What makes the market so active, so widespread and so appealing to
millions of enthusiasts worldwide?
Certification of coins, especially by Professional Coin Grading
Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corp., has added a comfort level for
many buyers who otherwise would need to study about coin grades,
counterfeits and the like. It also makes life easier for dealers, in
that few people complain about what a certification service says about
the grade. Earlier, endless debate ensued when individual sellers
Precious metals are another arrow in the quiver of market success.
With all of the worldwide political unrest and economic changes, many
people of means desire to have part of their investment in gold and
silver. And, what better way is there to do it than buying some of the
U.S. Mint’s American Eagle silver and gold bullion coins?
Each has 1 troy ounce of metal. These are available in Mint State
or (for a premium) Proof finishes. The spread between buying and
selling is low. The U.S. Mint imprimatur is a guarantee against
lightweight or counterfeit coins.
Another arrow is the Internet. From the comfort of your favorite
armchair you can press a few keys and bid in real time in a coin
auction, or check price quotes, or shop around to your heart’s
content. There is a caveat, however, in that a large number of
uncertified coins are fakes — and a false coin is not a bargain at any price.
“Choice Uncirculated” is apt to have little meaning if a coin is
not certified. If you bid or buy online, stick to certified coins
offered by professional numismatists whose reputation you can check.
Clubs and societies are yet another “arrow.” Belonging to an
active society that holds yearly meetings, publishes newsletters or
magazines, and provides current news and information can be exciting.
Among such groups are Early American Coppers, the Liberty Seated
Collectors Club, the Colonial Coin Collectors Club and a few others.
Waiting in the wings, hopefully, are some societies that don’t do much
with the Internet and suffer accordingly (at least that’s my opinion).
The American Numismatic Association, founded in 1891, is the
world’s largest “coin club.” Its journal, The Numismatist, is chock
full of information. The American Numismatic Society, founded in 1858,
is a more scholarly organization and is more devoted to ancient and
classical coins than to the word “American” in its name; it is a great
organization and is well worth investigating.
Q. David Bowers is chairman emeritus of Stack’s Bowers Galleries
director of Whitman Publishing LLC.
can be reached at his private email,
email@example.com, or at
Q. David Bowers LLC, Box
Wolfeboro, NH 03894.