No one sells foreign coins

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by Hiddendragon, Sep 23, 2021.

  1. Seascape

    Seascape U.S. & World Collector

    My local shop has a huge inventory of world. Its all online but most of it no pics. If I see it online I can go in and ask they will pull it. Or... I can as them to pull the entire country box. They have stuff from $1.00 all the way up to $1000.00's of dollars. They also have a small display of slabbed maybe 100 examples? They're junk bin I tried just not long ago. 9 bux lb. I bought like 1.5 lbs and got skunked. All very modern stuff. I basically sacked it back up and gave it to one of my visa workers. All they're stuff is online. I've visited alot of it. Its all pretty nice stuff. Not alot of fluff. It's not unusual to find really great examples and you'll notice somewhat of a premium being asked. But for the most part I've come to the conclusion they use Krause pricing.

    As far as customer service i they're pretty good. Keep in mind we're out joy shopping basically. They're at work. We're all just humans. They will favor the silver line and the buy line I feel some times. I've felt like maybe i was bothering them a time or 2 because i was asking for world boxes. Really only the owner knows maybe i annoy the other guys? I've wondered a couple times but nothing major. I did walk out of there completely pissed one time after i dropped like 400 bux on world. That day it was the silver counter they were cranking on. But..thats water under the bridge now. Plus I'm a weird dude...i was annoyed by the time they got to me so i suspect i was not the friendliest chap either on that visit. Now I just try to not go in there at certain times. In fact... one of the guys told me early saturday morning is the best time. Hummmm.... i don't remember how that convo got started but maybe they picked up on something?

    But can buy online. But like i said no pics....basically just a list of inventory.
    Hiddendragon likes this.
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  3. Hiddendragon

    Hiddendragon World coin collector

    I ended up visiting a shop on Friday that I had been to once before years ago, but at that time I was at a different stage in my collecting. This place had a lot of cool stuff, but the big drawback was that they know what it's all worth. The guy running it was pretty old but he really knew his stuff. Like he knew key dates for everything off the top of his head. I could see I wasn't going to get any steals here. He did say he was giving me much lower prices than the book price and for a lot of it I think that's true, so I can't complain too much. I got a lot of things I never see elsewhere and I'll probably go back. What I didn't like though is he had to give me a price on everything so I never knew what it would cost upfront. With a lot of coins I will buy them or not depending on the price. My favorite is when they price them off the top of their heads because it tends to be lower than the real value. I hate when they look stuff up.
  4. Seascape

    Seascape U.S. & World Collector

    Nothing is priced at my shop either. Its all on that online inventory... so I always have my phone on the counter with me so i can just look up stuff myself... they usually just sit there until i find something than i either try to talk them down ... which on world they usually do.... on U.S. they will sometimes but not alot. It is sorta annoying.
  5. QuintupleSovereign

    QuintupleSovereign Well-Known Member

    I had a similarly dispiriting experience pre-Covid, before prices went haywire. I went into a local coin store in Naples, FL, and asked if I might take a look at their foreign silver. They refused to even let me see their inventory, saying they preferred to just sell online. Not a great way to conduct business, IMHO, to deny potential customers the ability to purchase!
  6. cladking

    cladking Coin Collector

    Online pricing and bidding tends to be much higher on world coins recently. An old $5 coin priced at $20 in Krause tends to bring $4 over the counter and maybe as high as $40 online.
    Hiddendragon likes this.
  7. Hiddendragon

    Hiddendragon World coin collector

    I believe this. I've sold a lot of my silver this year on eBay. I look up the prices others sold for to get an idea of what to charge. I think people are nuts on a lot of them but more often than not they sell right away.
  8. Hiddendragon

    Hiddendragon World coin collector

    This doesn't sound like a fun way to shop for coins at all. You might as well be on eBay. Obviously they don't care too much about customers in the shop buying this stuff if they make it that difficult.
  9. Hiddendragon

    Hiddendragon World coin collector

    This is ridiculous. I have had a similar experience trying to buy foreign silver. Many shops just put it all in a melt bucket and either actually melt it or sell it to other dealers or at shows. I asked one shop if I could look through the melt bucket and they just said no. I wasn't totally surprised but I was hopeful. It hurts me to think about the stuff that's probably getting melted just because no one wants to bother looking it up.
    serafino and QuintupleSovereign like this.
  10. montynj3417

    montynj3417 Active Member

    Yes! That's a really fun way to see and acquire different coins!
  11. stldanceartist

    stldanceartist Minister of Silly Walks Supporter

    Here is my experience of the local coin shops here in the Philly area regarding foreign coins:

    Shop A

    *Has bulk foreign, wants to sell it at $10/lb, but won't let you pick through it and buy what you want
    *Has "lots" of foreign silver but refuses to sell it as it's not worth their time
    *Has "lots" of foreign mint/proof sets with silver coins in them, but refuses to even let me see them because it's not worth their time

    Shop B

    *Has bulk foreign, including a couple bins you can pick through, but it's PICKED THROUGH really well. So bland a selection that I didn't even ask what the per pound price was.
    *Has a bucket of foreign silver, and you can buy from it - but it's usually really commons stuff. Occasionally there will be something interesting in there.
    *Refuses to even answer if they have foreign mint/proof sets with silver in them - says "when we have it, we just break them open to smelt them."

