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How to Have a Successful & Productive Conversation with a Coin Dealer

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How to Have a Successful & Productive Conversation with a Coin Dealer


As a high-volume coin and bullion dealer, we receive dozens of phone calls and emails a day. We do our best to assist everyone that reaches out to us, even if we don’t deal in the particular coins that they’re interested in buying or selling. The type and number of items can range from one coin upwards of hundreds of pounds of coins and everywhere in between. Additionally, the preparedness of the individual calling ranges from very little to textbook perfect. As you would expect, it’s always a pleasure when we speak with someone who is prepared to discuss the items in detail.prepared when calling a coin dealer for coin collections

The lack of preparation is not necessarily anyone’s fault, as most coin dealers haven’t taken the time to provide you with the type of information they’re looking for. Being prepared and focusing on the most important aspects of the collection can make the conversation a positive experience for both parties.

Since we’re partly to blame for not sharing with prospective customers what we’re looking for, we thought that it would be helpful to outline how you can be best prepared for your conversation.

We’ll also share with you some topics that may be better suited to discuss in person as opposed to over the phone. Considering everyone is busy these days, you want to make the most of your conversation.

As such, we’ve come up with a list of 5 points that we’ve identified as being critical to a productive conversation. If you take these tips into consideration and prepare accordingly, we guarantee that the coin dealer on the other end of the line will be appreciative.

Furthermore, it will go a long way towards building a good rapport with your local coin dealer and put you on the right track for having a successful transaction.


Be Prepared

Preparation is the key to having a successful conversation with a coin dealer. The more prepared you are, the more productive the conversation will be, and the higher priority you will receive. We regularly receive phone calls from prospective customers that aren’t able to provide any details on the collection. We understand that the prospects of selling a coin collection can be overwhelming but jotting down a few details can go a long ways in determining if the coin dealer you’ve reached out to is right for you and your collection.

While all coin dealers buy coins, not all coin dealers buy all coins. In fact, we don’t know of anyone in the industry that buys any and all coins. This means that you should have a general idea of the type of coins that are in the collection. While you may not be a coin collector yourself, it should be pretty easy to determine if the coins are foreign or U.S. coins. Being able to answer this question alone may help to eliminate some coin dealers, as many coin dealers don’t purchase foreign coins unless they’re composed of precious metals, such as gold, silver and platinum.

If you’re not able to identify any of the coins, we recommend that we have them in front of you when you place your phone call, as most coin dealers are adept at identifying coins based on dates, images, markings or the coin’s face value. If you have obscure coins that are obsolete or from a relatively unknown country, this might make things a bit more challenging, but it’s at least worth the time and effort to have the coins readily available for when the coin dealer inevitably begins asking some questions.

If you have a collection of U.S. coins, this opens more doors for you, but again, not all U.S. coins are going to be valuable. While it’s typically not necessary to prepare a detailed itemized inventory list, as in some cases, this could be well over a thousand line items long, having a general idea of the types of coins and date range is helpful.

For example, if your collection consists primarily of Lincoln pennies, Jefferson nickels, state quarters, presidential dollars, Eisenhower dollars, Susan B. Anthony dollars and Sacagawea dollars, you may have a difficult time finding a coin dealer who deals in these items, as in many cases, these are merely face value items.

Alternatively, if your collection consists of pre-1933 U.S. gold coins, 1964 and earlier 90% silver U.S. dimes, quarters and half dollars, U.S. Morgan and Peace silver dollars issued in 1935 and earlier and/or 1 oz American silver eagles issued in 1986 through current, you’re in luck! Nearly every coin dealer that you reach out to regularly trades in or is interested these coins. Furthermore, considering these are high demand items, the coin dealer is likely to prioritize an appointment with you.Liberty Head Gold Coins

The coin dealer will be appreciative that you were well prepared and will likely show you preferential treatment with respect to scheduling an appointment and possibly pricing.


