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How to Take Care of your Coin Dealer by Len Augsburger

Originally published on April 7 2018

While Gerry is away and not looking, today's guest blog will discuss good coin dealer relations. You might wonder if this shouldn't be the other way around. After all, isn't the dealer supposed to take care of the client and not vice versa? Actually, it turns out that taking care of the coin dealer make things better for the client in the long run. So, herewith are Len's rules for good care of coin dealers.

Have a defined collecting objective

Dealers will be happy to sell you a little of this and a little of that until the cows come home, but if they have a better idea of what you trying to accomplish they will be in a position to do more for you than just sell from inventory. If you become known to a dealer as the bust dime variety person, or the XF seated half collector, you are more likely to get the phone call when a fresh deal breaks. While there are no doubt dealer sharks out there who will sell you anything, good dealers DO want to help their clients succeed. But they need to understand your goals, and the simpler you can explain it to them, the better.

When traveling to shows, it's understandable that you want to carry coins. You are buying, selling, exhibiting to your collector friends. If you elect to do this, please carry the coins on your person at all times. It won't prevent you from being mugged, but the criminals will be looking for easier targets first - like unattended coins in a vehicle or hotel room.

Don't play the trade and purchase game

I totally get this as a collector - you have one coin you want to get rid of, and one coin in a dealer case that you want. Makes perfect sense to trade, right? Understand that dealers view this as two completely separate transactions. There is a built-in cost to sell a coin, and when you trade one back you are effectively leaving the dealer in the exact same position - they still have a coin to sell! So they haven't made progress on their side. Instead, buy the coin you want, and separately sell the one you don't want. Before you sell, do some self-examination and attempt to understand if this was a "mistake," and, if so, figure out how to avoid that in the future. Of course, with every rule there are exceptions, especially for in demand or very rare items. If GFRC has an 1874-CC dime for sale and you want to trade in a lower grade piece, Gerry will be more than happy to work with you.

Don't complicate transactions

One check for one invoice is best. If your deal depends on some other sale, or on funds coming to you in the future, or on money some other dealer owes you, you are making it more difficult for everyone involved. The deal may well work out, and often does, but you are introducing doubt that may factor into your future dealings with the other side. If you develop a reputation as a "one coin, one immediate payment" collector, dealers will be much more confident in you and willing to occasionally cut some slack when it really matters. On the bourse floor, reputation is everything when it comes to working with others. This is a surprisingly small industry and at the major shows most of the dealers know the others by reputation, if not personally.

Be sensitive to a dealer's time

There are moments at a show when the "buzz" abates and a dealer is open to social conversation. But often the activity is non-stop and the dealer has phone calls to make, other dealers to see, coins to get graded, coins to process into inventory, etc. Social conversation is great but understand this is their "office," and they've gone to a lot of trouble to travel and setup on the show floor. So please don't take it personally if a dealer seems slightly rushed when wrapping up a transaction. At the same time, good dealers do want to get to know their clients and face-to-face time at a show is so important for doing this. It's a balancing act, but be aware dealers often have long "to do" lists.

Little things count

At the last Baltimore show a fellow LSCC member came by the GFRC table and offered to go pick up lunch. We were all very grateful, because lunch was not going to happen otherwise. Not only that, but this very healthy and fit individual DID NOT even criticize my unhealthy lunch selection (Jimmy John's #5 with peppers). Thank you so much, this will not be forgotten!