who read hobby papers and join the ANA are that much better prepared to become dealers than those who don’t. These individuals are not guaranteed success, but I think the odds of such an outcome dramatically improve because they know what they are getting into. Success is more than a matter of making a few telephone calls to strangers.

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