Readers seek advice, reassurance on a wide range of hobby topics

?An important part of the job for Coin World’s editorial staff is interacting with the collecting public. While on occasion we can do so in person at conventions like the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money, in progress while I write these words, most of our interaction occurs over the telephone or via email. Still, we can learn a lot from you in these exchanges.

Take, for example, a phone call from a reader about senior editor Jeff Starck’s recent article that referenced Kurdistan. The caller, who was very pleasant, wanted to point out that no independent nation called Kurdistan exists. When I edited that story, I should have made a revision to clarify the point in the article.

After we discussed this topic, the caller then asked several questions, including seeking advice on what was the best auction house to which to consign his collection. I noted at the beginning of our conversation that it is inappropriate for editorial staff members to recommend one auction firm or dealer or grading service over a rival. But I was able to discuss the topic in general terms, offering some basic advice. All in all, it was a pleasant 22-minute conversation and we both learned from the exchange.

Another recent exchange came via email from a reader who wanted to know what safeguards, if any, are in place at grading services to ensure that coins are not switched for inferior examples by the graders or support staff opening customer mail. It appears that this collector did not have much experience, if any, working with a grading service.

This is a question I get periodically, and while I cannot speak about specific procedures practiced by all of the firms, I rush to reassure readers that grading services are trusted by professionals to grade coins worth thousands, tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars. I add that it is unlikely that a professional authenticator or grader would risk their professional reputation or livelihood over a customer’s $100 or $200 coin (most callers on this topic are considering submitting coins of generally low value, though of importance to their owners, of course). All of us in the hobby are security conscious, naturally, so the reader’s apprehension is understandable.

Another caller had been contacted by a firm wanting to sell him a recent Uncirculated American Eagle 1-ounce gold coin graded Mint State 70 at a price that was well above our price guide values. The firm, according to the caller, was stressing the mintage as being less than 8,000 coins. I explained to the caller that this was not an unusual mintage for coins of recent vintage. And while I couldn’t tell the reader what he should do, I was able to get him thinking about what steps he could take to determine whether a deal offered him was a good one.

We are always happy to talk with our readers, so don’t hesitate to call me at 937-498-0853