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Collectors/dealers: Did you ever/always want to be a coin dealer?

RYKRYK Posts: 35,786 ✭✭✭✭✭
As an offshoot of the Anaconda thread, I noticed that a YN indicated an interest in working for a coin dealer. Several others here have expressed such an interest in the past, and some have made significant strides in various facets of the coin industry. It dawned on me that I never once, in my entire life, ever thought about becoming a coin dealer. Mind you, growing up in Pittsburgh I only knew one coin dealer (Chuck Furjanic, who owned a brick-and-mortar shop there and who is still in the biz but now in Texas) while at the same time I was exposed socially to many, many physicians. From my perspective, the coin dealer was no more glamorous, exciting, or successful than the guy at the corner pharmacy where I purchased baseball cards or the nice woman who owned the bookstore. Certainly there were successful coin dealers in the 1970's and 1980's, but a small time, small fry collector like me would have no exposure to them. It is completely different now. A small fry can exchange pleasantries with the some of the most notable collectors and dealers in the country in places like this forum. Perhaps, being a coin dealer is romanticized in a way that is misleading or unrealsitic. Perhaps not.

Collectors: Did you ever want to be a coin dealer?

Dealers: Did you always want to be a coin dealer?
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Comments

  • CladiatorCladiator Posts: 17,919 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Never really wanted to be a dealer.
  • ziggy29ziggy29 Posts: 18,668 ✭✭✭
    Not necessarily a dealer per se, but I have always wanted a career in numismatics in some way. Unfortunately, when I was a teenager and in the "what will I prepare to do with my life" phase, I really didn't know how to get there. For sure, there weren't dealers on message boards looking for help back then.

    And I'm no longer 22, single and able to easily relocate anywhere. So it will be a lot harder to find an "in" at this point in my life.

    I'd still like to find a way to make it happen some day.
  • coinguy1coinguy1 Posts: 13,485
    <<Dealers: Did you always want to be a coin dealer?>>

    I've mentioned at least part of this before, but....


    I don't think I ever even considered it.....

    until.....

    approximately 3 months before graduation from law school......

    a dealer who was selling coins to me said something to the effect of........

    "You should think about getting into the coin business - you'd like it and you'd be good at it".

    Bells immediately went off in my head, and, seeing as how I hadn't yet decided whether or not I wanted to practice law, I started thinking very seriously about the coin business. I was a mere collector, but was fortunate to be able to interview with and receive offers from two of the largest and most innovative/forward-looking dealers in the country.

    I went to work for one of them, literally days after my bar exam, which, I might add, was incredibly difficult to study for under the circumstancesimage Two or three years later, that company merged with the other one anyway, so I ended up working for......

    both Steve Ivy and Jim Halperin. "And now you know the rest of the story".image
  • While I love hanging out in the local coin shop, and even here on the forum, I really have no desire to be a coin dealer. The traveling might be kind of fun here and there, but do do 15 to 20 shows a year would get old fast. I think that the luster would wear off if I did it everyday for a living.
    I think that the ones who love to deal in coins, do it more for the love of coins, than anything else. I guess that there is a certain amount of isn't it cool to buy and sell money. I think that it sounds better on paper than it really is in real life.

    Hopefully some dealers will chime in and share the real story. Maybe even the long time dealers...

    Always talkative, but trying to learn....Amanda
  • OKbustchaserOKbustchaser Posts: 5,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    In a word, No. I collect as a hobby--as a relaxing pastime. Why would I want to ruin it by doing it for a living?
    Just because I'm old doesn't mean I don't love to look at a pretty bust.
  • LeianaLeiana Posts: 4,349
    I think it would be fun to work for a dealer and be around coins all the time. I think there are some really positive effects from being a dealer like talking to new or young collectors or maybe handling some great numismatic rarities. Also, I bet it's a nice feeling to be able to call someone and tell them you have found a coin that they have wanted for quite some time to complete a set. All the dealers I have met at shows have been very nice to me and have allowed me to spend time at their booths looking at their coins. There is always a piece that they are proud of that they tell me a story about.

