It seems there has been more and more talk on the design change coming next year to the 2021 Silver and Gold Eagles. One of the main reasons for the design change is to add more security in keeping from having our coins counterfeited. It also seems there has been more and more counterfeits popping up on the internet. I personally have heard several stories of someone who has recently experienced fraud online. The short answer on how to keep yourself from counterfeit coins... KNOW YOUR DEALER! This may seem self serving but it truly is the best way. We all have heard the old cliche: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." The reason we have old cliches is because so often they are spot on! Some of you may remember the newsletter we did on counterfeit coins a few months back. I personally sought out coins that were most likely fraud in order to do some research on them. Each one was ordered online and I spoke with no one to make the purchase. Does that mean you should never buy online? Of course not, but it does mean you should do your homework. What are some things you should look for before you buy?
Top 5 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Buy
- How long have they been in business? By no means does this mean a new company cannot serve your needs. However, if a company has been in business for decades, they must be doing something right. They must have the ability to help their customers and provide a product that people are comfortable with purchasing again.
- Are they members of their trade industry? A lot of memberships require a company to have a record of transactions and to be able to show viability as a business. In coins, some of the memberships to look for are: Better Business Bureau (BBB), Industry Council of Tangible Assets (ICTA), American Numismatic Association (ANA), Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), just to name a few.
- Return period- Any reputable company wants you to be happy with your purchase and we hope you'll buy again! If there is not a return period, it should be a red flag to you. Why wouldn't they stand behind their product?
- Customer Service- This one should be self explanatory but it's one of the most common complaints from customers throughout all industries. As a customer, do be aware of their times of operations, holidays, etc. Still, it shouldn't be difficult to find someone who can take care of you.
- Resources- This is especially true in the coin business! Coins can range from a few dollars to millions of dollars. Have you been working on a collection for years but your coin guy can't find the coin you really need? It probably is because they don't have the resources or contacts to find what you really need. Along those lines, some coins are just too rare to advertise and you may just have to ask for them. In cases like this, talk to a representative to help with what you need. Also, remember, a representative is YOUR resource and truly the person to make a friend of. I hate to admit this but if there are two people looking for the same coin, I most likely will bring it to the one I have a better relationship with.
To wrap this up, your dealer should be here to help you. Of course, with any business relationship transactions are there to benefit both of you. If you have found someone you trust, consider working with a representative to help with your collection. Often your best friend when putting together collections is the rep who has your best interest in mind. Ask the tough questions though, the five questions above can save you a lot of time, effort, and money.