Consider Preparing an Inventory List or Taking Pictures of the Coin Collection

While we noted above that a detailed inventory list isn’t always necessary, oftentimes, the coin collector that amassed the collection maintained a detailed list of their coins. If it is someone who did most of their collecting decades ago, more likely than not, the list is probably handwritten. While not as ideal as an Excel spreadsheet or Google sheet, having this information is always helpful. Additionally, depending on the individual’s penmanship, there are some OCR programs that will convert .PDF’s to Excel.Example Inventory List

If you don’t have an inventory list, we recommend that you don’t spend countless hours documenting each and every coin by year, denomination, mint mark and condition. The reason being is that many coins trade at the same rate, especially if they’re junk silver coins. For example, if you have bags of 90% silver Roosevelt silver dimes, it’s not worth the time and effort to prepare an itemized inventory list, as all of these coins trade at the same rate in average circulated condition. Rather, consider preparing one line item for Roosevelt silver dimes issued from 1946 – 1964 and jot down an approximate count, or even the weight of the coins if you don’t have a coin counter and there are too many to count by hand.

We realize that not everyone is computer savvy enough to prepare an inventory list in electronic form. If this describes you, consider taking pictures that are representative of the collection. You can ask the coin dealer for a texting line or email address, which they’ll be happy to provide. If you have too many pictures or the file sizes are too large, consider using a file sharing service, such as Dropbox. If you’re not familiar with this type of program, a tech savvy neighbor may be able to assist you or a coin dealer may be able to provide you with a link to upload the photos.

In a recent communication, we received an email from a customer who said she has thousands of coins and it would take her months to prepare an inventory list. Since one didn’t accompany the coin collection, we asked her to take and forward a few photos that are representative of the collection. We were able to identify coins that we regularly purchase in the first couple of pictures that she forwarded and told her that we would be happy to schedule an appointment based on the limited information she provided. She was thrilled, as she initially thought that she had months of work ahead of her.


Just the Facts, Ma’am

For some of our more seasoned readers, you may be familiar with the phrase, “just the facts, ma’am.” For those of you who aren’t, it was a quip regularly uttered by Sargent Joe Friday from the show Dragnet. He was a no-nonsense type of detective and wanted to cut to the chase. Keep this in mind when reaching out to a coinjust the facts ma'am dealer.

We all love hearing stories about the coin collector who amassed the collection. In fact, this is one of the favorite parts of our job. However, the time to share stories about the individual and the history of their coin collecting is not when you reach out to a coin dealer with the intent of selling the collection, but rather when you meet with the coin dealer to have your collection evaluated.

If it’s a large collection, you’ll have plenty of time to share stories about the coin collector, what sparked their interest in coin collecting, any particular coins that they were fond of, and how they went about acquiring the coins in their collection. These are oftentimes the stories we share with customers that we ultimately sell the coins to. In fact, the history of a coin or a collector is so appealing that in some cases collectors are willing to pay a premium for the items.

The provenance of a coin, on occasion, makes it more valuable. For example, Louis Eliasburg is well known in the numismatic industry as the only person to have assembled a complete collection of every U.S. coin known to exist. He accomplished this task in 1950. Coins with the Eliasburg attribute on the label sell for more than standard label coins. In recent years, the Eric P. Newman coin collection was one of the more sought-after coin collections in recent memory. NGC certified over 7,500 coins from his collection, which reached $77 million in value, if not more.

Please don’t keep fascinating stories of the coin collector to yourself, but again, wait until the appropriate time to share these interesting facts with the coin dealer you choose to do business with. Most will be happy that you did and will be sure to pass along their love of coin collecting to the next owner.


Avoid references to online prices

The internet is one of the greatest inventions ever…thanks, Al Gore! Seriously, it has changed people’s lives, it’s allowed people to conduct the type of research that was only imaginable years prior and has helped to level the playing field in many industries and facets in life. For example, I can go online and determine what I should expect to receive for the sale of my truck. I can do this within $1,000 of the value and can determine what a dealer and private sale price should be. It’s truly amazing!

However, when it comes to coins, please take prices that you see online with a grain of salt. In our experience, 95% or more of references to online prices are way off base and make it difficult for a coin dealer to assist you. There’s a reason for this. Coin dealers generally know what the price of various coins should be and if they’re spending time trying to explain to you why the price you saw online is incorrect, then you’re less likely to have a fruitful conversation.

Secondly, the price that you see online may not be applicable in your case for a few reasons. The most obvious is asking versus sale prices. We regularly tell folks that anyone can ask anything that they would like for a coin, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the market value for the item. If you ever spend time on eBay, you’ve probably noticed that some sellers are asking hundreds or even thousands of dollars for everyday items that we know are worth a nominal amount. The same applies to coins and currency.

