There are dozens of people that claim to be coin dealers. Some are legitimately-licensed dealers who know their stuff, while others may know some things about coins but they really are not equipped to appraise coin value.To the amateur or beginner, the latter would appear to be the expert in the room. Yet, you might not get the best valuation of your coins from this type of coin dealer. You will need to see the licensed dealer to get the best and the most accurate coin value, and here is how to tell these two kinds of dealers apart.
License vs. "License"
When you ask the dealer to see his or her license, be specific. The dealer may have a license to drive, a license to open and operate a business, or a license declaring them a certified coin dealer. He or she may not have the credentials provided to coin appraisers and dealers who pass a two-year course. This is what you really want to see. It may be referred to a license in some states or certification in others, but that is what you want to ask for and what you want to see--proof of an education, not proof of everything else.
The Good Ones Will Describe Aloud What They Are Looking at and Looking For
A not-so-good coin dealer may vocalize plenty of "thinking man's noises," but he or she cannot really vocalize what it is he/she is looking for on your coin. A good dealer and appraiser will tell you out loud what he/she sees, what is good about the coin, what is bad about the coin, etc. Additionally, if you want proof of what your coin is worth, you can ask a good dealer to show you in books what to look for and what has value in the coin collecting world. Then he or she has to provide you with an official appraisal document, plus his/her personal stamp as a dealer and appraiser, and you can take that coin anywhere to sell it for its officially and professionally-appraised value.
The Not-So-Good Ones Will Value the Coin Lower
If you devalue something to the point that it is almost worthless, you are tempted to throw it away. This a known tactic in some circles of business. Your not-so-good coin dealers (who really are not appraisers at all) will try to tell you that the coin is almost worthless. If you ask for a full assessment on paper, they may tell you they cannot provide one and they are right because they do not have the professional stamp granted to those who have passed through the educational program for coin appraisals and dealings. Be wary about what these dealers say, since they may be trying to lower the value on a high value coin in the hopes you will devalue it and sell it. Always get a second opinion from the professional appraiser like American Precious Metals Inc.