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Rare Coin Road Warrior – Stirring the Pot

Dear Fellow Numismatists,

I really love playing with coins.  I love the search for dates, varieties, undervalued series and issues, great color coins, and all those coins that just have “THE LOOK”.  Although I don’t particularly enjoy the business side of rare coins, I am actively involved in the market which means I get plenty of both market trends and controversy on a daily basis.  One of the most important rules for dealers is to buy coins you must ALSO sell coins.

An individual would be foolish to sell a coin for less than fair value.  While paying too much for really nice coins many times works out surprisingly well, conversely many times the bargain purchase turns out to be a GOAT.  Knowing what you are getting is the key.  Selling too can be a challenge and just as buying nice coins can be an expensive endeavor, the cost and effort that it takes to sell coins must not be underestimated.  Both buying and selling coins is time consuming and costly.

Because there are dealers who are willing to SELL you something that isn’t that great, there are always going to be collectors and investors who aren’t happy with their purchases.  These unhappy individuals have every right to air their grievances, but there are a lot of people in the rare coin market that love nothing more than to STIR THIS POT to their advantage.

Most often the pot is stirred by a particularly annoyed individual who feels he didn’t get his money’s worth.  For the collector, dealer, or investor who has been bilked or defrauded due to misrepresentation or outright fraud, you have every right to be angry and demand either a refund or some type of consideration.  If the perpetrator makes a ‘habit’ of doing business in this manner, other collectors, dealers, and investors need to know.  Crooks need a bright light on them to make them scurry under another rock.

When the individual whether they be collector, dealer, or investor buys something which is properly graded and priced with a reasonable mark up, I don’t have a lot of sympathy.  None of us can do anything about the coin market itself.  Frankly, I have heard it all before.  Don’t get me wrong, I DO NOT sympathize with the unscrupulous dealer.  To the contrary, I wholeheartedly sympathize, but….didn’t you read that buying ‘raw’ and ungraded merchandise is risky.  Didn’t you read that the ‘grade’ is their opinion?  And, lastly DID YOU REALLY BELIEVE that you were getting something for 25% of dealer wholesale bid?

What is the ESPN segment they do?  It goes something like, “COME ON MAN!”.  ‘Come on Man’ basically equates to ‘ARE you STUPID?’   Don’t be foolish.  Don’t believe you are smarter than everyone else.  Odds are you are not.  Ironically, a well known dealer likes to address ALL his other colleagues as ‘GENIUS’.  He isn’t using this term as a compliment.  What he is doing is pointing out that although you may think you are a genius (AND SMARTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE), you are not.  He has called me a genius on many occasions-I am not!

Stirring this noxious pot of discontent are some dealers who believe ‘bad mouthing’ everyone else makes them look better than the majority of the other dealers out there.  I disagree.  While I often write negative comments about the rare coin market, I most often delete twice as much as I ever publish.  The temptation to ‘slam’ others is quite appealing, but in the long run and for the future of the rare coin business, making positive and educational comments and suggestions will almost always work better.

Let me give you an example.  Dealer X handles some of the most high end and expensive coins on the market today.  Dealer X has built an incredible business and has earned the respect due to an accomplished numismatist.  Dealer X has never met a controversy they didn’t have an opinion on.  Dealer X has a comment on virtually every forum known to the rare coin business.  How come Dealer X is the only one in the rare coin market with the coins nice enough for you?

One of the most important concepts I ever learned in the rare coin business was to ‘never speak negatively about another dealer’.  The temptation to do so is great.  There are always ‘some’ dealers who are willing to cut a corner, sell an over graded coin, or even commit fraud.  That being said, the truth is always the best medicine.  While I might know about an incident or the behavior of another dealer, reporting it or ‘bad mouthing’ that dealer is not my responsibility.  I will answer a direct question from a customer or another dealer, but I will not speak about the other dealer in public.  The rule is that speaking negatively against ANY dealer reflects negatively on ALL dealers.

The forums and chat boards are great, but the comments and controversy generated on these public forums is very often negative and biased.  You must consider the motives of the writer whenever reading ‘blogs’ or comments on a public forum.  Make an informed decision based on facts, not hype or negative comments.  Dealers are in business to make money.  Find a dealer who has what you are looking for.  Do your research before spending your money.  Dealers who are in this business for the long term will price their coins with an eye towards the future and a ‘fair’ deal for you both without ‘Stirring The Pot’.

Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins.  We sell coins at shows and on both our website bozarthcoins.com and in our Ebay store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items.  We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you. 

Thanks and Best Regards

Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior.

Vic Bozarth
Vic Bozarth
Vic Bozarth is a member of the Professional Numismatics Guild (PNG), the ANA, the CSNS, FUN, and many other regional and state coin clubs and organizations. Vic has extensive experience buying and selling coins into the mid-six-figure range. Both Vic and his wife Sherri attend all major U.S. coin shows as well as most of the larger regional shows.

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  1. Another nice column Vic. There are always positives and negatives in every business and avocation. If you promote the positives, and there are many in numismatics, you will tend to encourage more positive people and actions. If you focus on the negatives, you will tend to drive away those who could make positive contributions. Promoting the positive can also have the effect of solving some of the negatives. Many other negatives can be handled and resolved out of the limelight. Some negatives will always be around, but coin dealers would be doing themselves a favor by emphasizing that which is positive in numismatics.


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