By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com
On my way to lunch the other day, I listened to a great radio story on This American Life about the day to day trials and tribulations at a car dealership in Long Island. One of the take-aways from this NPR story was that—as I had always suspected—car are cheaper at the end of the month and, especially, at the end of the year. In the example given in the story, an ambitious sales quota meant that the dealership had a high number of cars to sell and to reach this they were willing to sell at a loss towards the end so they could “reach their number.”
Which got me to thinking…is this applicable to coins?
As a dealer, I know there are certain times of the year during which I am able to buy more coins than others. As someone who does the majority of his buying at shows, the two most fertile times of the year for me are at the FUN show in January (this is a show which I tend to come to with few coins and loads of cash) and the summer ANA show in August (the traditional “best” show of the year).
I typically leave both of these shows with more new inventory than at any other time of the year. As a collector, your selection of choice, interesting coins will never be greater than at the points in time when my inventory is at its most diverse and robust.
But is this the actual best time to buy from me?
You are less likely to get a “deal” on coins from me right after the FUN and ANA shows, despite my sudden need to sell a lot of coins in a fairly short period of time. I don’t run my business the way that many of my fellow dealers do: buying coins out of auction and hoping to sell them in the 30-45 days period they receive before their checks are deposited. Conversely, your selection of really neat coins is probably never better during mid-to-late January and mid-to-late August.
The typical dealer has cash flow problems around 45 days after a major show or auction, and they may be more willing to deal on a coin, especially a more expensive one, at this point in time. If this is the case, make your offer(s) with the caveat that you will overnight a check or wire the money into this account and this may help you get the coin bought.
What about at the end of the month, like in the car dealer story referenced above? Probably not likely in the world of coins, even in sales-driven marketing firms. But the end of the year might be another story. Psychologically, dealers like to close out the year with a flurry of activity and selling off some older coins will help cash flow going into the FUN show.
Many coin dealers, including me, have an end of the year sale where they may discount some good coins 5%, 10% or even 15%. Clearly, dealers are not offering fresh stock at these discounted levels but there might be some perfectly good coins listed in the sale. As a collector, you have to make the decision whether your funds are better spent at the end of a calendar year of the beginning of a new one.