Post regarding a rip-off coin dealer

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by mac266, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. mac266

    mac266 Well-Known Member

    No, this isn't my own story. On the contrary, I recently read a post on this forum which was a response to someone else's thread. The responder wrote about having seen a coin dealer rip someone off. I recall how the writer described a woman bringing in a small collection of coins, admitting she knew nothing about them, and how the dealer lied to her and paid an average of $10 per coin for them when they were significantly more valuable. The dealer then held up a rarity and bragged that was how he kept a "hot wife" at home.

    For the life of me, I cannot find this post on the forums again. I know it's here somewhere, but I don't remember who posted the story or what it was in response to.

    Would someone mind posting a link or the title of the thread? I would like to save a screen shot to use in my presentation to Boy Scouts for their merit badge.
    FooFighter, Stevearino and Amos 811 like this.
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  3. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

  4. Cascade

    Cascade The Blind VAMmer

    You're a scout leader mac? I was a boy scout. Fond memories of always selling the most stuff, building boats for regattas, doing stuff for badges, etc. Oh and the jamborees, those were always the highlight events. I have some old memorabilia from troop 51 which was the reformation of the very first troop 1 that disbanded for ww1 and came back as troop 51.

    I like your outside the box thinking but I suggest getting approval from the op of that story as a courtesy ;)
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  5. Copper56

    Copper56 Active Member

    It was me. True story. Use it as you wish, pro or con.

    "Cherry picking from dealers is what we go to shows to do. It makes no difference to me what someone pays for an item. If you paid $20 dollars and are offering it to me for $1000 my only concern is that is it worth 1K or more to me. Everyone wants to "steal" a coin to add to his collection or inventory, that's just nature. Also, everyone has a different idea of what it takes to steal something. A hard to find coin bought 20% back of bid is a steal to most collectors. Yet, there are times I have bought a seriously hard variety from a dealer for bid, or even ask or more, and I felt that I truly "ripped" the coin.

    If you are concerned about getting "ripped off" when offering coins to a dealer, then you should educate yourself before offering them. But make no mistake, dealers are not in the business to swap money. They are there to make a living. Don't expect to get all a coin is worth when selling it. If it bothers you so much then buy a table and become a dealer. It may open your eyes.

    Now, for the dark side. I had gone into a shop and was looking at some coins when a lady came in with some large cents to sell. She told the dealer that her dad had always collected them and, although he had tried to get her interested in them it was just to hard to understand. She thought some of them were rare and worth a lot of money and would he guide her as to those better coins. The dealer looked them over and told her that her dad must have already sold the good ones because none of these were of any consequence. He paid her an average of less than $10 each for them, and she was on her way somewhat disappointed. After she had walked out the dealer almost did back-flips with excitement. Not being able to hold his excitement any longer, and not even knowing me, he held up a 1793 chain cent that was likely in true VF condition and told me that is how he is "able to keep a young, hot wife"!

    I pushed the coins I was about to buy back to him and walked out.. never to return.
    (I can also give examples where I observed dealers paying more than the uninformed seller was asking.)

    Don't get hung up on words. You must realize that we were all raised different and we react differently to things.. and, that we are all here together and should try to understand that when we enter someones domain that we are not familiar with that we should try to learn if we want to participate. You will never be happy if you expect everyone else to conform to only the language you are comfortable with.

    There are plenty of dealers more than willing to help you, to educate you, if you are willing to learn"
  6. mac266

    mac266 Well-Known Member

    Thanks Copper!
  7. mac266

    mac266 Well-Known Member

    Yep, former Scout, and present Scouter!
  8. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    I would have called the police. In many jurisdictions this is felony theft. A dealer has a higher responsibility than a collector. If they knowing scam an unsuspecting member of the public like that, (paying $10 for a $50,000 coin), its classified as felony theft and he can lose his business license, face civil fines and criminal penalties.

    When I was young, I was in a coin store when the local police detective came in. He wanted to run a sting on "gold buyers". I volunteered to go in. I went in with a bunch of common morgans and a VG 1893 S. I got them all arrested when they only offered me common morgan prices when clearly they looked long and hard at the 1893 S and knew what it was.