    But I eventually want a career as an Archaeologist of the American Civil War. image

    -Amanda
    image

    I'm a YN working on a type set!

    My Buffalo Nickel Website Home of the Quirky Buffaloes Collection!

    Proud member of the CUFYNA
  • JJMJJM Posts: 7,980 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I think collecting coins has led me to selling coins to buy more / better coins....So even in a small scale dealing exsists ......Ive thought about doing a small brick n mortar as a wind down career if it were close to my retirerment home,...In fact I live in a state where theres less than 10 shops that I know off,....but one happens to be 1 mile from my vacation house .......hmmmmmmmmmm...image , im lookin for the for sale sign !
    👍BST's erickso1,cone10,MICHAELDIXON,TennesseeDave,p8nt,jmdm1194,RWW,robkool,Ahrensdad,Timbuk3,Downtown1974,bigjpst,mustanggt,Yorkshireman,idratherbgardening,SurfinxHI,derryb,masscrew,Walkerguy21D,MJ1927,sniocsu,Coll3tor,doubleeagle07,luciobar1980,PerryHall,SNMAM,mbcoin,liefgold,keyman64,maprince230,TorinoCobra71,RB1026,Weiss,LukeMarshall,Wingsrule,Silveryfire, pointfivezero,IKE1964,AL410, Tdec1000, AnkurJ,guitarwes,Type2,Bp777,jfoot113,JWP,mattniss,dantheman984,jclovescoins,Collectorcoins,Weather11am,Namvet69,kansasman,Bruce7789,ADG,Larrob37
  • Both good and bad ways.

    I know a few dealers who collect more than they deal.
    If I would, I would keep MY collection out of the way and have a personal stock just for this.
    But only when I retire.

    TKC!
    Want List
    Proud member of the CUFYNA
    Need a Banner Made? PM ME!
    image
  • VeepVeep Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭
    I've been a collector for as along as I can remember and have been dealing part-time for the last five years. With a successful corporate career in sales and marketing, I understand those disciplines and put them to good use in my side business. I've found that I enjoy the hunt more than the "having" and dealing allows me a continuous opportunity to hunt. I have no desire to become a national dealer or a road warrior. I've seen plenty of America on my corporate job. I do enjoy using the skills that I've learned and applying them to building my own business. The only frustration is when there are things that I know should be done to maximize the growth of my coin business but I can not do them due to time constraints.

    What I really enjoy is helping to save people, who have coins, from the vultures who would take advantage of them. Case in point was a couple who inherited a collection of Standing Liberty Quarters, Proof Type Coins, Commemorative Halves, and countless other type coins, gold coins, and key dates. They had no clue about what they had or how to proceed. I worked with them to develop a plan, certify the proper coins, and place them in auction. Then we sold off the piles of un-exciting stuff. The net result was $150,000+ for them and a fair % of the total for me. They were astounded, and I had a blast watching their 1916 SLQ come back from PCGS as MS66 and then selling for $29,900. This opportunity came my way because I was fair and respecful to a lady who had a single gold coin that she wanted appraised. That lady turned out to be the sister of the lady with the inherited collection

    Right now, the corporation pays me too much to leave, but when the kids are out of college in four years, the plan is to make a run at it full time. I should have developed some good local contacts and a reputation by then.
    "Let me tell ya Bud, you can buy junk anytime!"
  • When I got back into collecting several years ago, it seemed natural that I should start selling off some of the extra's I picked up (I was buying collections at estates, etc) and I sold a lot of stuff on ebay. For a time, it seemed like all you had to do was buy coins, break them down and list them with some detail and make money! I loved it, and pushed the money back into collecting what I wanted. However, soon, things changed, and I upped the ante without enough knowledge at what I was doing. I bought about $12,000 of coins in large quantities (rolls of morgans, and a few collections) and thought to sell them as a 'dealer' instead of just selling off my extras. Well, I got killed. I lost about $3,000 on the mix. I then realized several things: there is no easy money in coins unless you can be completely dishonest... and I don't want to sell coins... I want to buy them.
    I will occassionally sell one or two on ebay for small dollars to trade up to something I want more, but thats it.
    Selling coins is a real job, and deserves real effort.
    I just want to buy shiny colorful things and look at them!
  • krankykranky Posts: 8,709 ✭✭✭
    I greatly enjoy getting the chance to work at Pat Vetter's table twice a year at the PAN shows and I believe I would like doing coins full-time (working for someone, not on my own). But things are booming now and it looks easy. When the market slows down, I doubt it would be nearly as much fun.

    New collectors, please educate yourself before spending money on coins; there are people who believe that using numismatic knowledge to rip the naïve is what this hobby is all about.

  • JJMJJM Posts: 7,980 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Veep


    thats so cool, since some of my family / friends found out im into coins, I get the "i got this stuff, can i bring it over to have you check in out" quite often,.....of course I gladly do so, but they must bring me image

    its fun
    👍BST's erickso1,cone10,MICHAELDIXON,TennesseeDave,p8nt,jmdm1194,RWW,robkool,Ahrensdad,Timbuk3,Downtown1974,bigjpst,mustanggt,Yorkshireman,idratherbgardening,SurfinxHI,derryb,masscrew,Walkerguy21D,MJ1927,sniocsu,Coll3tor,doubleeagle07,luciobar1980,PerryHall,SNMAM,mbcoin,liefgold,keyman64,maprince230,TorinoCobra71,RB1026,Weiss,LukeMarshall,Wingsrule,Silveryfire, pointfivezero,IKE1964,AL410, Tdec1000, AnkurJ,guitarwes,Type2,Bp777,jfoot113,JWP,mattniss,dantheman984,jclovescoins,Collectorcoins,Weather11am,Namvet69,kansasman,Bruce7789,ADG,Larrob37
  • mirabelamirabela Posts: 4,962 ✭✭✭✭✭
    In a very minor way, yes I have wanted to be one. The keeping-track-of-everything aspect would be my undoing -- good thing I know this -- and I think working with coins full time would probably dampen my enthusiasm for them significantly after a while. Still, there have been times when I actively looked for underpriced and/or undergraded coins to buy and flip. Last spring and summer I did a fair amount of that. It bought me some nice coins for my collection. Every so often I do it now. I can rarely find anything that I actually want in the shops closest to me, but I can almost always find something that will pay for my trip there.
    mirabela
  • TwoSides2aCoinTwoSides2aCoin Posts: 43,832 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I've said it before, but it bears repeating :

    I'm gonna be a fireman when I grow up~

    who cares that I'm fifty one image?... and still searching for ODDITIES
  • ElcontadorElcontador Posts: 7,416 ✭✭✭✭✭
    While I think I'd enjoy helping out a dealer at a show from time to time, I've never had any desire to be a coin dealer, especially now.

    Sure, it would be great to be able to see and handle more attractive type coins than I can now. OTOH, the underbelly of this business is at best, rather unattractive, and as a dealer, I'd probably be exposed to it on an almost daily basis.
    "Vou invadir o Nordeste,
    "Seu cabra da peste,
    "Sou Mangueira......."
  • mgoodm3mgoodm3 Posts: 17,497 ✭✭✭
    even though i collected as a kid, i didn't know that coin dealers existed. so, the answer is no.
    coinimaging.com/my photography articles Check out the new macro lens testing section
  • LongacreLongacre Posts: 16,717 ✭✭✭
    Coins that sell themselves... millions in net profits at the end of the year... glamorous travel and hob-knobbing with the social elite...

    where do I sign up?


    PS. Try reading the internal revenue code all day long.
    Always took candy from strangers
    Didn't wanna get me no trade
    Never want to be like papa
    Working for the boss every night and day
    --"Happy", by the Rolling Stones (1972)
  • bidaskbidask Posts: 13,860 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Do any of you older collector/dealers remember a vest pocket dealer named Walter Weil?
    I manage money. I earn money. I save money .
    I give away money. I collect money.
    I don’t love money . I do love the Lord God.




  • chabot510chabot510 Posts: 1,291


    << <i>Do any of you older collector/dealers remember a vest pocket dealer named Walter Weil? >>



    where was he from?
    Nick
  • bidaskbidask Posts: 13,860 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>Do any of you older collector/dealers remember a vest pocket dealer named Walter Weil? >>

    I think back east but I think his mother lived in St. Louis. I use to trade alot with him ib the 70's and 80's and then lost track.. Very knowledgeable guy. Wonder what happened to him?

    where was he from? >>

    I manage money. I earn money. I save money .
    I give away money. I collect money.
    I don’t love money . I do love the Lord God.




  • chabot510chabot510 Posts: 1,291
    the name is very familiar. is it possible his name was spelled wyel. if so he is from CT.
    Nick
  • bidaskbidask Posts: 13,860 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>the name is very familiar. is it possible his name was spelled wyel. if so he is from CT. >>

    Yes could have been. He was single, never married. Do you know what happened to him? I lost contact.
    I manage money. I earn money. I save money .
    I give away money. I collect money.
    I don’t love money . I do love the Lord God.




  • LanLordLanLord Posts: 11,680 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I am now, and have been (on and off) since the late 60s a collector only. I have no interest in being a dealer. Seems to be a difficult way

    to make a living, and a great wat to ruin a hobby.
  • ElcontadorElcontador Posts: 7,416 ✭✭✭✭✭
    PS. Try reading the internal revenue code all day long.

    Longacre - I deal with it all day long. Rather be doing this than being a coin dealer any day.
    "Vou invadir o Nordeste,
    "Seu cabra da peste,
    "Sou Mangueira......."
  • clw54clw54 Posts: 3,816 ✭✭✭
    I'm content being a small time collector who simply likes coins.
  • michaelmichael Posts: 9,524 ✭✭
    Did you ever want to be a coin dealer?

    NEVER
  • chabot510chabot510 Posts: 1,291


    << <i>

    << <i>the name is very familiar. is it possible his name was spelled wyel. if so he is from CT. >>

    Yes could have been. He was single, never married. Do you know what happened to him? I lost contact. >>



    If it is the same guy we are talking about, he is still dealing. He comes around the local shows w/ a briefcase and a couple boxes every now and then.
    Nick
  • mrearlygoldmrearlygold Posts: 17,858 ✭✭✭
    I couldn't imagine doing anything else although I went into a retirement in late-1999 ( kind of like a mid life crisis, I went into a mid life retirement) and moved full time to SE Asia. Lived in Vietnam for a year+ then on top of a mountain on an island in south Thailand overlooking the gulf of Siam. Most beautiful view I ever saw and it was out of every window in our home.

    When I "un-retired" in early 2003, the greatest pleasure was being back in the coin business.

    I don't think I can ever retire from it again.

    Dis is da life we choose, and once you're in, you're in for lifeimage
  • TrimeTrime Posts: 1,864 ✭✭✭
    Collector: Not really for lots of reasons. I am very good at what I do and a life in sales would not be appealing. I could imagine teaming with a front "office" person and participate on the on the strategic and financial end of the business.
    Trime
  • coinandcurrency242coinandcurrency242 Posts: 1,958 ✭✭✭✭
    I would love to be a coin dealer! Just not now. I figured when I retire I can open up a small coin shop image

    Positive BST as a seller: Namvet69, Lordmarcovan, Bigjpst, Soldi, mustanggt, CoinHoader, moursund, SufinxHi, al410, JWP

  • VTCoinsVTCoins Posts: 1,361 ✭✭✭
    Nope. Left Fielder for the Red Sox.
    Tim Puro
    Puro's Coins and Jewelry
    Rutland, VT

    (802)773-3883

    Link to my website www.vtcoins.com

    Link to my eBay auctions

    Buy, sell and trade all coins, US paper money, jewelry, diamonds and anything made of gold, silver or platinum.
  • alfalfaalfalfa Posts: 275 ✭✭
    I never really wanted to become a "dealer" per se, but have always thought it would be fun to work for a major auction house researching and cataloging rare currency.

