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AEQVITI
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XXI

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Some Considerations for Selecting the Best
Consigner When Selling Your Coins

By Paul H. Marshall, M.Ed

Selecting the best consigner when the time is right to sell part or all of your collection can be a daunting task. Coins are more than simple pieces of metal with a market value, they are small pieces of art of which we are only temporary caretakers. You may find that each coin carries with it some sentimental value or it has beauty you find appealing. But whatever the meaning or value you place on a coin which is being sold you must consider how you can sell them for a fair amount.

When you begin planning the sale of your coins first start by considering the reason(s) for selling them. If consigning coins is the option you have chosen, remember that your coins may not and probably will not sell right away and could possibly take many months to sell at the prices you desire. If you need money right away, selling them through consigning them through a dealer may not be the best option unless you are willing to price them very competitively or you are lucky. Fast liquidation is more likely accomplished by direct sale to a dealer or large collector that desires your coins.

If you sell directly to a dealer the price you should expect will be less than the retail price. A dealer depends on profits on the sale of their coins to make a living. Also, they take the risk that some coins may not sell for a long time. Also, they may be willing to pay more for desirable coins in top condition or if your coins meet the needs of specific customers. Always show your coins to a number of legitimate dealers when selling directly.

If you can wait and do not need the proceeds for the sale of your coins right away then consigning them may be the best option. However, if you are selling your coins to upgrade or change the focus of your collection, it may be worth asking a dealer if they will consider trading your coins. Many dealers will consider trading coins, especially if they sold them to you or if you have built a long term relationship with them.   

Today with the advent of the Internet the choices of dealers are great and your potential customer base stretches the globe. But again, it may be wise to consider the dealer you purchased the coins from since they are familiar with then and may know how best to meet your needs. However, if you choose to use another dealer consider the following:

1.) Favorable consignment terms this includes not just the consignment fees, which can be from 10% to 20% or more, but also how long it will be before you are paid for any sold coins. Also, you need to consider how long the agreement requires you to consign with them. And finally, you should consider any other fees that may be included such as storage and materials. Remember, just because the consignment fees are less than other dealers it still may not be the best value.

2.) Quality of Photography a picture is worth a thousand words and can make the difference between a coin selling or not. Picture should be truthful and able to fully express the quality of your coin. I have seen pictures of coins that look horrible and turn me off because they are blurry and poorly lit and I have seen pictures that excellent and make me want to purchase a coin. Make sure they can produce the most appealing coins without being deceptive.

3.) Types of coins presently sold Your collection should be similar to what is being sold by the dealer. If you are selling Greek gold coins, but the dealer has mostly late Roman bronze coins the customers attracted to them may not be as likely to desire your coins. Therefore, if you are trying to sell Greek gold, look for a dealer that already has sold a number of the same kinds of coins.

4.) Site traffic and customer base If you are considering a dealer with exposure to the Internet, consider how much traffic they get on their site. They should be able to inform you of this and may even be able to tell you how many regular customers they have. More traffic is better, but only if they are customers that are interested in the type of coins you are selling. So if a dealer also sells modern coins or other types you may want to ask specifically what the traffic is for the parts of their site that matches what you are consigning.

5.) Knowledge Part of what you are paying for when consigning with a dealer is their expertise with the types of coins you are selling. Always ask how much they know about the coins you are selling and if they have the library to correctly attribute your coins or if they use others to attribute your coins. Along with correctly attributing coins is determining the best current market values. Ask if they have experience with this and have access to databases and recent auction catalogs. Pricing coins to high can prevent them from selling and to low means you are not maximizing your return.

6.) Reputation this is perhaps the most important consideration. Make sure that a dealer you consign with has an excellent reputation, not only with customers that buy from them but also with those that consign with them. They must stand behind the quality and authenticity of their product. The dealer should have a impeccable reputation. They should be courteous, and willing to meet your needs. Sold coins should sent in a timely fashion and customer concerns and complaints to should be honestly addressed. Also, persons consigning coins should have their coins posted and payments made in a timely fashion. Asking your fellow collectors can give you a good reading on the reputation of a dealer.

Finally, always remember that knowledge is key and that you should never choose a dealer to consign with unless you have fully investigated them and they should be a good fit with your needs.