Since this subject keeps being brought up, I thought that I would share a little inside information
First, too many collectors have this idea in their head that the greysheet is like some magic secret code that dealers use. Now I have promoted the greysheet many times, as I believe it is a valuable tool. This does not translate into that I believe collectors need a subscription to the greysheet. 3 or 4 copies a year are more than enough.
The greysheet is simply a guide used by dealers. All dealers do not use the greysheet in the same way.
Most use a 10% spread. We buy at 10% back of bid and sell at 10% of ask.
Now in doing this, the dealer must know how to grade coins. The collector must know how to understand the principles of grading and business.
This is a business folks. Dealers buy and sell coins for a living. Most survive on the simple basis of turning over material quickly. It is far easier to make a few dollars per coin and move onto the next deal. Very few dealers work on large spreads. (This is saved for TV).
The greysheet covers actively traded coins only. They post numbers used by dealers in transactions between dealers. This guide is just that. A guide. The numbers are not etched in stone. Each coin must be bought on the idea that it can be sold. If someone offers me a coin that I do not have a ready customer for, I pay less. If I have a customer waiting for it, I pay more.
Key dates always bring more money as all dealers can use this material. Common dates will sit on a shelf waiting for a customer.
Many collectors fail to realize that dealers are not auction houses. We do not outbid each other for material. Are buy prices are based on what we believe we can obtain for the coin when sold. Not on what some other dealer will pay for it. I could care less what some other dealer will pay for a coin. I could care less what that coin will bring at auction. I could care less what that coin has been bought and sold for in the past.
Now most collectors have some idea in their head what they will take for their coin when offering it for sale. If you walk up to a dealer and ask what will you pay for this coin, you are failing yourself. You automatically place yourself at a disadvantage, and most of the time you will lose! Simple as that.
Mike Marrotta has stated many times that dealers see collectors walking around with a greysheet in their pocket and a target on their head. This is very true! Too often collectors falsely believe that walking the floor with a greysheet will make you part of the secret dealer club. Unless you fully understand how the greysheet works, I suggest that you leave it in the car.
Do your research before you sell your material. It is far too easy to determine a value for your coin. Walk up to the dealer and quote the man a price. Extend them the same courtesy that they extend to you. If you walk up and ask what will you pay, you WILL be lowballed, and you deserve to be. Simple as that! If you do not take the time to learn about your hobby, you do not deserve to be treated as if you do.
Collectors need to stop treating the coin business differently than any other business. If you are selling a car, you don't ask the potential buyer what he is willing to pay. That is ridiculous.
Dealers don't ask you what you want or are willing to pay. They quote a price. You either accept it or you don't.
Some offer the excuse that they do not know what their coin is worth. Is this the dealers fault? NO. There are 20 different ways to determine the value of your collection. If you rely on some dealer to "take care of you", You WILL lose.
This business is ruled by those who have the knowledge. If you choose not to learn the rules which the game is played by, you cannot compete. You are just a guppy in the water with sharks. It is simply a matter of time before you are gobbled up.
Now I understand that some of you may get your feelings hurt, ot may not agree with this post. That is your choice. I make my living in this business, and believe me, it is not a business for the weak.
I have freely given my time to offer all of you an insight into this business. Some have listened, and they will admit that they are better off for it. Some choose to believe that they can reinvent the way that it works. I say "More power to you". All I can do is offer you the truth. If you choose not to believe it, I cannot help you.
If you take the time to look at the motives of those of us here offering our help, you will see that we are not here trying to sell coins, pick up customers, or change your minds. We are here to simply help you learn. Knowledge is the key to this business.
I hope that helps you understand a little better of how this business works.