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Bargaining on coins (great topic!)

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paul1980 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 07 Oct 2006 at 9:03am
What techniques (if any) can I used to bargain with dealers to get the coins I want at the prices I want? I seek primarily US half cents (all types),  large Cents (all types) Bust coinage, and Seated Liberty coinage. I am very picky about imperfections and prefer coins in the VG to EF range.
 
How about if I offer cash or a written check on the spot? How much are most dealers willing to deduct on the coins I am looking for? I know there are exeptions to every rule, such as if the dealer is having a good day or not, but what are the general rules of thumb?
 
How much can you counter-offer on a quality coin in the $50-$200 range? (5%, 10%, 15%....?????) Should I first ask how he prices his coin and accept whatever he offers when I see he is using Greysheet?
 
Naturally, I want to get the best deal I can, but at the same time I do not want to offend the coin dealer or lead him to believe I am trying to rip him off or waste his time.


Edited by paul1980 - 07 Oct 2006 at 9:50am
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silverhawk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote silverhawk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2006 at 9:35am
Some dealers themselves do not get good deals, therefore may have limits on how low they can go. My best recommendation is to get to know several key dealers in these series very well. Send more of your businesss to them, get to be friends, and deals will emerge. They will actually look out for you. 
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paul1980 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paul1980 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2006 at 10:32am
What about coin shows? When I attend a coin show, I may be visiting with a dealer from another town or state and obviously have never had a chance to develop a relationship with him/her. The same applies to visiting a new coin shop while out of town.
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silverhawk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote silverhawk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2006 at 12:19pm
#1. Carry a greysheet with you.
#2. Know what a fair price is for the coin (try to already know this, research before offering even if in the aisle).
#3. Ask for their best price. "What's your best price"
#4. You can ask would you take $___, but it better be a fair counter-offer
#5. Decide
 
Dealers do not do extensive haggling, so you need to be informed and confident and reasonable and polite.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote silverhawk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2006 at 12:22pm
Oh, cash is King.
 
and, coin margins are slim, generally speaking, so its not like the guy paid $50 for a $200 coin. More like he paid $175 for a 200 coin. (some guys overprice their stuff, though. So always check greysheet).
 
Example:
 
Coin is priced at $300
Greysheet says it should be $275 (ask price)
His best price is $290
Offer $275
 
{see what happens}
 
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reardon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote reardon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2006 at 12:59pm
I go but the basic rule that has been established by the "GREY SHEET."
 
 
Their is also the General Spead;
 
1. Wholesale Price
 
2. Low Price
 
3. Median Price
 
4. The Dreaded Retail Price
 
When I shop around I usually settle for the price between 2 and 3. However if I am truly enamored by the coin I will move to between 3 an 4.
 
You should not have to PAY 4 unless you are in Florida and are buying Gold Escudos from a Tourist Shop.LOL
 
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paul1980 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paul1980 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2006 at 2:26pm
What is 'retail price'? Is the in reference to the Red Book, Greysheet Ask, the PCGS price guide, or some other guide?
 
Is the red book typically much higher than Greysheet?
 
I was looking at an raw 1851 half cent graded AU (possibly an EF-45) with no flaws for $150. I was told this was the Greysheet price while my 2006 Redbook read $135 in AU and $85 for an EF. I expected Greysheet to be a bit lower than this. Maybe prices just rose since last year.
 
I was reluctant to offer him $135 for his $150 coin and passed. If it was PCGS or NGC certified AU, I probably would not let $15 sway my decision so so heavily, but I did not want to risk paying AU money to find later it is only an EF-40 or 45 and did not have a photograde available.
 
Back to my original question, what is 'retail'?


Edited by paul1980 - 07 Oct 2006 at 2:35pm
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silverhawk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote silverhawk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2006 at 10:05pm
Retail is anywhere from Greysheet ask to the highest advertised price. There can be wide variations in retail. The coin market is a collectibles market and is NOT AT ALL like a real retail environment where Target and Wal-Mart is battling it out over $0.05 cents profit.
 
Coins are hard to find.
Coins are subjectively beautiful.
Coins vary widely in strike quality, tone, rarity. and eye appeal.
 
Therefore retail is a fairly wide range of accetepable prices usually over and much over greysheet Ask.
 
I recently read Q David Bowers (QDB) book on collecting and investing in coins. He had some good points. He would pay "strong money" (high) for a well struck lustrous appealing coin all day. SO, it is not about getting the lowest PRICE for a certain type of coin, it is about getting a very good price for a GREAT coin in the grade you can afford. Be picky. Don;t be afraid to pay well for a great coin (even if it is VG). Buys coins you like and negotiate a fair price FOR THAT COIN.
 
Also, are you in coin collecting for fun or as an investment? This matters.
 
+++
 
Greysheet is updated weekly, and is more "up to date" Red Book is annual and therefore is an approximation.
 
++
 
Retail can often be found in CoinWorld ads, Coin Values, Coin Prices, and Numismedia as I recall. Keep in mind there is no one controlling ther coin market, it is a collectibles market, therefore retail pricing is an AVERAGE that third-parties track.
 
