Coin forums and social media sites can be useful
No one would dispute the fact that the internet has changed numismatics in numerous ways. It allows collectors to view the stock of countless dealers with high resolution images in most cases; it vastly expands the role of coin auctions, creating numerous online-only auctions, such as those of Great Collections and enabling those who could not attend auctions in person to view coins and bid on them; and it brings a wealth of knowledge to the fingertips of collectors, from back issues of periodicals to coin news websites, and sites about grading, specific coin series, new issues, and so forth.
In addition, coin forums, where buyers exchange opinions and information, and social media coin groups, through platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, have also proliferated over the years. In some cases, these platforms allow participants to buy, sell, and trade coins with each other.
At the same time, as with all things online, one must always exercise caution and common sense, especially when doing business with people you do not know. And as for information that you only find on a forum or social media group, it is a good idea to look for some other sources, such as mainstream numismatic websites and publications, for confirmation in case the information is not accurate.
On Facebook, for example, members of a group called “Silver and Gold Coin Collectors/ Stackers/ Numismatics,” post articles and information about precious metals market issues and coins, ask each other questions, and offer advice and tips. And other similar groups allow you to purchase coins from other members, or participate in raffles to win free coins by guessing the spot price of silver on a certain day.
As for coin forums, the list is huge, but some of the more well-known ones are the PCGS message boards, NGC chat boards, Silverstackers (useful with world coins in particular), Mint News Blog and World Mint News Blog, and the Modern Coin Forum sponsored by Modern Coin Mart, which has sections on all numismatic topics. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a founding member of the MCM forum.
Over the years, I have found these forums very useful as a window into the hobby at the ground level, and I enjoy the discussions, as long as they don’t stray too far into non-numismatic issues (especially politics). Some very knowledgeable collectors participate on these sites, offering tips and advice, or just share their collecting experiences and frustrations, such as problems they perceive at the U.S. Mint or within the hobby, or where they see precious metals headed. Whether you are new or experienced, you are likely to benefit.
The diversity of viewpoints and information on these sites hugely enriches our hobby, but don’t forget that some of what you read might not be correct, complete, or verified, or it could be just a rumor. And as with doing business with a new dealer, be careful when doing business directly with someone new; for example, deal with those with whom you may have a common connection, or find out more about them before exchanging money.
By following these common-sense steps, you can add a lot of enjoyment to your hobby with these sites and forums.