For anyone looking to start a fascinating hobby like coin collecting, one of the first objectives is to locate a trusted source to begin acquiring coins. In regards to finding a local dealer, whether it is to inquire about the value of coins already in your possession, or perhaps to sell some of your coins in your current collection, the best advice is to leave the yellow pages for last. Many of the listings under ’Coins’ in the phone book will more than likely be pawn brokers, or what is termed ‘junk’ bullion buyers, or even jewelers, none of which may really collect or study rare coins, or will readily buy what coins you do have, and cheaply, and usually for the melt-down value of the metal your coin is made from.
Locating an Honest and Knowledgeable Dealer
The first important advice is to make sure that the individual you plan to consult with is an expert in the field of rare coins, and that they are both honest and ethical, and dealing in coins is their primary interest of business. One of the best ways to determine a dealer’s credibility is to first check to see if they are listed in the Professional Numismatists’ Guild (PNG) directory. This organization has extremely stringent membership standards, qualifications, and requirements for its dealers. This is critical if you encounter any particular circumstance that might be questionable during a transaction. By utilizing any dealer within this membership pool you can be assured of their expertise and ethical behavior, as well as having excellent peer review within the coin industry.
While the PNG Dealer directory would be the first choice in checking a coin dealer’s qualifications, simply because they are governed by the highest standards, there may be no PNG sanctioned dealer within your local area to consult with. The next course of action would be to investigate the American Numismatic Association’s (ANA) Dealer Directory for a reputable coin dealer near your location. The ANA certainly has its own code of ethics and standards, and can also ensure that you have a means of recourse or remedy if you do happen to purchase counterfeit or improperly graded coins. The downside to the ANA is that they are less vigilant in mediating disputes than is the PNG, but the upside is they will usually have a listed and reputable coin dealer in close proximity to where you live.
Local Coin Dealers attend Shows, Conventions and Coin Clubs
If the first two suggestions do not prove to be sufficient in finding a reputable coin dealer in your immediate area, either through the PNG or the ANA, the next tactic would be to inquire into any listings for local coin clubs in your area. The ANA does happen to have a Coin Club Directory, and, you can also give Google a try by searching with keywords like ‘coin clubs’ or ‘coin shows’, preceded by the name of your nearest larger town or city. Numerous local coin clubs sponsor coin shows on a periodic basis, and usually the local coin dealers will attend. If you do happen to locate a particular coin club, but cannot find any listings for shows or conventions nearby, you can try contacting the coin club and inquire about upcoming events near you, or they may be able to refer you to the nearest reputable coin dealer that would be more than happy to discuss your concerns or questions, and further guide you toward the wonderful world of coins and coin collecting with complete confidence.