    Shop C

    *Has a bin of bulk foreign, but it's also REALLY picked through. Did not even ask how much it is by the pound.
    *Had a bunch of world silver separated by percentage, which I bought the first time I went in. Ever since that day, owner states he does not have any foreign silver any more (in a way that makes you think he surely does, but doesn't want to sell it to you.)
    *Same answer as second bullet point on whether he has any sets.

    Shop D

    *Has a bin of silver, and did let me pick through it. Got a couple nice Bermuda 1959 Crowns out of it, plus some smaller pieces.
    *Said they sell bulk foreign, but price was $10/pound and wouldn't show it to me when I asked to see what it looked like.
    *Have a few graded world pieces, but prices seemed too high for my taste.

    Shop E

    *Has a bin of world silver to sell at 10% over spot, really picked through but occasionally there is a coin or two that slips through the cracks.
    *Has a cabinet full of bulk foreign coins that you can buy in a tiered pricing system, but seemed really pricy for my taste based on what was in there.
    *Has an entire case of "nicer" foreign coins with really high prices, but most of the coins seemed to be problem coins (cleaned, damaged, weirdly toned.) Had ONE early South Africa partial set (just the silver) I wanted, but he wanted literally twice what a complete set goes for on eBay for it.

    In summary, seems like most of the dealers I've been to here at least have some foreign coins, but their prices are either really high or they already have regular buyers set up to buy anything that comes in. In other words, as a new customer you can pick through the scraps at high retail prices, or get nothing.

    It's what makes going back home occasionally so much fun. I walk in the door and get treated like the second coming - BEN is here! Here's a whole tote full of foreign stuff! And a bunch of silver! Do you want a second tote?

    Yes, yes I do.
    Mr. Flute likes this.
  12. Hiddendragon

    Hiddendragon World coin collector

    This shows why coin buying is so different from a lot of other things. You would never go to the grocery store and be told they didn't have any coffee, but the next guy who comes in gets it because he's their buddy who has been coming in for years. But that's how coin shops operate. It definitely can pay off if they "know you." They'll give you deals they wouldn't normally give, show you stuff they don't show everyone, etc. I've benefitted from being on the right side of this myself and probably suffered from being on the wrong end of it. And what's ironic is if they just treated you better, you'd become a repeat customer and give them plenty of business, but they don't make you feel welcome so you probably won't keep going there.
    Mr. Flute likes this.
  13. Mr. Flute

    Mr. Flute Well-Known Member

    Reinforces my general experience(s) in this hobby. Some shops are good, some are bad, some have grumps that you just have to 'get to know', some have unredeemable a**holes, etc, etc.

    My 31 years of collecting and visiting shops and shows (and this thread) makes me often wonder if there is a way to 'do it right'.

    Can you run/operate a profitable (as in one could live comfortably off it) shop that meets the following general marketplace/customer needs - inviting, friendly, reasonable markups, diverse inventory that can turn overall regularly, etc, etc?

    Or is the market forever going to be mainly the purview of the types of people populating the various examples outlined in this thread?
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2021
  14. stldanceartist

    stldanceartist Minister of Silly Walks Supporter

    But what would you know,'re just a caveman! Coin shops and their shiny little pieces of metal frighten and confuse you...

    On a more serious note, yeah, I have been kind of wondering how to solve that problem myself. The single most common issue I've heard from dealers/shop owners is that finding new inventory is the hardest thing about running a shop.

    So, you need to have a physical store that's near enough to an area of population large enough to buy from you, you also have to consistently bring in new merchandise that satisfies a variety of collecting interests.

    From what I've observed, the two easiest things to sell are really high end collectible items (think MS-graded Morgan Dollars) and really dirt cheap items. What shops are consistently left with are the lower mid-range, "too good to sell at spot but not good enough that people want to pay more than spot" items. Problem coins. Low grade semi-keys, cleaned/damaged/fingerprinted BU coins, common dates in XF-AU where the book value is only a dollar or two. It's merchandise like that you ALWAYS see in a shop, because the shop owners haven't figured out a way to move it as quickly as the nice stuff or the cheap stuff, so it makes up a large portion of their inventory.

