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Complete disclosure, complete nonsense?

If a doctor told you about your condition in nothing but technical medical terminology, would you understand?

Same for the dentist?

If you are like me, you know some things and rely on others to navigate the fields you know little or nothing about.

How about coin collecting?

I don’t worry about genuine collectors. They learn and they thrive. Sure, they make mistakes, but these mistakes are more than amply repaid by greater success in the long run.

Currently, though, the coin hobby has  lot of visitors in it who will never actually collect. They are simply following the recent trend to use bullion coins as vehicles for investment in precious metals.

Their actions can be well thought out and productive for them. Or they can be disasters.

They don’t understand grading. They don’t understand pricing and they don’t understand the basic plumbing that connects one coin dealer to another.

But some of them do get full disclosure statements before they buy something.

The statements are less intended to provide sound explanations to novices than serve as a legal shield for the seller to claim that it’s all the novice coin buyer’s fault if he didn’t understand what he was doing.

I have people who telephone me who don’t even know that a price guide is read from left to right with lower grades rising to higher ones. This doesn’t even include the many who don’t understand what all the numerals in grade heads are for.

How much of an informed decision can they make no matter how many booklets they get?

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2 Responses to Complete disclosure, complete nonsense?

  1. Tom Snyder says:

    A local lady recently contacted me after hearing of the silver run up. She had about 70 silver Morgan dollars which turned out to be very generic circulated pieces. I told her what to expect and it turns out she purchased them from the ads in the back of magazines and had invested about $79 each when
    shipping and handling was added in. Silver will have to go up a lot higher for her to ever break even.

  2. How much of a complete disclosure do you get when you buy anything? Even with the doctor, you have to ask questions to understand what you are getting into. The problem is that in every field, there is a language (or vernacular) that differs from what it sounds. In keeping with the medicine example, if a test comes back as being negative it is a positive result for the patient. In numismatics, when examining a coin that is graded good we find that it is really not so good.

    We use the Latin term “Caveat Emptor,” buyer beware, to emphasize that it is up to the buyer to educate themselves when they enter the market place. We have to beware when we talk to the doctor about our condition, buy a car, or invest in that 1921 Morgan Dollar rather than the 1921-D Peace Dollar.

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