Tell me what you like and don't like about coin shops....

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by BigTee44, Mar 22, 2019.

  1. BigTee44

    BigTee44 Well-Known Member

    If you've been in more than one coin shop you'll quickly see that all dealers operate their stores differently.

    I'm wondering what are some of the things you like about some of your favorite shops, and what are some things you don't enjoy about some of the shops you've visited?

    I'll start by saying I like coin shops that display the prices of the coins on the coin in the showcases. I hate looking at a bunch of coins asking how much is this 20 times only to hear high prices. Wasted time on both ends. I enjoy coin shops that do monthly auctions on specific items in their shop on a wall or board. I appreciate that some dealers will work with you on coins and let you put them away on a lay a away like program for 30 days or such. I'm not a fan of dealers telling you to go online to view their inventory instead of allowing you to view them in store. I like a dealer that isn't afraid to label a problem coin a problem. I like dealers that allow you to see the boxes that aren't in the showcases and are behind the counter.

    Feel free to chime in!
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  3. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    I agree with many of your pros and cons.

    Bid boards (monthly auctions) can be fun. One of my local stores still has one, but it's fairly weak nowadays. There used to be more material before, but with few bidders and thus low final prices, that quality and variety has really gone down now (it appears as most of the material now is made up of items the store can't sell but only discounts by a few dollars when putting it up for "auction").

    A big turn-off is when dealers won't acknowledge you. I've been to a few stores where it's just a few guys sitting in the back chatting and I had to go through a lot of effort before one of them comes up (grumbling) and finally quotes a price as if he's doing me a huge favor.

    Something that I really like is when a young collector comes into the store and the dealer makes an effort to engage with them (ask about coins, history, etc). It's cool to encourage the younger generation and have them leave the LCS with a positive experience.
  4. Santinidollar

    Santinidollar Supporter! Supporter

    I wish coin stores would clearly indicate their prices. Most stores and show dealers have it stuck on the back of the slab.
  5. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    I agree with that too.
    I have heard dealers make a decent point about not wanting to put prices. Usually it's to prevent criminals from knowing what the most valuable coins are. That is fair, but they could still price the inexpensive coins (pretty much anything under $100 should be labeled in my opinion).
    Ima Dragon likes this.
  6. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    That's probably true for some, but there are definitely some that don't put prices who seem to having "rolling" prices based off of how much they think you know
  7. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    That's true too.
    We can likely summarize the top 3 reasons for no prices as: laziness, rolling prices, and theft prevention.
    Ima Dragon likes this.
  8. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    I'd agree with that. Theft prevention seems like the weakest reason to me though. Granted a thief may not know that the 1812 large cent or something like that is one to target, but even a common thief knows gold is valuable. At the very least some sort of pricing sheet would be helpful. There's just simply far more effective theft prevention methods than not pricing things
  9. jtlee321

    jtlee321 Well-Known Member

    Very good topic! I have quite a few LCS around my parts and I am very fortunate to get a chance to visit them all as frequently as I can. My favorite, which is just 5 minutes from the house does pretty much everything positive. He actively engages with YN's and clearly prices his entire inventory. The one downside is that he does not always mark problem coins appropriately. I've have come across several coins that were cleaned, but not marked so. Most of the time they are easy to spot, others I have not noticed until I get home and view it under my desk lamp. He does make up for it in a way though. He allows me to return a coin that I find an issue with after I get home and never gives me any grief for it. Now thankfully it does not happen much, only 3 times in the last 5 years or so.

    The rest of the shops in the Portland area are typically friendly, some focus on bullion while a few others are more numismatically oriented. The bullion dealers don't usually have any prices marked and the numismatic shops do price their inventory. The dealers with prices marked are usually good at negotiating.
  10. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball Cannot Re-Member

    For me, it's very easy. There are no decent coin shops in my area!