    So, do you outsource your buying around the country (say, hiring people in a variety of places to buy you new stuff?) and then bring it back to your physical location to sell? Or do you take a hint from retail chains and have multiple locations around the country, moving merchandise from a location where it isn't selling to one where it might? Your problem is going to be finding competent and trustworthy employees, maintaining speedy inventory control, and cutting down as much as you can with shipping costs. You need someone who's really, REALLY tech savvy to make sure you know what you actually have to sell, someone who can compile and interpret your sales data to make sure you're getting product where it will sell, and all sorts of other concerns I'm not listing right now - including finding a way to keep profitable in the midst of all these moving parts.

    I kind of wonder if a group of collectors from different areas could band together and put something together that would work better than the system of "dealing with grumpy old men" like you say.
    Mr. Flute likes this.
  15. rndnumismatic

    rndnumismatic New Member

    I have been thinking quite a bit about why that is, as it has been my experience as well (mostly NYC area, but not only). I think that "local coin dealer" business is hard to operate profitably these days, and that a lot of the grumpy coin shop owners know that all too well and are reminiscing about the good ole days. Sad, but they are probably not happy because they are not making much money, if any these days. So it is their emotions speaking, I think. :(

    However, we are all grown ups, and I am all for supporting small local businesses, but if they do not provide me with good customer care, they don't have my business, simple.:cigar: If local coin dealers want to survive and prosper, they better provide some value add to their customers, otherwise they will be extinct. Harsh, but this is how the world works. They can prolong it by playing "favorites" with some of their customers, hoard nicer pieces for them, do off the book cash transactions, etc., but the outcome will still be the same - either go out of business or provide great customer care, value add and adapt to changing market conditions.
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  16. rndnumismatic

    rndnumismatic New Member

    I predict that with the new regulations coming to eBay in 2022, with automatic reporting to IRS if your "income" from selling on eBay is over $600 (this limit used to be $20k), there should and will be an uptick in collectors selling locally. I recall that there was language to treat coins and antiquities as a special category, with much higher taxation than other items.

    Unfortunately, I do not see local coin dealers benefiting from this new regulation, but I think what we as collectors should do is do more of trade/ sell items locally and within some networks, like this forum, for example.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2021
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  17. mlov43

    mlov43 주화 수집가

    I wonder if any of these dealers would be willing to hire someone (like a world coin enthusiast such as yourself) to go through their world coin silver and other coins to catalog and assign pricing to them?

    My brother got a job at a coin shop specifically for the purpose of getting better at grading coins. He didn't get paid much, but he got first dibs on the stuff he liked and didn't have to pay the usual customer premium for those coins.

  18. stldanceartist

    stldanceartist Minister of Silly Walks Supporter

    I have TRIED and TRIED and TRIED to get hired at any coin shop. The best I've gotten was being given occasional worthwhile consignments (short term) and usually really, really terrible consignments (the coin shop owner literally saying to me "There's nothing valuable in here, get what you can get for it." And I still made them money.

    No, I specialize in world coins, die varieties, I do my own coin imaging and I'm familiar selling online in a number of different ways. I'm trustworthy, I show up early and I work hard and hate taking breaks...

    ...and yet I'm not directly related to anyone who owns a coin shop, and my political leanings (even though I refuse to bring stuff like that and religion up when I'm at work unless forced into the conversation) differ from most coin shop owners. So I'm completely unhirable. LCS back home would rather hire a high school kid with zero knowledge over me, as long as they align with their political views.

    (Just to be clear, I'm not stating what my political views are, or that mine are any better than others - just that mine differ from most coin shop owners and that's a problem for them.)

    That's the reality of it (from my perspective.) So I gave up even trying to get hired to do an honest day's work and resign myself to cherrypicking and sorting through junk bins and boxes of nothing for something that I on which can make a little money.
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  19. mlov43

    mlov43 주화 수집가

    That's really sad. But it rings true.

    Yeah, I've noticed a distinct insistence on the part of dealers that the people they bring into their orbit at their business be conversant in, and/or agreeable to, THEIR particular ideology, what ever that is.

    There also might be something else involved: I suspect (although I'm no clinical psychologist) that disagreeableness (part of the Big Five personality traits) is also a personality trait that, perhaps, many people in this particular area of small business have. Nothing wrong with disagreeableness, as men generally are higher in it than women, and it doesn't mean you're a bad person or anything like that. It's almost like they "know what they like, and like what they know." I think I'm mid-range in this area, myself. However, I'd NEVER want my employees to talk about politics, sexuality, or religion at work.

    Unless I was really backed into a corner, I'd always try to leave my employees and customers guessing as to what I think about things outside of my own knowledge of the business, the hobby, my sense of personal responsibility, work ethic, ethical practice, occasional generosity, and sense of fairness.

    Anyway, it's a real loss for those businesses that they wouldn't hire you...
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  20. mlov43

    mlov43 주화 수집가

    Oy vey... what the frickin' heck?

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  21. Hiddendragon

    Hiddendragon World coin collector

    I've thought of this but the problem is I'd want to buy them all!
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