|March 2018 Issue|
How to Survive at Auction
By Warren Mills
Welcome to the March Edition of The Rare Coin Enthusiast. This month I want to address the need to acquire coins from auctions. This is my 39th year in the coin business and it is a true blessing to work at your hobby. However, there are times when I encounter situations that can be very frustrating. Allow me to give you a description of such a scenario.
We connect with a customer by phone, email, or at a show. After pleasantries the question is, “Are you still buying coins?” In many instances the answer is, “Yes, but I buy most of my coins in auctions now.” I follow up with, “How come, you’ve acquired great coins from us in the past, why now mainly auctions?” Usually it has to do with our inability to supply or find solid coins when there are tremendous amounts of marginal ones in auctions. Auctions do have some great coins, but most are marginal at best! Okay, I get it, but three recent encounters with clients made me see a need to address potential pitfalls here.
Auction houses are great at marketing their products. Once your buying patterns are established, they email you about future lots that are coming up for sale which may be of interest to you. This is fine if you know what you are doing. Many buyers only have an idea of what they like. They may have started buying coins with one or two reputable dealers, then figured out they’ll cut out the middleman and buy direct. This is just enough knowledge to actually have a negative effect on the value of your purchases. Here are a few examples that we recently encountered: