Flea Market Coins

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by pghpanthers2, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. pghpanthers2

    pghpanthers2 #1 Member

    Hello all,

    I was just wondering how everyone feels about buying coins from flea markets, yard sales, basically everything other than dealers with their own store front, etc. Where I live, there are not many dealers that actually have open shops (most dealers I have called only go to coin shows). Of course, I do frequent the dealers' store when I can, but they really do not turn over inventory very fast. So I buy a lot of my coins (almost all common date silver stuff) at flea markets. The people I buy from carry an impressive inventory which seems to change with moderate frequency.

    What is the general consensus among collectors about buying coins using this method? The red book discourages this type of coin acquisition, but its not like I am buying rare, expensive coins. The way I see it, its not much different than buying on eBay and you actually get to hold what you are buying before you hand over the money!

    Thanks for your thoughts!

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  3. quartertapper

    quartertapper Numismatist

    I think as long as you are knowledgable in what you are buying, it is a great place to buy common date coins, especially bullion priced silver.
  4. the_man12

    the_man12 Amateur Photographer

    I think it is an excellent way to pick up coins if you know what you're doing. For example, if you see a coin that you want and it's cleaned and you can't tell, it can be bad. Otherwise it seems like you can find some good prices at flea markets. Just wish there was one around me...
  5. borgovan

    borgovan Supporter**

    It really doesn't matter where the coin comes from, as far as I'm concerned.

    I only have one flea market anywhere near my house; about 15 miles away. I know one reputable coin dealer that sets up there. There are a few other people who have coins, but they don't have much. Fortunately, I have lots of shops and shows within a few miles of where I live.

    In any case, the previous advice given to you is sound: Know what you're buying, and know the market. As long as you're not paying outrageous prices, and you're not buying junk, then have at it!
  6. indianhead

    indianhead Numismatist

    I have found that sometimes flea market dealers actually have better prices than the B&M dealers. A few years ago I bought a 1906 $5 dollar gold liberty for $175. Which at the time was a great deal. Ask Treashunt about that coin as he owns it now. I'd say its every bit an AU coin. Anyway, I'd much rather buy from a flea market dealer than a coin shop. And, you'll find the more you visit the better deals you may get. Not all, but most will do that for you. There is one very good dealer from Harrisburg that will only show coins by appointment, Harmans Rare Coins. Have you tried him? I've bought from him before and he's very fair with his prices.

  7. Just Carl

    Just Carl Numismatist

    As to flea markets, garage/yard/estate sales for coins, those are by far the best for me. As with anything though, it all depends on where you live, the flea market or garage/yard sales, etc. In some areas those are just a joke. In my area it has payed off fantastically. So many, many stories from purchases at those places. Here are just a few examples:
    A friend of mine was garage sale hunting. Found one where there was a 58 Corvete just sitting there covered up. Wasn't supposed to be part of the sale. He asked about it. Turned out it was her late husbands car and if he wanted it, just take the thing. He did.
    At a flea market a lady opened her car and broght out massive amounts of guns, ammunition, knives and miscellaneous other items. Said it was her now ex husbands and it is for sale for practically the lowest possible prices. She sold out everything in minutes. And for most items less than a dollar.
    At a flea market I saw a black 3 ringed binder on a table. Opened it. Inside I counted 238 Buffalo Nickels all in at least EF grades and various dates. Seller said $80 and so I took it.
    Garage sale. Lady had a jar of pennies and was planning on using them for change. I looked at the bottom and it was full of Indian Head Cents. Walked away with the jar for $50. $35 in face value alone.
    I love flea markets, garage/yard/estate sales.
  8. MorganMan

    MorganMan Member

    I have 3 fairly large antique stores within 1 mile of each other. I have found several very nice MS 63 Morgan dollars there. I stop by there every once in a while on my way home from work. Some excellent deal to be had every once in a while.
  9. Lafayette

    Lafayette New Member

    Can be a great source...or horrible.
  10. davidh

    davidh soloist gnomic

    If you're buying from someone not primarily selling coins, they're probably coins found in someone's drawer. It's not likely that you'll get a rare or quality example but remember, not too long ago, an original copy (oxymoron?) of the Declaration of Independence was found in a garage sale.
  11. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

    And it is a beauty!
  12. De Orc

    De Orc Well-Known Member

    It is as good a way as any and you get to see what you are buying :smile and you can allways try haggling the price down LOL
  13. andy21us

    andy21us Coin Hoarder

    To me there are four type of poeple that sell coins at Flea Markets, Yard/Garage Sales, and Estate Sales. 1. The Knowledgeable Coin Dealer: Someone that you may or may not get a fair deal from:kewl:. 2 The Con-Artist: Someone that out to take advanage of the inexperienced or new coin collectors:vanish:. The third and the fourth type of people are almost the same. 3. The person that have no Idea the value of coins: These people almost always overprice their coins, but some times you can find a good deal:pencil:. The four type of person thinks that if the coin is old it has to be expensive and there is no way to talk them down:headbang:.

    Flea Markets and Yard Sales can be a very good place to fine good deals if you take your time and know what to look out for. Most of the time even if the coin is over price you can talk the seller down to a price that both of you can live with.
  14. pghpanthers2

    pghpanthers2 #1 Member

    Thanks for the opinions, they are pretty much in line with what I have experienced. I agree that many of the people will have something like a 1921 Morgan and think its worth a ton (or know better but try to convince those who dont know). Other dealers at flea markets have decent stuff at pretty good prices. Generally the coins are not as nice as dealers with a store front, but if the price is right, thats ok!
  15. Just Carl

    Just Carl Numismatist

    Just one more flea market story. A few years ago a seller appeared for the first time there. His primary items for sale were coins. He had large bins on his table. Two had all foreign coins and two had all US coins. Not in 2x2's or anything else, just DUMPED into the bins. His prices were $0.25 per item regardless of the item. I pulled out as many Mercury Dimes as possible. Many were in from G-4 to MS grades. Every week I did the same and some were even dates like the 42/41, 26S, etc. One was even a 1921. He just didn't care. After a few years of this and talking to him about how much he is loosing out of I finally got him a price guide of US coins. Told him about 2x2's. Sort of ruined it for myself. He now sells coins based on the price guide I gave him. It was few years old but he is still selling coins at a great rate but not to me. His prices are too high for me.
    Just a word of advise. If you go to garage/yard/estate sales you must ask for coins. Most people will not put those out for someone to walk off with. Many have jars of old coins and never think of them as a selling point at a sale. You must ASK.
    And please note I said estate sales, not estate auctions. There is a really big difference.
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