  11. dwhiz

    dwhiz Collector Supporter

    I stopped going to coin shops. Most are just bullion dealers.
    LA_Geezer, wxcoin and Libertyron like this.
  12. ToughCOINS

    ToughCOINS Dealer Member Moderator

    I am guilty of this, mostly on bullion-related coins for which the value can swing wildly in the marketplace, but also on expensive non-bullion-related coins because my inventory spends so much time in the bank where I cannot conveniently make real-time pricing changes when market pricing changes.
    Santinidollar and -jeffB like this.
  13. -jeffB

    -jeffB Greshams LEO Supporter

    Here's one I didn't like: walking into a store that was thick with cigarette smoke. In 2012. o_O
    Sunflower_Coins likes this.
  14. Chiefbullsit

    Chiefbullsit CRAZY HORSE

    Our dealer passed away so I haven't been to a coin shop in 20 years. I always enjoyed the shops I went to though. They were always friendly and helpful, I miss them.

    So, I guess eBay is my coin shop now, enough said.
  15. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    There was a time when I used to wish the same thing. And from a buyers perspective it's easy to understand why one would wish that. But how many of us have ever considered the dealer's perspective ?

    You mention about it being stuck on the back of the slab. And while it's true that some dealers do put the actual price on the back, what far more of them do is put a code on the back, their own code and one that only they can read and understand. And what that code tells them is what they paid for the coin, and when they bought it. And there is a very valid reason for that, a couple of them even.

    For one coin prices change, and they change far more often, (shorter periods of time), and move up and down far more than most people realize. And they do this because that's the way the electronic dealer market works - bids and asks change every day. And the electronic dealer market is what defines current prices more than any other factor, and often more than all other factors combined.

    So, imagine this, you put actual prices on all your coins. But a week, 2 weeks, maybe a month, later the price has moved up or down say 20% - are you going to leave that price you put on it unchanged ? Undoubtedly some will, but also undoubtedly many will not, they will change the price to more accurately reflect the actual current price. They do this because there's little sense in leaving 20% on the table, and there is also little sense in trying to sell something for more than it's really worth. So changing the price makes sense.

    But then you also have to consider that time is money, and if the dealer has to spend time changing the prices on his coins all the time - he's not making any money doing that. All he's doing is driving his profit margin down because it's time wasted. And so to pay for that time he has to mark his prices up, at least a little.

    There's also a second reason for using a code and not a fixed price label. In order to make money dealers have to turn their inventory over. In other words, they can't afford to have their money tied up in a coin that sits on the shelf for months and months, or maybe even well over a year. They need to sell that coin and sell it soon, so they can use that money to buy another and then sell it. That is the name of the game - that is the business they are in.

    So every so often a dealer will go through his inventory and read his codes, and he knows how long he's had that coin, sitting there, not being sold. So he makes a mental note and tells himself - I gotta get rid of this thing ! So the next person that shows an interest in the coin - he marks the price down, in his head, but marks it down just to get rid of it - to get that coin out of his inventory. It's the same practice that all businesses utilize, it's called a sale. And they all do it to get rid of inventory so they can buy new inventory. It's far better to make only a little, break even, or even sell at a loss, so you can buy something else that you can money on ! That's just good business.

    So the next time you go into a dealer's shop or are at a show and there are no price labels on the coins - think about why there aren't. And think about this too, not having them there might be, and often is, saving you the buyer money.

    Good dealers, trusted and respected dealers - they know all these things. And what's more they practice them. They know who butters their bread, their customers. And they know they have to take care of those people. And they got to be trusted and respected because they do practice those things.

    And yeah, there's the other guys out there too. The ones who are looking for every way they can find to take advantage of you. The ones who are asking double what another guy is asking. But those dealers, they're not the trusted and respected dealers. And they do the things they do, they take advantage, because that's the only way they can survive.
  16. ldhair

    ldhair Clean Supporter

    I enjoy a shop that's friendly. My favorite was this little old guy who could make friends with a mad dog. His shop became a meeting spot for a lot of folks in the hobby. It was like a party every time you walked in the door. Everyone that came in, got a greeting.

