Can a website catering to stamp collectors break into the new issue coin market?
Moreover, can a foreign website with prices in British pounds sterling (or 20 other currencies) appeal to coin collectors in the American market?
Those are the two key questions facing a website called WOPA+.
Admittedly, I had never heard of it, but that is not surprising when it relates to stamps.
My three-month fling with postage in childhood ended in extreme boredom.
My first love of coins has never been shaken.
A new way to buy coins? Well, then I am interested.
Glendon Martinez, who is managing director of WOPA+, believes American collectors will find the site useful.
He said, “At WOPA+ we are committed to offer all coin collectors the most convenient and effective way to purchase new-issue coins from reputable issuing authorities around the world."
Checking out the site, I see there are coins from New Zealand, Luxembourg, Gibraltar, Slovakia, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the Aland Islands (part of Finland).
All of these issuers have had difficulty serving the coin collector market in the United States because individually they are small.
In the past, you could usually find these coins if they had an American representative, or if they were at the bourse table of a dealer who specialized in modern issues.
A website opens the door to a far larger potential audience.
Will that audience walk through this new door?
A key element is that the website puts the user in contact with the mint of issue.
The middle man is eliminated.
Coin collectors have always looked to deal directly with world mints.
“How do I buy (coin of choice) directly from the mint?” is one of my most frequently asked questions.
In my 40-year career, my most frequent reply to that question is, “You can’t.”
This website promises to change this.
Martinez said, “We are devoting all our energy and resources to reach more and more collectors all over the world."
He also said, “We are convinced that putting in direct contact issuing authorities and coin collectors is benefitting everyone.”
I couldn’t agree with Martinez more.
The key is whether all the coin collectors who have written to me over the years will find this website.
I hope they do.
I am doing my part by mentioning it.
If they find it, like it, and use it, other mints might see the activity and add their products to the website.
More mints and more products should attract more coin collectors.
That is the goal.
Payment when you see something you like is made easy. Accepted are the major credit cards as well as PayPal.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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