Other factors that affect the value include the year of the coin, the size or denomination, the condition, where it was produced, if it’s been certified, and by who. These seemingly small nuances can translate into hundreds or sometimes even thousands of dollars difference in the value of a coin. Only when you have a true apples-to-apples comparison and research prices realized as opposed to asking prices will you have an idea of the true value of a coin. Even then, many auction houses charge 20% or more to sell your items, so these fees need to be factored into the equation.

While there are some bad seeds in every walk of life and in all industries, contrary to popular belief, most coin dealers want to treat you fairly, as they’re hoping for repeat business and referrals from happy customers. In many cases, when we speak with someone who claims that they received a “lowball offer” on their coins, it wasn’t too far off from the wholesale rates at which the coin trades.


Be Courteous of the Coin Dealer’s Time

While we would love to spend all the time requested of us from every caller, the reality is that there are only so many hours in the day. Between fielding phone calls, scheduling appointments, evaluating collections, purchasing collections, filling orders, shipping packages and keeping up with inventory, there’s not much time left in the day. Please understand that this is not a complaint. In fact, we couldn’t imagine doing anything else as a career. It’s just the reality of the situation.

Considering the time constraints, please understand that most coin dealers don’t have a substantial time to spend on the phone with each caller. Granted, some phone calls take more time due to the complexity of the collection, the number of coins involved, estates in probate, multiple heirs involved, etc. In these cases, a long conversation is warranted. Having a full picture of what the situation helps the coin dealer to determine how to approach the collection, when to see the client and how much time should be allocated for the appointment.

In some cases, we occasionally hear from folks that may have a bit more discretionary time on their hands and want to fill us in on many details that aren’t applicable to evaluating or purchasing the collection. Just recently, we heard from a couple who transported a large collection from Florida to the Northeast that had been housed in Florida the past dozen years.

We were told about their RV adventures, where they’ve traveled in their RV, what their fellow RV friends are doing, and what their travel plans are over the next year. Again, very interesting information to share during the evaluation of the collection, it’s not necessarily relevant to scheduling an appointment.



In conclusion, many coin dealers understand that some of their callers may not be coin experts and are happy to assist you. However, you can do a few things on your end to greatly improve the chances of a positive experience.

We recommend that you do your best to be prepared when making your phone call. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to do extensive research on the coins or prepare a detailed itemized spreadsheet. However, it would be helpful to familiarize yourself with the type of coins and quantity so that you’re prepared to answer any questions that your coin dealer might have.

While typically not necessary, if available, an inventory list in electronic form is always appreciated by a coin dealer. If one is not available and the task of preparing one is too monumental, consider taking some pictures that are representative of the collection and try to estimate the number or weight of the coins.

Stories are what makes this such an exciting and interesting field, but we recommend that you wait until your actual appointment before sharing these details. During an initial conversation, these details delay the process and prevent a coin dealer from determining if they’re able to assist you or not.

Also, stay away from quoting prices for your coins that you found online. Unless you’re a numismatist, there’s a decent chance that the prices you identified aren’t applicable to your coins. There are many factors that go into determining the value of coins. Also, remember that anyone can ask anything that they would like for a coin. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a market for the coin at this price.

Lastly, be respectful of the coin dealer’s time. Granted, there are many situations that require an in depth conversation, which might involve a large complicated collection, a collection located out of state or an estate in probate. These matters take more time to sort out. Keep in mind that your local coin dealer wants to assist you the best that they can, so try and limit your conversation to the matter at hand.

Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers is metro Atlanta’s premier coin buyer and dealer. We’re experts at evaluating large and complex estate collections and look forward to the opportunity to assist you with yours. Contact us today at 404-236-9744 to receive expert advice and industry-leading customer service. We look forward to hearing from you and earning your business.

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Picture of Tony Davis
Tony Davis
Tony Davis is the owner of Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers, a full service Atlanta based coin and bullion dealer specializing in buying, selling and appraising coins and coin collections of all types and sizes. Tony frequently writes on various economic and numismatic related topics affecting the coin and bullion markets and has been published on some of the industry’s leading websites, including Coin Week, the American Numismatic Association, Coin Collector, Coinflation, and Coin Auctions Help, just to name a few. Visit Atlanta Gold & Coin’s website at atlantagoldandcoin.com to obtain additional information on the products, services and educational resources offered by his company. Tony can be reached at sales@atlantagoldandcoin.com or at 404-236-9744

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