Coins at Flea Markets

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Jess, Dec 10, 2002.

  1. Jess

    Jess Senior Member

    Have you noticed how atrocious prices for coins are at the flea markets. I stopped at a booth couple weeks ago at super flea. This person had a tower display and at the very top was a 1979 SBA Phillie Mint and he was only asking $75.00, I snickered and walked on figuring I couldn't afford anything he had. I should have asked what was so special about that coin or better yet bought something and paid with SBA's. If anyone has ever found a good deal at a flea market. Post Please.
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  3. Peter T Davis

    Peter T Davis Hammer at the Ready Moderator

    I've looked, and never found anything good. When I was a kid, I bought a few Morgan dollars at flea markets, but I didn't know any better and that was the only time I ever saw them. I think that this is one of the prime sources for unknowledgeable people who come to coin dealers with unreasonable expectations of the value of their coins.
  4. looric

    looric New Member

    The Rule of the Flea Market: Haggle Haggle Haggle.

    I sell at flea markets and I sometimes sell coins there. I always price anythig I sell at least 5 times what I want from it. Rarely (but sometimes) some one will pay that price. Most of the time I am asked "Is that the best price on it?"

    I say, "Yup, that is the best price for me *chuckle*. How much you want to pay for it?" If they are serious they make a bid, if they are like me (and trying to steal a deal) they say, "How about a nickle?"

    "Sure!" says I, "As long as it is a 1913 Liberty Head nickle." Rarely does the person know what I am talking about, but by then "Short Attention Span Theater Syndrom" kicks in and they forget what they were looking at and wander away.

    In this case, if a seller can get $75 for a common SBA, great. If not, he can still get a "Big and Tastey" for it down the street.

    One caveat to this: If I would ask the seller "what makes it so expensive" and I get a line about "They are rare" or some such lie then I have a problem. That is stealing through deception, and that is wrong.

    If he says "You don't see them much anymore", while stretching the truth, that isn't a lie. You are stupid for buying it, but stupidity has been running much of the coin market for years now.
  5. Bill Henderson

    Bill Henderson New Member

    The problem I see with flea markets is that you're not dealing with someone who has a lot at stake. With a coin dealer in a brick and mortor shop, they've got a reputation. You're more likely to get ripped at a flea market, when the guy selling you a coin knows that he's not going to be there tomorrow, and will not likely see you ever again. The coin dealer will be in his shop tomorrow in most cases, and you can go back to him if you find you got ripped.
  6. Tbirde

    Tbirde Senior Member

    Not long ago I had time to kill and went to a local indoor antique mall. In one case I saw a pair of 1780 (restrikes) BU Maria Theresia Thalers which normally sell for $6 each on average. The card above the pair: "$475 firm"! Obviously, sellers like these at these places plan on making their living off ignorance and stupidity.
  7. Bill Henderson

    Bill Henderson New Member

    Obviously, I'm in the wrong business. I could live fairly well on one or two sales a week at that markup.
  8. Stujoe

    Stujoe New Member

    I am pretty lucky.

    We have a monthly flea market real close to my house. It is huge. Hundreds of dealers. In and amongst the regular flea market stuff, there are usually 6 or 7 dedicated coin dealers.

    A couple of them, I wouldn't buy from, ever.

    A couple usually have state quarters and SAE's, Proof sets etc. I don't usually buy those but they have decent prices and good stuff and if I am in the market for that I will buy from them.

    Then there are a couple of dealers who are very good and bring a nice selection of coins. One of them owns a local shop downtown. The others, I am not sure where they are from. I almost always find some good coins at decent prices.
  9. numist

    numist Member

    I guess it's been about two years or so now, but I ventured over to Canton, TX on first Monday. If you have ever been, you know that you can easily wear out a good pair of shoes and still not see everything.
    This thing is HUGE!. Anyway, I wandered through what is known as 'dog town', a little section opposite the highway from the main part. It was in the morning and I was walking into the sun. I noticed a familiar patterned reflection on someones table as I approached.
    It was a Whitman folder, lying open..the coins gleaming so bright I was tempted to run back to the car to get my shades.
    As I got closer, my facination became horror. It was a Whitman folder alright, not quite filled with indian cents. Every one had been highly and brutally polished and cleaned.. some so much that I doubt they would have even worked in a penny gumball machine they were so thin.
    Even more troubling was that the book was being sold at the nominal price of $250.00 for the lot. Even without cleaning, I think the highest grade coin would have been AG. No 08-S, 09-S or any of the earlier dates in the book were there either.
    Needless to say, I had to pass on that deal.
    Later the same day, I had made it to the back 'barn' where I found three rolls of mixed wheats.. all for 6.00. When I got them back home, I found lots of dates in the 20's, some 30's and only a few 40's. Best grade was a 1925-S in AU.
    Deals are (and aren't) where you find them :)
  10. Marotta

    Marotta New Member

    Lie Down with Dogs and Wake up with Fleas

    Coins are hard to buy at flea markets and "antique malls" and similar places. I buy books occasionally, but overall, I find that prices there are "optimisitic" prices. If the booth owner is there, I have been able to negotiate on books and things. With coins, the feeling is that "someone will buy it" and someone usually does.

    Also, I am not sure that these dealers will not always be there. My experience is that it is like any other market: some come and go; others stay.

    Again, comparing books to coins, no one wants books. Books are cheap. But if you get something like a Nancy Drew from 1950, the price is sky high. This is just another reprint edition, but the people who are 50 now, remember it that way from their childhoods and never having seen a real first edition, they pay $10 or so for this $1 book. Otherwise, books are pretty reasonable when you consider that what you get from a book is the KNOWLEDGE inside.

    You do not get much knowledge staring at a coin.

    So, for me, I buy numismatic materials mostly at ANA Conventions or similar places.

    Other things I buy elsewhere.

    See, everyone is crazy for "old" tools. You cannot touch a cast iron frying pan for less than $15 even though these are NEW goods from China. People like them. Slide rules, too. Who knows how to use one? Why would you want to? But dealers put these things out at $25 and have a K+E in a Pickett case, or the cursor lost its spring or there is no cursor. But if you keep your eyes open and wait, you find stuff. It just depends.
  11. Coin Chick

    Coin Chick Loves Gold

    You will never catch me buying a coin at a flea market. I always felt so dirty when I went to one, it's been years. I don't think they would have the kind of coin I would want to buy anyway.
  12. Bill Henderson

    Bill Henderson New Member

    I would not buy gold at a flea market either.
  13. mbbiker

    mbbiker New Member

    No gold or silver for me. I once saw a box full of "unsearched" trade dollars. The guy was only asking 20 bucks a peice for them. All bad copies. Not even a rare date copy just a bunch of common dates.
  14. laz

    laz New Member

    I used to do the flea market thing,but rarely for coins.It's great for cherry picking varieties from dealer stocks though.Series like 2 Cent pieces and Shield Nickels have lots of hidden goodies just waiting to be found.The local flea market is 250+ tables so it was good exercise too.Lots of cheap antiques,but like everything else,knowledge is power.You need to know what your looking for,and what your willing to pay. ~ Jim
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