Negotiating with Dealers at a Show

I've been visiting local shows for three months now, and I'm still learning, so I'm still asking for advice. ..

When you find coins that interest you, how do you deal with pricing? Do you offer a price? Do you ask what he can do? How often do you just pay without haggling because you find the price reasonable? Is there some dollar amount or number of pieces at which you assume you should get a discount? What if the dealer is displaying coins with no asking price? ...Basically, how do you approach the purchase?

My strategy is about collecting what I intend to keep, not investing in what I plan to sell.



  • opportunityopportunity Posts: 435 ✭✭✭

    I have had far more success by confidently telling dealers what I will pay for a coin instead of being subservient and asking for their "best price"...but always know what you're talking about, and be fair and reasonable.

    Rule of Acquisition #9: "Opportunity plus instinct equals profit."

  • U1chicagoU1chicago Posts: 2,144 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It is indeed dependent on the situation. In general,
    -if the price is way too high, I usually pass
    -if it’s close (within 10-25%), I try to bargain
    -if it’s priced fairly, I usually just buy it (occasionally I’ll try to get a bit more off, but it depends on the situation)

    If there is no asking price, then I ask for a price. Even if there is a price on a sticker I’ll still double check to make sure that is really the number and not some code.

  • BroadstruckBroadstruck Posts: 29,295 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It all depends on the coin as sometimes the price is fair and there's no need to negotiate.

    To Err Is Human.... To Collect Err's Is Just Too Much Darn Tootin Fun!
  • BaleyBaley Posts: 21,499 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Depends on how many alternative coins at the show or on the internet. If easy to find, it better be a very good deal.

    If it's the first or best one you've seen of the rare target and you want it bad, pay what it costs.

    Liberty: Parent of Science & Industry

  • ColonialcoinColonialcoin Posts: 564 ✭✭✭✭

    Depends on the dealer to me. I will never negotiate with one prominent dealer. More often than not, the coin that I am interested in is a generational item. No need to fool around to save a few dollars. Other dealers that I buy from usually take something off for me even if I don’t ask. Once I get a price from someone, it’s either a yes or a no thank you. I know of people that constantly play the price it better game. Sooner or later, the dealer will get ticked off and he/she will always remember you and will either price things higher to you or tell you that they have nothing for you. I.E., you are now the loser.

  • mr1874mr1874 Posts: 4,262 ✭✭✭✭

    Whatever you do, don't grade dealer's coins, raw or slabbed, no matter. Just pizzes him off and never works to get a better price on a nice but over-graded coin.

  • RayboRaybo Posts: 4,530 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If the dealer is in a "prime" location at a major show you have to walk on egg shells, just try to engage in frivolous conversation about coins and than go for the throat because these are the "know it alls" more often than not.
    If a dealer is in the "low rent" area, engage in frivolous conversation and enjoy the ride.

  • RayboRaybo Posts: 4,530 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @mr1874 said:
    Whatever you do, don't grade dealer's coins, raw or slabbed, no matter. Just pizzes him off and never works to get a better price on a nice but over-graded coin.

    But they ALWAYS grade my graded coins if I have one to offer them.

  • gtstanggtstang Posts: 1,266 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You can see so many coins at shows and it's not easy to know how many different series and the grades are valued.
    One scenario about really liking a coin but you have no idea if the price asked is on this side of the ozone or not is to tell the dealer you need to think about it a little. Find a location away from the dealer table and check auctions ended for similar coins and make your decision.

  • WalkerfanWalkerfan Posts: 5,964 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 8, 2018 5:50PM

    Know what the stuff is worth by researching auction archives and price guides. If its quality, then don’t be afraid to overpay a little bit. Most dealers start high, so try to find a middle ground—-a place to leave them some meat on the bone and where you’re happy, too.

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." --Teddy Roosevelt, April 23, 1910.
  • BillDugan1959BillDugan1959 Posts: 3,765 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Ask if it's their best price, politely say yes or no, and don't wear out your welcome.

