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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!
Posted: February 18, 2018 12:03 PM EST| 1 Reply
THINK ABOUT ALL THIS
Sorry for a delay since the last Hot Topics. I must admit, running Legend and Legend Auctions has not allowed me to even think!
Being in the other side of auctions for a few years now, I must warn people of mistakes they can avoid and save themselves money.
Use an experienced and trustworthy dealer. A good dealer will help you in so many ways you never thought about. Some times, your best buy is the one you never made.
NEVER assume the image is correct. Use it ONLY as a guide (which is why seeing the coin is so important).
Do NOT chase cheap widgets. Why pay more? You can got to a show, see a selection, and buy them cheaper.
Do NOT think the under bidder will always be there. BIG myth! Chances are after their loss they have moved on to something else.
Do NOT share your information with others unless you are working with someone. I have seen countless buyers get “juiced” by not only dealers, but fellow collectors. Share your prize AFTER you buy it. ALWAYS do what YOU must-not what others want you too.
Do NOT collude! Its illegal and can and will get you banned. And sometimes its just stupid because you might not get the coin you want anyway.
ALWAYS have an open mind on value when trying to capture a real prize. Remember, this could be your only shot for a while. On rarer coins, today’s new game plan seems to be play to win.
As far as how to actually bid, the best is always to wait. There are a few Internet Only Auctions I am highly suspect of shilling by their buddies. However, I strongly believe NO major auction house does any thing like that in the major sales. Bid on coins however you feel comfortable. One thing I do-if I am price sensitive, I bid earlier so I hit my final increment. Its worked well for me. You can also always phone bid in major sales-or have a dealer represent you.
Pick the auction company right for you. A high end gold collection does not belong in a popular Internet Sale if they sell 1,000 other widgets. If your coins are cheaper do NOT put them in any major sales. Search for an auction house that won’t make them one of hundreds or place them in the back of the sale. Try to find the auction company that is the right fit for your coins.
Here too, do not be afraid to work with a good dealer who has auction experience. They can get you the best deal. In many cases, your coins simply may not be right for auction.
Negotiate the commissions. Size and quality of a collection matters. You should NEVER have to pay a sellers fee.
Always ask for a “point”person-someone who will work with you from start to finish and that you can get a hold of.
If you have a complete collection, do NOT allow your coins to be placed all over a catalog. Allowing this to happen, clearly disrupts the flow of energy and higher values.
Make the auction company agree to a limit on similar coins. There have been instances of 5-8 High Reliefs, and even 4 5C 1912S PCGS MS66 all next to each other in one sale! Needless to say, no consignor wins when that happens.
Ask the auction company for an outline of their marketing plans. If you have a larger collection and wish add personal notes-ask. Do not be afraid to make requests or share your visions.
A word on reserves, to earn the best results you can’t have a coin open at a full market price. Collectors get quickly turned off by what they feel are “fixed price” sales. In this case, you really have to trust the caliber, experience, and advice of the auction company. That is why picking the right company is so critical. NOTE: if you are selling coins valued at LESS then $5,000.00, its senseless to reserve them-unless they are problem coins (in my opinion). Again, not all coins should be sold via auction.
Do not think you know the market better then the auction house. Consult with them (this is why you need to work with a dealer) about the timing on when your coins should be sold (example: I won’t hold a major auction in April).
These are just some things I have noticed collectors do not take into consideration when buying and selling at auction.
Everyone wants that two person race to the moon for their coins. Those rarely happen. Be realistic. I see more people leave themselves wide open and end up having their coins sell poorly. It does not have to happen.
After 40+ years in this biz and being one of the biggest consistent buyers in every major auction as well s running a highly successful auction boutique auction house, you should seriously consider my advice. Having a helping hand will NOT reduce your joy and should save/make you money over time. You won’t lose the thrill of bidding if you work the right dealer.
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