    Hey, I get how hard it is for dealers. THey have to deal with the stupid public who think every coin is valuable, watch for fakes, and make a living. However, paying .02 percent of what a coin is worth is not business, its a felony in most places.
  9. Cascade

    Cascade The Blind VAMmer

    Good luck proving that they "knowingly" perpetrated a scam at the time of purchase though... That's the rub
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  10. Kasia

    Kasia Got my learning hat on

    Medoraman, I would think it would be difficult to get the police to do anything once that was done. But if you saw something like that happen, was able to talk to the police and convince them that this was likely common for this guy, that they might want to do a sting operation. Unfortunately, after the fact, it could end up just being a he said she said type situation, that the police want nothing to do with because it's too difficult to prove or prosecute on.
    buckeye73 and spirityoda like this.
  11. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Maybe, but if there was a witness and the dealer could not prove he paid the customer more I think there would be a strong case. Unfortunately you are right if there not had been a witness.
    Stevearino likes this.
  12. frech001

    frech001 New but Old

    I had a similar experience in a coin shop. I observed an elderly lady bring in several boxes of coins in holders from her late husband's collection. She had several hundred Indian head cents in 2x2s along with many other coins including some gold and silver. The dealer paid her melt price for the gold and silver and 10 cents apiece for the Indian Head cents without really even looking at them. After she left, I asked to look through the IHCs and found one I wanted. There were quite a few nice higher value and key date pennies in the lot. The dealer took out his coin price list and offered it to me for $75.00. I told him that he just paid 10 cents for it and offered him half his asking price, which he sheepishly accepted. If I had been better informed about coin dealer laws at the time I would have contacted the authorities. This kind of dishonesty and greed is what is destroying our hobby, and for that matter our society. I've examined and cataloged several collections for people and priced them based on current NGC and eBay listings, given the inventory to the sellers with prices and suggested they could take them to a dealer with this information and bargain. If more of us helped others in this way I think it would help the hobby. You might also have an opportunity to pick up some nice coins for a fair price.
    dragondance and longarm like this.
  13. SuperDave

    SuperDave Free the Cartwheels!

    Obviously it's not "destroying the hobby," as it hasn't changed since there were coin dealers, nor is the practice limited to numismatics. We're only arguing a moral scale, unless your way of doing things means you never cherrypick.
    green18 likes this.
  14. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    Society maybe, but like mentioned this is nothing new in the hobby or even society. If anything is it just another reason when actual shops are closing and internet business/auctions are taking a greater percentage of sales.
  15. Blissskr

    Blissskr Well-Known Member

    A dealer misrepresenting to someone trying to sell them a coin that it's not worth anything when it is substantially more valuable could be charged with theft by deception. It's really not that hard to prove if the sale is documented as it should be. Say the dealer buys the coin for $10 gives the customer a receipt for the sale notating exactly what items were transacted and then turns around and lists that coin in his case or online at wxyz amount. The hard part is it actually getting reported.

    I used to deal with theft by deception all the time as anytime someone passed a bad check in one of my districts stores and wouldn't resolve it we'd get the local P.D. involved and they'd eventually end up getting charged for it. Basically lying, given someone a false representation of something and knowingly doing so in order to deprive them of their property could get you in trouble. It'd be even easier where one was in a position where one could be considered an expert over another and I'm pretty sure that being the owner operator of a coin shop whose daily business is in numismatics is enough to qualify one as an expert in the eyes of the law over an average citizen.

    All that being said the real problem is that this stuff generally goes unreported and thus continues. The dealers out there doing it, it just becomes their normal mode of operation. I'd be willing to bet more dealers than one would think would try it on people they believe unsuspecting. Want to test it? Send an older or younger family member into a shop you frequent with some valuable coins with the story of 'inherited or left from deceased spouse' etc and see how much the dealer actually offers to pay an 'uninformed' party to purchase what they brought in.
    Chuck_A, FooFighter and medoraman like this.
  16. kaosleeroy108

    kaosleeroy108 The Mahayana Tea Shop & hobby center

    wow deception is bad
  17. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Excellent idea actually. I have "tested" new dealers occasionally by pretending to have inherited some coins, and see what their reaction is. Unfortunately its usually not good. If they even identify a $1000 coin out of the pile, I usually get a $50-100 offer for a whole pile of coins, with a retail value of maybe $3000. I even had one dealer, when I pointed out a Bowers flip to him, asking me if this was a good dealer, tell me, "they were a bunch of crooks that got run out of the business". :(

    I love dealers in this hobby, and know everyone has to earn a living, but unfortunately this hobby has always been populated with numerous crooks masquerading as dealers. Best advice? Knowledge. When you are gone, it is IMPERATIVE for you to leave good instructions to your heirs on how to liquidate your collection. I have a note in my SDB telling my wife or kids which coins to send to which dealers, along with contact information. Nothing sadder than a lifelong hobby being liquidated at 2 cents on the dollar by heirs selling to a crooked dealer.
  18. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    Problem is that receipt almost certainly didn't say "1793 chain cent in VF" it probably read something like "50 large cents @ $10 each"
    Chuck_A and afantiques like this.
  19. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    Problem is that receipt almost certainly didn't say "1793 chain cent in VF" it probably read something like "50 large cents @ $10 each"
  20. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    Sorry computer is stuttering.
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  21. dltsrq

    dltsrq Active Member

    ...then as soon as the lady left the shop, she ordered up several more "collections" from her supplier in China for $1 per coin and hightailed on the next town :D
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
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