    These coins are massed produced objects and you will almost always see the thingie again.

    Almost nothing is unique.

  • CoinRaritiesOnlineCoinRaritiesOnline Posts: 3,564 ✭✭✭✭

    I think the best approach and the one most likely to lead to a deal is to say "What would be your best price on this one"?

  • 2ndCharter2ndCharter Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭✭

    1.) Ask best price.
    2.) If price is too far off from what I want to pay I thank them and walk away.
    3.) If price is not too far from my price, I’ll ask if they can do “$X”. Their response depends on if a sale happens or not.
    4.) Nogotiating any further will typically turn a dealer off and they will not want to deal with you any further.

    Good advice - that's basically what I do at all shows and it has worked for me over the years.

  • Walkerguy21DWalkerguy21D Posts: 8,309 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Once quoted a best price, I don’t counter, I pass or play. As others have indicated, dealers don’t like chiselers.
    However, if I pass, and the dealer then asks what I want to pay, I assume he either still has room, or is really motivated to move the coin.
    Once you start doing business and develop a rapport with the dealers you are seeing at your shows, you’ll get more comfortable with the whole process. You will likely find yourself doing business with the same handful of guys over and over again.

    Successful BST transactions with 146 members. Recent: acloco, Toninginthblood, OKCC, braddick, Coinflip, robcool, fastfreddie, tightbudget, DBSTrader2, nickelsciolist, relaxn, Eagle eye, soldi, silverman68, ElKevvo, sawyerjosh, Schmitz7, talkingwalnut2, konsole, sharkman987, sniocsu, comma, jesbroken, David1234, biosolar, Sullykerry, Moldnut, erwindoc, MichaelDixon, BAJJERFAN, Valenti151, GotTheBug, okiedude, jhdfla, LRCTom, ajaan, Raybo
  • skier07skier07 Posts: 1,399 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 9, 2018 12:27AM

    It’s very easy with a smartphone to figure out what the fair market value is for most coins. If a dealer has a ridiculous asking price I thank him and walk away. If the price is reasonable depending what the coin is I might ask what his best price is. If you’re buying something relatively common like a Morgan I’d be more inclined to negotiate. If you’re buying something like an early gold coin I’d be less aggressive.

  • BochimanBochiman Posts: 24,762 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I like Laura's way of thinking on it.
    I have always been like others have mentioned...."ask the best price and take it or walk" type of thing, but, thinking about it the way Laura said, I think that is better.

    For instance, dealer has it marked at $2000. Ask the best price, get told $1500. You heard the $2000 but were thinking $1300. Tell the dealer "thanks. I understand. I was thinking more in the $1300 range" and the dealer may have bought it "right", say, at $1000....or, they may have had it for a long while and they may be ok with the $1300.

    I've been told I tolerate fools poorly...that may explain things if I have a problem with you. Current ebay items - Nothing at the moment

  • air4mdcair4mdc Posts: 400 ✭✭✭

    If the coins aren’t priced it’s for a reason. The dealer wants to size up his customer.
    I find no other reason except for the dealer to use this tactic for his financial gain.
    Always negotiate or “haggle” for what you believe is the best price your willing to pay.
    Learn to walk away as well.
    Use price guides ( Grey Sheet, PCGS and NGC) , EBay and auction houses as your price guides.

  • BarndogBarndog Posts: 20,266 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MorganMan94 said:
    I always ask for their best price and then tell them yes or no.

    MrHalfDime provided me with this advice many years ago and I’ve stuck with it since

  • BlindedByEgoBlindedByEgo Posts: 10,753 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I like asking for best price and either pulling the trigger because it's fair, or saying "no, thank you". IF (and only if) the sellers asks me to continue (like "what were you thinking?"), I will give them my target price - then the ball is back in their court.
    When I buy a car, I'm a grinder. With coins, not so much.

  • illini420illini420 Posts: 11,320 ✭✭✭✭✭

    At shows, I do not have prices marked on my slabs... but many of my coins are on my website and/or eBay so the prices are out there if people really look.

    So when asked about prices at shows, I'll usually tell the customer what I have it listed for on my website and
    then depending on the coin and how much room I have, I'll then usually tell them a slightly lower price I'd be willing to take at the show.

    When I'm asked for my "best price," I'll tell them the best price I'd be willing to sell at that moment, but then that's it. If I'm then countered, I politely remind them they asked for my best price and there really isn't any budging from that point. As others have said, it's sort of a take it or leave it when you ask for the best price.

    If you really want a coin and aren't willing to pay the "best price" that you were quoted, you may still be able to work a deal if you change up the deal a bit though... For example, if you add another coin or coins you're interested in buying to the mix and then offer a price you can stomach for the group. You could also offer coins you brought to the show as trade towards the coin you want as another way to try to make the deal work.

    That said, if you're quoted a price you think is really fair or even a bargain, you should jump on it and don't give the dealer too much time to think about going the other direction with the price! This is especially true if you're cherrypicking a variety. Close the deal ASAP and be happy!

    Good luck and have fun!


  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 37,539 ✭✭✭✭✭

    When you ask a dealer for his "best price" and he quotes you a number, how often is he really giving you his truly best price? I'm guessing not very often.

  • rmorganrmorgan Posts: 171 ✭✭✭

    Thanks. This is all helpful.

    I do come to a show knowing what I'll be focusing on and with a printed list of the coins that I still need, with each row listing the pricing per grade (taken from coinstudy). When I see a dealer with high prices, no pricing, or only grades I don't want to consider, I have been moving on. ...Of course, my question here is how to handle the price when I find what I like. I tend to be a buy-it-or-walk-away guy. I feel a bit out of my comfort zone if a seller expects his pricing to be game. I'm still learning the culture of shows and buying coins there. I value the experience of those here, and I'm finding value in all these responses. Thanks.

    My strategy is about collecting what I intend to keep, not investing in what I plan to sell.

  • BillDugan1959BillDugan1959 Posts: 3,765 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @PerryHall said:
    When you ask a dealer for his "best price" and he quotes you a number, how often is he really giving you his truly best price? I'm guessing not very often.

    As far as the dealer is concerned, his or her "best price" is much higher, NOT lower.

    But they know what you are actually asking, and most will quote something lower.

  • CatbertCatbert Posts: 2,959 ✭✭✭✭✭


    I suggest you include CoinFacts and ebay completed listings for guidance. And remember, a coin with superb eye appeal will demand a price beyond market pricing (which is generally the average).

    "Got a flaming heart, can't get my fill"
  • rickoricko Posts: 71,786 ✭✭✭✭✭

    For those of us who have taken training in negotiating, it can be interesting. That being said, there are dealers that do not negotiate. There was one particular dealer at larger shows in the PNW that had rock hard prices, and they were generally much higher than market. Never understood why he was in business... Never saw anyone buying his coins. On the other hand, it does not hurt to ask for a better price. If you know your coins, and the market, you can usually see if there is room to negotiate. Also, it never hurts to ask...The response dictates my further involvement. Cheers, RickO

  • ChrisH821ChrisH821 Posts: 3,402 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I usually just ask "what would you do on this one?" If I like the number I buy, if not I usually just say "I'll hold off on that one for now, thanks" or similar.

    Collector, occasional seller

  • ReadyFireAimReadyFireAim Posts: 900 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 9, 2018 8:39PM

    I write my "bid" on the back of a business card.
    I prefer not to speak to any of them.

    You'd be surprised how many pretend to be insulted only to call after the show.

    Now with true-view, shows aren't even necessary anymore.
    Thank you PCGS

  • KccoinKccoin Posts: 869 ✭✭✭✭

    "how much?"