    RJ
  • JBatDavidLawrenceJBatDavidLawrence Posts: 500 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I wanted to the Dale Murphy's replacement for the Braves until he got traded...and in college and grad school I was going to teach as well as possible chaplaincy work, but after one bad semester of grad school, I decided coins full-time sounded like a lot of fun...and I haven't turned back since. image
    John Brush
    President of David Lawrence Rare Coins www.davidlawrence.com
    email: John@davidlawrence.com
    2022 ANA Dealer of the Year, Past Chair of NCBA (formerly ICTA), PNG Treasurer, Instructor at Witter Coin University, former Instructor/YN Chaperone ANA Summer Seminar, Coin World Most Influential, Curator of the D.L. Hansen Collection
  • MercMerc Posts: 1,646 ✭✭


    << <i>after one bad semester of grad school >>


    Hi John. Grad school is full of bad semesters. The only good one comes when you graduate!

    I think it would be very hard to be a coin dealer. Even if you are very good at grading, counterfeit detection, buying, marketing, ect, success is not certain. It takes a large amount of capital to build an inventory. Then you can lose big if market forces turn against you (gold and silver drop, wholesale coin prices drop). What happened to many dealers in 1991 during the last big drop?
    Looking for a coin club in Maryland? Try:
    FrederickCoinClub
  • JBatDavidLawrenceJBatDavidLawrence Posts: 500 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Merc, you're definitely right...that's why I decided to work for a successful company. A lot less downside on my own and you can carve a niche that way...
    John Brush
    President of David Lawrence Rare Coins www.davidlawrence.com
    email: John@davidlawrence.com
    2022 ANA Dealer of the Year, Past Chair of NCBA (formerly ICTA), PNG Treasurer, Instructor at Witter Coin University, former Instructor/YN Chaperone ANA Summer Seminar, Coin World Most Influential, Curator of the D.L. Hansen Collection
  • @JBatDavidLawrence said:
    Merc, you're definitely right...that's why I decided to work for a successful company. A lot less downside on my own and you can carve a niche that way..

    HI John... any suggestions for a would-be coin dealer? I just want to be small, carve a niche in MS64 and greater Morgan and Peace dollars, and basically trade my purchases for better upgrades and perhaps build a small market of potential clientele. I would operate pretty much online and/or at shows. I am retired and have a good pension, so no worries about income. Upsides/downsides? BTW, love your company, I've made a couple of purchases recently. Thank you! ~Keri

  • DeplorableDanDeplorableDan Posts: 2,530 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Rebelgal said:

    @JBatDavidLawrence said:
    Merc, you're definitely right...that's why I decided to work for a successful company. A lot less downside on my own and you can carve a niche that way..

    HI John... any suggestions for a would-be coin dealer? I just want to be small, carve a niche in MS64 and greater Morgan and Peace dollars, and basically trade my purchases for better upgrades and perhaps build a small market of potential clientele. I would operate pretty much online and/or at shows. I am retired and have a good pension, so no worries about income. Upsides/downsides? BTW, love your company, I've made a couple of purchases recently. Thank you! ~Keri

    Welcome to the forum @Rebelgal :) . John Brush hasn’t been active on here for about 6-7 months and he may or may not respond to your tag. I would suggest that you start your own new thread about this topic in the us coin forum, there are a plethora of knowledgeable dealers on here that could help answer your questions, rather than resurrecting an older thread.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,834 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Rebelgal said:

    @JBatDavidLawrence said:
    Merc, you're definitely right...that's why I decided to work for a successful company. A lot less downside on my own and you can carve a niche that way..

    HI John... any suggestions for a would-be coin dealer? I just want to be small, carve a niche in MS64 and greater Morgan and Peace dollars, and basically trade my purchases for better upgrades and perhaps build a small market of potential clientele. I would operate pretty much online and/or at shows. I am retired and have a good pension, so no worries about income. Upsides/downsides? BTW, love your company, I've made a couple of purchases recently. Thank you! ~Keri

    What's your source of material?

