One of the most common times new coin collectors run into issues is after they begin researching which coins are worth the most and decide to invest in these coins. They'll pick up coins that they feel they can get a large return on once they resell only to run into difficulties later on. In order to avoid this trap, it pays to invest wisely. Follow these three tips when buying coins to avoid as many pitfalls as possible:
Avoid Bad Descriptions
A detailed description of the markings on a rare coin is vital. Excellent pictures with those markings are also ideal. Any pictures should be properly scaled. Beware of coin sellers who don't post a detailed description or who post pictures that aren't zoomed in enough. One other thing you'll want to watch out for is coins that aren't clean enough to see proper markings on. Oftentimes sellers will purposely leave coins dirty in order to hide the fact that they're not as rare as they claim the coins are, but don't fall for that trap. Insist on coins that have been properly cleaned.
Avoid Grab Bag Offers
If you're buying coins online, you may run into cases where sellers want to sell rolls of coins that haven't been opened yet. One popular coin that's sold this way is the wheat penny. These are usually ripoffs due to the fact that if there were any truly rare dates inside those rolls, the rare coins would have been taken out already. The remaining coins inside may be worth a little bit, but not nearly enough to make up for the cost of the roll in most cases.
Also be careful about sellers who try and sell estate coin packages. The same rule of thumb applies here. If something seems like it could be too good to be true, it usually is.
Educate Yourself in Counterfeit Detection
Sellers trying to pass off counterfeit coins as real is something you'll unfortunately have to be on the lookout for. Go to your local coin dealer and find out which coins are commonly counterfeited and what the copies look like. Which coins are commonly counterfeited often changes, so it's best to hit up a local, current source instead of just finding out basic information online. It's also easier to figure out what makes a counterfeit when you see a coin up close. When you learn what's counterfeit and what isn't, take pictures and keep the side-by-side comparisons handy when shopping for new coins.
Purchasing rare coins can be risky, especially if you do most of your business online. With the above tips, however, you can have an easier time staying clear from poor quality coins and poor quality sellers who will try and sell you something different than what you're expecting. Talk to a local coin collector, such as Don's Estate Jewelry & Coin, for more information.