  • mannie graymannie gray Posts: 5,574 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @PerryHall said:
    When you ask a dealer for his "best price" and he quotes you a number, how often is he really giving you his truly best price? I'm guessing not very often.

    When it's me ...I do.

  • TwoSides2aCoinTwoSides2aCoin Posts: 41,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 12, 2018 12:48PM

    "Pay up or shut-up". Thats what I hear.

  • CCGGGCCGGG Posts: 1,090 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Keep up with the market, have a price guide, and ask for their best price. Sometimes (often) bundling with several coins helps if he's got what you want.

  • AlongAlong Posts: 226 ✭✭✭

    If you are interested in say 3 coins, do you negotiate each one individually or do you try to buy the bundle and just worry about one price?

  • jmski52jmski52 Posts: 19,971 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's my money and I figure that it's good anywhere, so if I like the coin I'll ask if he can take a bit less. If not, I thank him and tell him that I'll think about it for awhile.

    If I do like the coin, I'll compliment him on the coin before I leave the table and walk away.

    I'm then free to think about it and make a decision about whether I should come back and offer a different price, accept the price he quotes me, or simply move on.

    Q: Are You Printing Money? Bernanke: Not Literally

    I knew it would happen.
  • Pittstate03Pittstate03 Posts: 82 ✭✭
    edited December 10, 2018 9:20AM

    @Along said:
    If you are interested in say 3 coins, do you negotiate each one individually or do you try to buy the bundle and just worry about one price?

    It is a gamble. IMO here is some ways to look at the situation.

    Know what you want to pay. In this situation I would look at all 3 coins and ask a price for them all. It really dependents on where the prices are at. If they are all too high, I would ask whats the best deal for all 3.

    If that doesn't work and you are really interested, I would buy the coin you are most interested in and show the dealer that you have money and are a serious buyer. Then, maybe ask "what did you say you could do on these two?". Then you have a slight advantage or angle to negotiate because they know you are not just tire kicking. You then have to make the decision to buy or walk away.

    If you do not like the price, gather your thoughts and walk away to ponder. While you are also letting them think about it for awhile and come back and look at the coins again, maybe make a final offer before you leave. Tell them you are leaving and wanted to see if they would do $_______ for the two coins.

    Like said in previous posts, some dealers you just cannot buy coins from, plain and simple. I think the key is knowing more about what you are trying to buy than the person selling it.

    Good Luck!

  • ashelandasheland Posts: 14,838 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good thread.

  • bobsrbobsr Posts: 354 ✭✭✭

    I set up at different types of shows a lot.
    If I had a coin on the table price tagged at $100.00 and someone asked me for "My Best Price" I would respond with $1000.00. That's MY BEST price.
    2nd responding to Pittstate03, If I wanted to purchase 3 coins, I would negotiate on coin 1 till I got what I thought was my best price, I would say Ok, I'm not sure, let's set this aside for the moment and look at this coin, negotiate on that one, arrive at a good price, set that one aside and negotiate on the 3rd one , after I had negotiated for the 3 , I would then start negotiations on all three starting with a comment like " I can't seem to make up my mind, take out a roll of cash, and ask how much for all three. If the dealer said $1000.00, I would count out $800.00, pause , look expectantly at the dealer and innocently ask " how much did you say" and wait, response $ 1000.00, lay down another $100.00 give the dealer the "snake eye look" ask How much? Response $ 1000.00, lay another $50.00 down, give a confidant stare that says I'm done , twinkle my eye , ask How much? Response $1000.00. I would casually say, thank you for your time, It looks like we WON'T be doing business after all, reach for my cash and sadly say, gee that's a shame as I just can't make up my mind. If I've been jovial throughout the negotiation, I've not one time ever left with the money in my hands.
    I have alternatively gotten "The Snake Eye" look from several dealers as I've walked away but I was walking with the coins and a few more of My bucks still in my pocket. And truthfully, for $50 or $100, you can glare at me all day long.
    Bob Sr CEO Fieldtechs

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