    If you're selling a small number of 64+ dollars, you'll cost yourself a fortune by becoming a dealer. Bid/ask spreads won't generally make it worthwhile to incur the costs of selling retail. You'd be better off flipping wholesale if you have access to a buyer.

  • BuffaloIronTailBuffaloIronTail Posts: 7,408 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Cladiator said:
    Never really wanted to be a dealer.

    Me neither. I collect, and don't want to let go of stuff in my collection that define who I am as a Hobbyist and coin lover.

    Pete

    "I tell them there's no problems.....only solutions" - John Lennon
  • seatedlib3991seatedlib3991 Posts: 498 ✭✭✭✭

    I have told this before. In 1979 I was a high school senior. That year my best friend was nuts to sell a few dollars face in silver. A guy the next town over was buying but he didn't have a car but I did. He was relentless for weeks. In the end he pointed out I planned on becoming a coin dealer and since I had rolls of silver this was my chance to actually sell coins.
    I ended up selling about $3,500 dollars worth of my coins(Don't remember price per ounce but was high). I was gut shot afterwards. I treated him like garbage for months because I blamed him for costing me years of searching, working, saving coins. In the end we had a big fight and he shouted in my face, "WHAT KIND OF COIN DEALER CAN'T SELL COINS!"
    He had me there. I realized I put too much of myself into coins and would be miserable selling coins for a living. I have had to sell some from time to time but still hate it and am in a bad mood for months when I do. But at least I dodged that bullet(Maybe literally ). James

  • WalkerfanWalkerfan Posts: 8,953 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If I could keep my core collection, well then, maybe…

    I would much rather work for an already established large, successful coin firm. That would be a lot lower risk and just as much fun.

    “I may not believe in myself but I believe in what I’m doing” ~Jimmy Page~

    My Full Walker Registry Set (1916-1947)

    https://www.ngccoin.com/registry/competitive-sets/16292/

  • jerseybenjerseyben Posts: 114 ✭✭✭

    LOL this was a thread that was last replied to in 2006...

  • erscoloerscolo Posts: 481 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I collect as a hobby, no interest now or ever in being a coin dealer. There is a great deal of responsibility with running a business, and I appreciate those who endeavor to do that.

  • ctf_error_coinsctf_error_coins Posts: 15,433 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I was forced into becoming a coin dealer as I had no other options.

  • 1madman1madman Posts: 1,288 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ctf_error_coins said:
    I was forced into becoming a coin dealer as I had no other options.

    If you watch those slab lab videos where the coin dealers are interviewed, I find it interesting that most/all of them have no college education. What do the failed coin dealers fall back on and do for a living?

  • MeltdownMeltdown Posts: 8,661 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 5, 2023 10:33AM

    I enjoy buying and selllng just about anything. I grew up around flea markets, auction houses and antique stores. I became a coin collector as an adult and have easily adapted to selling coins being just as entertaining as filling albums and buying special coins for the core collection. I've made friends with and done part time work for a couple local dealers with shops... I've also set myself up at a few different local shows over the years just to give it a whirl and really enjoyed the experience. I have some regret for a few coins I've sold over the years that i wish I had back but the overall education and experience trumps those.
    After all is said and done though, I wouldn't want to do it for a living...
    .

  • WCCWCC Posts: 2,365 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Zero interest in becoming a dealer and I have been collecting (with several gaps) since age 10.

    When I was laid off from my prior job in 2010, one of my former co-workers asked me this question. I told them that would turn a hobby into work, which means it isn't recreational and potentially not "fun".

  • ctf_error_coinsctf_error_coins Posts: 15,433 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @WCC said:
    Zero interest in becoming a dealer and I have been collecting (with several gaps) since age 10.

    When I was laid off from my prior job in 2010, one of my former co-workers asked me this question. I told them that would turn a hobby into work, which means it isn't recreational and potentially not "fun".

    Being a coin dealer is actually a lot more fun than being a coin collector.

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