Why do dealers touch the coins?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Pilkenton, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. Pilkenton

    Pilkenton almost uncirculated

    We are taught never to touch our coins with our bare hands. I have seen many dealers pick up coins with their bare hands. I had my eye on a certain coin my local dealer had. I took three very nice Morgans in flip holders to him for trade. He seemed interested. He got out his felt board and laid it on the counter. Then he took the Morgans out of the flips with his bare fingers, held them in his hand to examine them with his loupe, then put them on the felt. He then took the coin I wanted out of the flip with his bare fingers and laid it on the felt. After all that he declined my offer and picked up all the coins with his bare fingers and put them back in their slips. When I asked him about that he said he knew what he was doing. I have seen other dealers handling coins with their bare hands.

    What's up with that? I thought dealers would handle coins the right way. A few years ago I bought a Maple Leaf from another dealer. He had a tube full of them. He poured them into his bare hand and told me to choose. He then took the one I wanted with his bare fingers and picked it out for me. Needless to say there were fingerprints on the coin that never came off,
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  3. Mr. Flute

    Mr. Flute Well-Known Member

    Touching a circulated coin (xf or less, generally) isn't going to do any real damage. Now, au/unc+ coins then, yes, they should be held with cotton gloved hands or by the rims with bare hands.

    As for the "uncirculated" bullion maple leaf...depends on you intent...if it's just for bullion collecting then rim holding isn't critical. If it's for numismatic collecting, then rim holding should be the sop.
  4. coleguy

    coleguy Coin Collector

    If he was touching them properly and holding them by the edge, then there is nothing to worry about. Graders don't wear gloves and handle coins unprotected every day.
  5. Pilkenton

    Pilkenton almost uncirculated

    These guys were manhandling the coins. They weren't doing it the right way.
  6. jaytant

    jaytant Member

    I had that happen to me once with a 1996 uncirculated bullion silver eagle in a plastic flip. It was in great shape (68 or 69), he took it out, appraised it and put his prints on it. I was mad - what is bullion for him, was numismatic for me - and I thought he should have been more careful. He said the glare off the flips forces him to take it out. Next time I went I took coins in a stapled cardboard 2x2. He didn't take those out. I've never yet seen anyone removing coins from those - so maybe its an idea for the future.
  7. Pilkenton

    Pilkenton almost uncirculated

    Even if they were common or bullion, they should be handled with care. Not all of us can afford the pristine stuff, but we want our coins to look good.
  8. ctrl

    ctrl Member

    I brought a seated liberty dime into a local dealer once, he was interested in it and asked to take it out of the airtite, no problem I said. He said he thought something wasn't right (it was just a common, XFish grade one), weighed it, flipped it a few times in his fingers, touching the faces, and then dropped it a couple of times on the glass countertop to hear the ring.
  9. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    I was with him until "dropped it on the glass countertop to hear the ring". Someone drops my coin repeatedly without my permission and its on.....

    If you need to drop a coin to verify authenticity then I don't think you really know what you are doing. :(

    To the OP if he was handling your Morgans by the edge no harm done. As for the bullion stuff, maybe he just figures those sales are going to bullion buyers. If lack of fingerprints are a concern for you, I would not buy from him if they have fingerprints and let him knwo why you believe his coins are defective. The best way to teach a seller is to not buy from him, and let him know why.
  10. coleguy

    coleguy Coin Collector

    Next time they do that I'd ask to see one of their best non-slabbed coins, then I'd do what they did. Maybe they'll see they error of their ways.
  11. quartertapper

    quartertapper Numismatist

    The way a dealer handles a coin reflects two things in my eyes. First it shows his expertise in numismatics, or lack of for that matter. Second, it shows whether they are a collector and are passionate about coins, or are just selling them. Either way it is wrong handling someone else's coins in an improper manner.
  12. beef1020

    beef1020 Junior Member

    I handle all my coins, I just don't think it's that big of a deal. Bullion is collected for it's metal content so I don't think you can complain about a dealer touching it. These coins are not putty, they will not scratch if you look at them wrong. If you don't like what the dealer did say so and don't do business with him.

    As to the comment about what it reflects on a dealer... Um, I guess it's safe to say you don't collect large cents. Almost every respected dealer does this. In fact, there are a couple big time early copper dealer, who by the way also have large personal collections of CC level early dates, that handles coins. Now, they does not flip them, or tap them on the counter, but they do handle them.
  13. BooksB4Coins

    BooksB4Coins Newbieus Sempiterna

    Maybe you should have asked "why do SOME dealers touch the coins".

    I agree that all dealers should be respectful of coins belonging to others, regardless of value, but it was your responsibility to speak up if uncomfortable with his treatment of your coins. Dealers are like snowflakes.. everyone is different. Keep in mind that for most this is a business and not a passion or hobby. If that dealer took the time to put on gloves and handle each and every coin that walked into his shop with absolute care, he might as well close up shop. Your Morgans may have been very nice, but how nice? Premiums on common unc Morgans have evaporated fast and in many cases a dealer will have to look at such coins more for their silver value than any numismatic. If you have ever had someone bring you a bag/album/whatever full of coins expecting you to carefully examine each and every one, maybe his actions would make more sense. Its a business and time is money. If you take your car to a mechanic who is rough with it, do you keep quiet? Of course not, so why do just that with your coins.
  14. icerain

    icerain Mastir spellyr Supporter

    Handling coins properly barehanded is fine but to touch the surface and drop it is something else. I would have asked the dealer why he was touching MY coin with his fingers if it was done improperly.

    Like others have said, tell him that you don't like the way he is handling your coins. If he has a problem with it take your money and coins to someone who knows what they're doing.
  15. Clint

    Clint Member

    Wow, I would be upset, too. If he wasn't serious about the coins, they should have stayed in the flips. Neither of the shops I go to have taken coins of that nature out of the flips, nor even asked me if they could. I would expect to be asked, and then certainly not to treat my stuff so rudely. Sounds like something a sheer novice would do. I'd find a better place to do business, if possible, since either (a) he doesn't know what he's doing, and who'd want to do business there? or (b) he has little respect for you. Boo!
  16. quartertapper

    quartertapper Numismatist

    I partially agree with you. But in all honesty, any reputable dealer should know how to properly handle any given coin. One would assume if the guy has $500,000 worth of inventory sitting behind glass, he would know how to handle merchandise whether it is his own or not. Yes, I would speak up. But it would be the only time I would ever have to in that establishment. If he/she is smart enough to grade and appraise a coin, he/she should know the rest of the routine.
  17. Danr

    Danr Numismatist

    At a show I saw a dealer take a raw 1940's proof quarter out of the flip and he dropped in on the ground. When he took it out of the flip I knew he was asking for trouble.
  18. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector


    Attached Files:

  19. snapsalot

    snapsalot Member

    Damn thats cool looking Randy.

    Also I have a different view then the OP on touching coins with bare hands. Lots of people do it including places like PCGS and NGC. I do it all the time, those silly little white gloves don't even fit my hands lol. Just hold a coin on the sides and no harm shall come to it.
  20. Bart9349

    Bart9349 Junior Member

  21. Pilkenton

    Pilkenton almost uncirculated

    You think out of the thousands of coins they grade, the guys at PCGS would accidentally have a coin slip out of their hand every once in a while and grab the coins the wrong way.
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