Finally, you can see what people are paying by researching auction on eBay and Heritage.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote silverhawk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2006 at 10:13pm
I was looking at an raw 1851 half cent graded AU (possibly an EF-45) with no flaws for $150. I was told this was the Greysheet price while my 2006 Redbook read $135 in AU and $85 for an EF. I expected Greysheet to be a bit lower than this. Maybe prices just rose since last year.
 
In WHOSE opinion was the coin AU? This matters. People on eBay overgrade coins all the time. You need to learn how to grade to be safe(r) in the marketplace.
 
Half cents are probably rising.  So there are two scenarios to consider:
 
1. the coin is really AU, it has probably risen some (I have not trended this coin, just supposing), and the guy is asking fair or retail for the coin. Dealers DO DESERVE to make a profit. Not all dealers have strong buying power or sourcing.
 
2. the coin is really EF40 or VF35, the coin is overgraded (or cleaned) and the person is trying to make some bucks off of you.
 
Education is key. Know what you are buying.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paul1980 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Oct 2006 at 4:10am
In WHOSE opinion was the coin AU? This matters. People on eBay overgrade coins all the time. You need to learn how to grade to be safe(r) in the marketplace.
.
The coin may have been an AU. On this particular series, I am not an expert grader and did not want to risk paying $50 too much for the coin by later discovering it is acutally an EF rather than an AU. I never take the coin dealer's word on a coin grade. I always purchase a coin for the grade I believe the coin is, and if I am in doubt the coin is the grade I am paying for, I will probably pass. I did not have my photograde with me at the time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stephen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2006 at 1:02am

How many dealers will accept Greysheet Ask price for common coins?  The Greysheet itself says to “expect to pay a premium above Ask.”  I’m new to the hobby and have been trying to learn coin show etiquette.  I’ve bought over priced and over graded coins but have also bought from dealers that gave me big discounts with me just saying something as simple as “What can you do for me on these”.  I can’t say I've bought many at Ask though.  I wouldn’t want to offend the dealer by low balling.  At the same time I’m not one of these rich collectors and would love to pay Ask prices.  Should I try for Ask and if the dealer gets offended just go to the next table?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote silverhawk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2006 at 1:17am
There are many factors that effect what a dealer can do for you....
 
1. Their mood
2. Their assessment of your skills or pocketbook
3. Their buying power (are they a real dealer with strong buying power or not)
4. The price they paid for the coin
5. Their recent expenses for the show (trying to cover)
6. Their markup strategy
7. The coin and it's quality (i.e. do they think they can sell it for more?)
 
Best way is to KNOW the true market for a coin (meaning its market value). Ask for their best price. Compare it to what you are willing to pay. Decide.
 
Don't be afraid to pay extra for a really great coin, with great luster and a great strike. Don't be afraid to walk away from a bad deal.
 
Some coins ALWAYS go over ask, others are very common. I just had a dealer offer me 25% OVER ask for a common commem. I was shocked but politely walked away. I recently PAID strong money ($1400) for the third most rare Walker in a high grade. 
 
Common coins will around ask or perhaps even below. Rare coins will go at ask or above.  This market is hot and rare coins are hot.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote indychevyman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2006 at 5:03am
Let me shed some light on this subject from a coin show dealer's viewpoint. Greysheet prices are typically dealer to dealer prices. If a dealer approaches me, wanting to buy, for example, an 1880 3 Cent Nickel, I would offer it to him for greysheet ask. If that same dealer approached me, with 10 common date Barber Halves, that he wanted to move, I would offer him greysheet bid. If you have ever looked at the difference between greysheet bid and ask, you would realize that the difference is minimal. I price my coins using an average of prices from different sources (Coin Market, Coin Prices, Coin Values, etc.). Typically any coin in my inventory can be bought for less than the price on the coin. Many times for greysheet ask. At large shows, I have some huge expenses to cover. Gasoline, room rent, and table fees of $150-up. With the typical profit, on most coins, being 5-10%, I have to move a lot of stuff to cover that. Key date coins, of good quality, I typically won't come down on price, unless you are buying a lot of other coins, or you are one of my better past customers. If I am having a slow day, you can probably talk me down more. It is better to sell more, at a small profit, than to sell nothing, at no profit.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote just carl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2006 at 7:37am
Primarily everything Silverhawk says is about it. However, at coin shows you should really know what you are looking for. Myself, I make a list of what I need, what I want, what I might buy. I make a list in order of just that. I add a column of prices based on Red Book, PCGS web site, a magazine called Coin Prices I usually pick up free at coin shows and  occationally dealer web sites such as Millersmint. At coin shows I try to stick with dealers I know. If I see a coin I want and the price is noted and I ask for the best price and he pulls out the grey sheet, I walk away without saying anything. To me all that means is not what he is willing to sell it for to make a profit, it means what is the most he can get for it from me. Another nice thing to do at coin shows is price a coin you want and then go to another dealer there and pretend you want to sell such a coin to see what he is willing to pay. I did that recently and for a $400 coin there was a $300 difference. Naturally I passed that one up. At coin shows you may want to try this. Find a coin you want. Tell the dealer you have one at home and if you brought it to the next show what would they pay for it. Then you would really know how much to offer for the one he has. Some dealers are not rocket scientist either so try finding something to chew the price down. Example is I always watch for the notoriously rotated reverse on the Merc Dimes and say I'd buy that coin but the reverse is off. Some will lower the price even more.  
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