Hot Topics

Journal entries from the founder of Legend Numismatics, Laura Sperber, help you stay current with the real happenings of numismatics.  A former ANA Board Member, Laura has handled close to $1 billion worth of rare coins to date and has assembled many of the greatest collections ever. Her views and opinions are as "inside" as you can get. Warning: ALL her Hot Topics articles are pretty blunt!

HOW TO BUY THE BEST COINS

Legend Numismatics is this decades UNRIVALED leader in building some of the GREAT COLLECTIONS ever formed. I can say with out any hesitation we have handled most of the greatest coins that exist.

I see so many collectors buying bad still. They think because of a coin having strong bidding in an auction or some dealers web site promotes a coin well they are buying something top notch. They think they are “do it yourselfers” because they read self promoting garbage on chat rooms or attend one show every few months. NOT! Be honest with yourself, know your limitations.

You really need to have an understanding of what it takes to get a great coin. ANY great coin. I’m even taking about a something like a monster S Mint Dollar in 67 (does not have to be an expensive coin). Below I’ll list a few things you should do in order to have access to the best coins (there are so many more things to add-this is just a snap shot):

First: you DO very much need to work with a good dealer. Having a relationship with a good dealer yields far more then just finding coins. I can tell you with all the great collections we have built over the years, NEVER have I not I felt like a partner or close friend to the owner. I realize the collectors put their trust in me and I am their extension to the numismatic community. I can’t stress enough how much a huge win-win it is to have a strong one on one dealer relationship.

A good dealer will understand you and know your tastes. They will save you from bad buys at auction (probably the best reason of all to work with a dealer). Auctions houses are notorious for poor imaging-a dealer will save you from that trap.  A good dealer will have resources to buy great coins no collector will ever have access too. I had a smaller collector who was thrilled to death when out of the blue I had contacted him with a MONSTER coin he knew he’d never have found in a million years.

Also, working with a good dealer WILL move you to the top of the list when they get cool coins. If you haggle, just buy on and off, or return many coins, your not going to be high on a dealers list. And as someone recently found out from me, if you deny me my fair commission, “your dead to me”.  Its a two way relationship. Good dealers should be treated fairly and are more then worthy of their fees.  Don’t be cheap and think you don’t need a dealer or their services are to expensive.

Second: Don’t be stuck up about the registries. I would much rather build a lesser grade set and have every coin have a huge WOW factor then build a #1 or 2 set that’s eh okay. Do NOT feel you must fill a hole with the first piece of dreck you get offered. Let me tell you, many dealers do say they want trades-but if your trying to get into a “cash coin” (meaning a coin any one would write a check for), no dealer wants to be stuck w/a trade. YOU would be the loser-no matter what you paid. Quality and EYE APPEAL are the most significant factors in the value of coin. Having it in a registry set is more an ego thing.

Third: don’t get addicted to auctions. This is especially when you need to work with a dealer. To think the under bidder will always be there is wrong. In fact once you’ve been run up and pay way too much, in most cases, the real next bidder maybe multiple increments away. When you have a one on one relationship with a dealer you can buy and sell with them. Auctions are one ways streets. OUCH! Plus, while you may think your an expert, you really don’t know most critical factors about a coin-like a full time dealer would.  The biggest mistake I see-NEVER BUY COMMONER COINS from auctions-unless they are once in a life time pieces. You want killer Short set Walkers-go to a coin show or surf the web!

Fourth: PAY THE PREMIUM!!! Even in a down market there is NO such thing as a buying a superstar coin really cheap. I tell people: always buy the BEST you can afford. You don’t have to buy an ok MS68 whatever. Many times a killer MS66 wildly eye appealing piece is the smarter buy. One of my tags lines is:  “quality isn’t everything, its the ONLY thing”. I made the decision long ago to buy and sell ONLY PCGS CAC coins with collectors. I have NO regrets what so ever. I can also factually state that collectors who did that and have held their coins-are doing very well.

LAST: Have a LONG TERM outlook. The coin market can be cyclical with short term swings. NO ONE knows when they will happen. Unless your wildly wealthy, plan on keeping your coins 5-10 years. You can’t be a churner and expect to gain access to great coins!

Right now the market has become cheap and people are taking notice. You don’t want to buy bad deals-even if the prices are cheap. We’re even seeing a few new faces pop up. So the purpose of this article is to give people some guidance. These are just a few things we recommend. Hope it helps.

Any questions or comments email: lsperber1@hotmail.com

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