This month I am writing about coin shows past and present. It used to be that the main way for coin collectors to obtain coins for their collections was finding them in circulation, attending coin club meetings, mail order from dealers advertising in coin publications and attending coin shows.
Coin shows used to be extremely active with collectors who would come from long distances to find treasures for their collections. With the internet, many collectors choose to buy their coins through that method and coin shows have far fewer public attendees.
Interestingly, a huge amount of business being done at coin shows is dealer to dealer trading. A common question from the public is “how can dealers constantly trade amongst themselves and most of them still make money?”
One of the main reasons is the diversity of United States Coins. There are many denominations, designs, varieties, striking characteristics, grades, mintages, etc. Also, throughout the diverse history of U. S. coins, there have been many historical events that vastly altered the availability of certain coins beyond just how many were minted.
I have been a coin collector and/or dealer of coins since I was 6 years old. I have been a full-time dealer for 39 years. In all that time I never met a coin dealer that at some point in their life didn’t collect coins. Having said that, all coin dealers are collectors at heart. Being a coin dealer affords him or her to own coins of all types even if it is just for a short period of time.
With the vast amount of different types of U.S. coins, it is nearly impossible for any dealer to be an expert on many of them let alone all of them. This opens the door for endless “cherry picking” opportunities between dealers.
Through various channels, many dealers end up with inventory that they are not that familiar with or do not have customers for. Also, even though dealers are technically competitors, there is an amazing comradery amongst them. So, unless a dealer has other better sources to sell his or her coins, it is very common for dealers to give a fellow dealer a break on the prices of a coin or coins so the buyer has some room to make some money. In most cases this a reciprocal practice among a vast majority of dealers.
Coin shows are an amazing free market venue. After being in this business for nearly 40 years it is always exciting for me to go to a coin show not knowing what treasures I might find. That’s the collector in me.
Stay tuned next month for more “Did You Know?” stories.
Kind regards and come on Spring!
Christopher’s Fine Jewelry and Rare Coins