    The shop had a lot of large display cases with bar stools in front. They would show you as many boxes as you had the time to look at. All the coins in the cases were priced. The coins in boxes could be more or less than what it was priced.
    There was so much inventory, it was a cherrypickers dream.

    They also had a really large library that you could use in the shop and they would order you almost any book you wanted.
  17. Trish

    Trish Supporter! Supporter

    I like going to antique shops that have a ton of booths from different vendor/collectors, usually there is only one small area for coins SO I wish there was a coin store that did just that, only for coins-had different collectors/sellers selling coins in their display section of the store and the prices are clearly marked, but it's manned by the store owners and the store owner's know how much each collector is willing to reduce price (ie 5-10% based on time in the store). The selection would be varied and interesting. There would be contests and educational sessions. I don't know if that exists as a brick and mortar place but I can wish...
    genXmetalfan and BigTee44 like this.
  18. Ima Dragon

    Ima Dragon Year of the Dragon

    I'll tell ya my biggest problem with visiting Coin Shops is "Leaving without all those Wonderful Coins" .
    My favorite shop is a small hole-in-the-wall store in Montana . I was a newbie the first time I went there and they were patient and friendly . I noticed the 2x2 & flips had several price adjustments , come to find it was because of market fluctuations and , you mark out the price or change the holders .
    I personally prefer to have the prices clearly marked so I might determine whether or not to engage the seller/dealer in conversation .
    Trish likes this.
  19. Joshua Lemons

    Joshua Lemons Member

    My critisism of the only local shop near me is they deal primarily in bullion. Many items aren't priced and they always have someone in there trying to sell their rings, scrap, etc. So it often takes a while to get what you need. But, they do have a cool dog at the shop to pet!
    genXmetalfan and BigTee44 like this.
  20. ewomack

    ewomack Senior Member Supporter

    Though I haven't visited a local coin shop for quite some time now, the vast majority of them in my area have execrable customer service. By this I mean the dealers, or whatever people came up behind the counter, were just consistently rude and dismissive. It made the entire experience exhausting and frustrating.

    If I asked to look at another book or binder I would hear a large groan. If I asked for something specific I would hear a large groan. If I asked them to open a case I would hear a large groan. Pretty much anything except "I'll buy this" was met with a large groan. The last time I visited one specific shop I decided not to buy anything out of principle and I haven't returned. And I have purchased gold from this shop in the past, so I'm not exactly buying things from the bargain bin and wasting their time with piddly questions about 10 cent coins.

    I don't expect to get waited on as though I'm a customer at Tiffany's or attending a spa or anything like that, but a little interaction or conversation would go a long way towards making me spend more money. Now staying home and clicking on internet links is more fun and less demoralizing, but also a lot less social.

    One thing I do love about every coin shop, despite the level of treatment I receive, is the smell. Only coin shops seem to have that particular metallic smell that probably triggers the pleasure centers in my brain. Sometimes it's worth going in just to experience that unique odor.
    Ima Dragon and Trish like this.
  21. wxcoin

    wxcoin Getting no respect for 63 years

    I haven't frequented coin shops very often while collecting. When I was a teenager I didn't feel welcome as the local dealer probably knew I didn't have much money to spend; at least that's how I felt then. I personally like the nearest dealer to where I've retired to. My biggest gripe with his shop is the clutter and lack of what I'm interested in; the later isn't his fault.

    As mentioned earlier, I would like to see prices but realize that market changes makes that unreasonable. I've felt comfortable making a counter offer when given a price. I feel that if I'm buying something I should have a good idea of what a coin is worth and what I want to spend before I go to the shop. If something I wasn't looking for catches my eye I'll look on my smart phone for values. Have I overpaid? Yes, but usually for a coin with exceptional luster and eye appeal.
    Ima Dragon likes this.
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