Where to Buy Coins

In this 5-minute video, Rod Gillis, the ANA’s education director, details the many avenues for acquiring coins when building a collection.

[view transcript below]


Hello. This is Rod Gillis, Education Director at the American Numismatic Association. And today I’d like to spend a little time talking with you about a topic that on the surface, would seem to be very easy, but it can be quite complicated, and that is where to buy coins. You know, unless you plan on gathering the coins from your collection out of pocket change, there will come a time when you’ll probably have to break down and purchase coins for your collection. And when that time occurs, you’ll have several options in which to do that.

The primary place for people to buy coins is through a dealer. There are several dealer types that you’re able to purchase coins from. The most popular is brick-and-mortar dealers. And by that I mean dealers that have a shop in your local area. You may want to check to see if they are associated with the American Numismatic Association, and an easy way to do that is to go to our website and check our dealer directory. The advantage to purchasing coins from ANA dealers is that they abide by a code of ethics, and so they deal squarely with you.

Buying coins from dealers is always a good idea because if you find a dealer that you can work well with they’ll know you’re collecting habits, they’ll be on the lookout for coins that you plan on purchasing for your collection. And I always say that you’ll want to treat a coin dealer that you can work with like a good mechanic, and that it’s always a good idea to frequent their shop and to be loyal to them. Another area where you can find dealers is through coin shows. Now, the ANA has two large coin shows that they sponsor every year, and that is our World’s Fair of Money, and the National Money Show, where the bourse floor is filled with dealers of all kinds of coins, from ancient coins, to world coins, to United States coins.

The advantage of attending shows like that is that they offer a wide variety of coins that you may not be able to find anywhere else. Of course, there are probably local, smaller coin shows that are in your area that we encourage you to frequent as well. Another area that you can often find a good way to purchase coins is through your local coin club. And we encourage you to attend meetings of your local coin club. You often can find members who are looking to sell particular items that may be of interest to you. Yet another area that has become very popular recently is purchasing coins through the internet. And if you are interested in purchasing coins through the internet, the one piece of advice that I give you is that you’ll want to be sure that you look at the coins very carefully before you purchase them.

You know, the photography can hide a lot of sins on coins, and it’s important that you understand that. Now, I’m not saying that people who advertise on the internet to sell coins are doing that purposefully. They may not be aware of the problem that is on the particular coin that they’re trying to sell. So it’s very important that you look at the coins carefully before you decide to make that purchase. Another way in which you can purchase coins is through trade newspapers. You know, there are several trade newspapers that involve numismatics, and often dealers advertise in those newspapers and/or magazines.

My advice to you there is if you are purchasing from a dealer for the first time, you may want to make a very modest purchase to make sure that his idea of grade and condition matches yours. And then if you are happy with the coin that you’ve purchased, then you can increase the value of the coins that you are trying to buy from that dealer. The very last place that you can purchase coins would be on television. And as you’re aware, there are several channels who advertise selling coins on television. Now, if you decide to buy coins from television, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I just want to caution you that many dealers who sell on television are selling coins that perhaps have been altered, and by that, I mean there’s a thin layer of gold that have been added to it, or the coins have been colorized, or stickers have been put on them.

Now, if you like those types of coins, if you want to put together a set of stakeholders that have been colorized, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing that, and perhaps television would be the place for you to purchase those coins. However, it’s important for you to understand that serious coin collectors and dealers are not interested in coins that have been altered in any way. So if you’re planning on making those purchases from television so that somewhere down the road you can cash in on your colorized stake orders, you’ll be in for a disappointment. And so I just want you to keep that in mind.

Hopefully, this time we spent together will give you a good idea as to where to purchase coins. Again, we ask you to take a look at the ANA website where you can find both club directories and dealer directories to help you with your purchases.

This is Rod Gillis at the American Numismatic Association, wishing you fun with your hobby.


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