Question about buying something raw.

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by rev1774, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. rev1774

    rev1774 Active Member

    When I go out hunting something locally here and there is something raw that I find myself interested with.
    Since here the shops are multi-dealer antique places and no actual dealers around, my question is this.

    I use coinfacts on my phone all the time when I am out as a gauge of value versus selling price and I also use magnification to get
    a decent look at a coin but,

    Would it be a good idea as well to say snap a few macro shots of the coin in question for further study at home as far as getting a sense of
    overall condition along with say getting opinions here before buying since there are never returns with these places?

    Or would it be considered bad etiquette. Especially, with something higher priced persay..
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  3. Mark Feld

    Mark Feld Rare coin dealer

    Images are almost always a poor substitute for in-hand examination of a coin under good lighting conditions. Concentrate on getting a good look, in person.

    If you are not proficient at grading/assessing coins, you'd be better off not buying them or getting help from someone who is.

    I have yet to see decent value in the pricing of coins in the types of shops which you mentioned.
  4. rev1774

    rev1774 Active Member

    I agree that in hand is best and that is what I do first of all when looking at something. I usually never impulse buy, but write it down then come home for more research on it first then if it looks a good buy I will go again and look it over again, sometimes more than once before deciding.

    I guess my question would be more along the lines of as I look at it the first time would it be prudent to snap a few images since I am still deciding based on my research as a close photo would also reveal things that might be missed using a loupe initially.

    Dealers here are somewhat of a scarce commodity. I do buy from good online dealers as well. I sometimes feel that buying nothing but pre-graded items can be both good and bad.

    Hope this made a touch better sense...
  5. Collect89

    Collect89 Coin Collector

    Photographs will not be better than having the coin in-hand and inspecting it under good lighting. I personally need a single incandescent bulb which is not adversely masked by overhead fluorescent and other ambient lighting. If you can't inspect the coin in-hand under good lighting conditions, then you should probably avoid buying expensive coins from these suppliers.

    no good lighting + no return = no sale

    If you find something you really like then snap a photo or write it down. You can research it at home & come back for another inspection.
  6. rev1774

    rev1774 Active Member

    Okay, so my thoughts about snapping a photo on something I am really interested (as opposed to just writing it down and remembering what it looked like) for research at home would be a good idea before taking a second or third look at it in hand.
  7. medoraman

    medoraman Well-Known Member Supporter

    Yes, it would not be bad to take photos just to remind you what you wish to look up. I am with Mark though that I would not think one of these types of places are a very good location to buy much. I have bought a few old stock items, (the price used to be high but the coin value went up and they weren't repriced, a few Sassanid dirhems), most of these places have pretty high costs to the sellers. These costs get passed on to you. Also I see a ton of Chinese fakes at these places, so if you are not very adept at telling the difference I believe you are taking a pretty big risk nowadays.

    There is a reason a lot of dealers earn a living. Buying from a good reputable dealer can give you security about the authenticity of a coin, even unslabbed. Btw, I see a ton of fake Chinese slabs at antique markets nowadays too, so not even slabbed is a sure bet.

    In short, buying from some place like this is much riskier, I simply hope you have the expertise to make sure you are not taken.

    Chris
  8. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    It wouldn't hurt anything if you did that, assuming of course the dealer gave his permission. But it may not help much either. For as said, no picture will ever equal an in hand exam.

    rev - you know what I'd suggest you do ? I'd suggest that you arrange to go to some coin shows, and meet somebody there. Maybe somebody like Mark, or LostDutchman, or Raider, or Charmy, or all of them. And while you are there look at some coins with these folks. Discuss them, and let them point out things to you that make the coin a buy or a don't buy. You'd be amazed at how much you can learn by doing this. And it's worth every cent it would cost you, and then some.

    I have helped countless people all over the world learn about coins by sharing pictures with them, discussing the coins and so on. But nothing compares to doing it in person. At a coin show you can look at all sorts of coins, in all sorts of grades. You can tilt and turn the coins in the light and see things that you can never see in pictures. But more than that you can share knowledge and have it shared with you. At one coin show you can learn what might take you 2 years to learn at home.

    Coin shows are the colleges of coin collecting. But too few people use them as such. Do it, you'll be glad you did ;)
  9. Leadfoot

    Leadfoot there is no spoon

    I think this is a very astute observation by Mr. Feld, with one exception -- if you can cherrypick a rare variety.
  10. rev1774

    rev1774 Active Member


    This is excellent advice and I'd love to hit a few shows. I believe there is one coming up in Md here this month and Log Potato was mentioning about going and I might head to that one at least to get a better perspective on what is available. I'm all about learning and know I need to learn a-lot to make wise purchases for my budget.

    I agree 100% that coin shows are the college of collecting. I also use shows for books and stamps for that very same reason!!
  11. rev1774

    rev1774 Active Member

    Agreed, and basically that is all I use these stores for is the occasional cherry pick. Otherwise, they seem to be a dumping ground for lots of poor items. I stay away from any raw gold, Trade Dollars and the like.
  12. Numismat

    Numismat World coin enthusiast

    If it's actually worth buying when you compare their price to selling prices, it may well be gone the next day.
    I say ask the person working the counter how long ago the coin came in or was put out for sale. If it's been more than a few days and the area gets plenty of collector traffic... well, you know the deal.
  13. rev1774

    rev1774 Active Member

    Thats true enough, I've looked at a few things in the past and after coming home to decide on what I should do and if it was worth buying I actually went back the same day and bought it. As far as the counter person goes, with the size of these antique malls they really don't have a clue about single items coming in and out to offer that kind of info.

    I usually go about once a week and I see more of what comes and goes more than they do. That is mainly how I know if something might be a shot worth checking better.. Now graded items I am interested in that is different as I use coinfacts on my mobile phone to check those out better.

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